Friday, May 27, 2016

Storyteller's Journey

Planning an In-Home Writer's Retreat

Earlier this month my husband was away from home on a week-long business trip. Since I am only able to effectively write while he's gone anyway, I decided to make that week an "In-Home Writer's Retreat" for myself. It was extremely successful! (Photo Credit: Public Domain.)

Here are some of the tips & tools I used to plan my "in-home retreat:"

* I paid bills, did grocery shopping, etc. in preparation of being busy with my "retreat." Whatever tasks I could do prior to that week, I did.

* I cleared my week's schedule of my domestic/personal duties as best I could. I did have two appointments I couldn't break, but otherwise I attempted to keep my schedule full of writing-related activities.

*I made a goal for what I hoped to accomplish during the week. I decided to do some much needed research, write five thousand words, and generally stay in a literary mindset during my "in-home retreat."

* I made a list of acceptable tasks for my "in-home retreat," they included: Writing, blogging, reading, researching, and listening to podcasts. (The podcast with the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, Gene Luen Yang, interviewing Pulitzer winner Michael Chabon, was so inspirational and informative. Mr. Chabon has written children's books - who knew! Click here if you'd like to listen.) SCBWI (The Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators) is a great resource for writers (& illustrators) of children's books. Click here. They feature a wonderful series of podcasts by professionals in the publishing industry that is available to its members on their website.

* For my evening entertainment I selected films that I might watch that were about authors - Miss Potter, Finding Forrester, Alex & Emma, and Midnight in Paris. (I also planned a dinner with a writer pal one night.)
There are dozens of writer-related films. Click here to view a list.

While I know not everyone has the freedom - or the time - to do this "in-home retreat,"  you can find a way to modify the idea:

* If you have small children at home, see if a friend or family member might help you by watching the children for a few hours each day. If your children are in school, work around their schedules.

* If you work outside the home, try planning a couple of hours each evening devoted to your "in-home retreat." Your spouse or significant other might help with meals & chores. If you live alone, let the house & your chores go for a few nights! (Writers are famous for that anyway.)

While an "in-home retreat" is not nearly as much fun as seeing your friends at a conference or retreat, it can still be entertaining and super inspirational - it was for me. It also gave me a chance to catch up on articles related to literary subjects that I'd not previously taken the time to read. The biggest benefit I gleaned from this experiment was gaining a clear mindset about my manuscript - which was huge. This idea for an "in-home retreat" can be modified in numerous ways. Good luck!


  1. What a good idea! Really original. I'm glad it went well. Thanks for the list of writer related films.