Life around here features a lot of moving parts. I manage to get my work done, but sometimes it becomes hard to concentrate. I start fantasizing about deep work time. In particular I wanted to put focused time into editing the manuscript of Tranquility by Tuesday as I near that book deadline.
So I went on an “editing retreat” this week. On Tuesday I drove to Cape May, New Jersey, and stayed at a hotel on the beach. It had a little kitchen and a balcony, so I could keep food in the fridge and sit outside when I wanted. I worked all Tuesday evening, all of Wednesday, and then Thursday morning.
The logistics of getting away were not easy. My husband wound up covering a lot of stuff. But it was a really good experience, just having that complete autonomy over my time, and getting to work without someone else stopping me. I could go through the manuscript and think of it as a whole. I made a lot of progress.
I also realized, while in Cape May, that it has been a long time since I have been by myself for any length of time. I went to sleep when I wanted to go to sleep. I woke up on my own (but early… 6:45 both days). I ran in the mornings, which is hard to do amid all our bus pick-ups. I ate what I wanted to eat, when I wanted to eat. I enjoyed the lovely surroundings. Cape May is beautiful in the off-season, with the leaves just changing color, the birds flying by on their migrations and the sun rising and setting over the beach and the water (since it is a cape…). I went for a sunset walk on Wednesday, putting my toes in the water, then came back to work on the porch for an hour, and then inside for two more hours. Amazing.
Now it is back to normal life, and all that is going on here. Everyone appears to have survived. They got to school on time. They even took their instruments and brought them home. This was complicated to make happen, but I’m really glad I did. Hopefully the manuscript will reflect that.
In other news: The Frugal Girl wrote a great post yesterday about how your gratitude muscles get stronger when it feels hard to be grateful. She referenced a recent Before Breakfast podcast called “This is when you get stronger.” Please check it out!
6 thoughts on “Friday miscellany: Notes from the editing retreat”
Your personal retreat sounds absolutely lovely. I dream of doing something similar at some point but need to be in a little bit different stage of life – i.e. baby needs to not breastfeed. So maybe next year I can do something like this. My husband is talking about going on a 40th birthday trip with his friends so maybe I will plan a personal retreat like this sort of in exchange for him going on a golf trip. Then we both get time away doing what we’d like. You are lucky to live in an area where there are so many great options within a shortish drive. That is so not the case in the midwest, especially Minnesota. You have to drive soooo far to get somewhere truly different! That is one thing I appreciated when I lived in Charlotte, NC for a year. There were a lot of places I could go that were a 4 hour drive away – Charleston, Savannah, Asheville, the NC coast, etc.
I am happy you made this happen.
I run my own business and my quarterly retreats are my favorite thing! I go away to a tiny home retreat in the woods, pick three big items to think about (blogs to write, one process to improve or implement, etc) and do it. I go into town a couple of times to a favorite restaurant and a trip or two to the nearby state parks for a hike, but I don’t do any client work, no TV, or household worries and it is my most productive time.
(My spouse and I only have dogs, not children, so this is much easier to coordinate but we still plan about 3months or more in advance which helps)
This sounds really nice. I think I would enjoy doing a retreat like this even though I am not attempting to write anything. 🙂
Have you read Gifts From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh? She writes beautifully about the value of these times away. (I have a 1 year old and almost 4 year old which makes it seem impossible and endlessly lovely:)
@Briana – I have read it! I have a 1-year-old too…it isn’t impossible. Tough, but not impossible. If we had an emergency, our families would figure something out, which means that they could probably figure it out in a non-emergency situation too…