Tomorrow morning, I’ll be washing the last of my dishes, packing up my battered purple carry-on, and heading off into the wild blue yonder for a spring break “gift to me,” a three-day “write-in” retreat. I’ve rented a cute little cottage with a comfy bed, a fireplace, a little kitchen, and a table that looks out of a big bay window. (In case you don’t follow the line of thought here, this will be my writing command center for the weekend.)
I cannot wait. Writing is something I really enjoy, but unlike music (a passion as fundamental to my spirit as breathing,) it is something that often gets put on the back-burner. Other things–laundry, errands, rehearsal, friends, exhaustion–take precedent over my fictional endeavors. So those rare times I manage to carve out a few hours to work, I spend the time daydreaming, or paying bills, or whatever.
But not this weekend! I’m going to a place where mobile reception is spotty at best, and there is no one I know for several hundred miles, armed with several projects at different stages and a determination to make progress in something.
So, because really I am thinking about this, and my mind is a thousand miles from this blog tonight, I thought I’d take you through a little “greatest hits” version of my packing list–it really embodies the essence of what I hope this weekend to be.
- Slummy clothes. I am taking nothing but leggings and old sweatshirts and oversized, old sweaters. It is all the essence of comfort. I aspire to change from pajamas into (essentially) other pajamas.
- Fuzzy socks. As I have very few plans to venture into the cruel outside world (save maybe a walk to get the creative juices going, as it were,) socks that are basically slippers are a must. My poor feet suffer through “work shoes” for most of their existence. They will be free for these next few days!
- My computer. Obviously. I have this rocking writer’s program called Scrivener. If you are a writer and you have not downloaded it, DO IT NOW. It is such a slick program. It is worth every penny of the $40 or whatever I paid for it!
- Pink pocket notebook with gold embossed “Awesome Ideas” on the cover. This may seem a bit more out there, but I subscribe strongly to pen-and-ink lists. This little baby has got the running record of different writing projects I can work on if I get frustrated with what I’m on. Sick of trying to get through that one dialogue? Do a plot map of that new idea! Totally over trying to think yourself out of that corner you wrote yourself into? Brainstorm landscapes for that fantasy you’ve been “meaning to get back to!” And so on. You get the idea.
- “The Writer’s Journey,” by Christopher Vogler. This book was recommended to me by a great writer, and it is the single best thing I have read about how to structure fiction writing. It is genius. I love it. I need it to reference.
- Other reading. And by that, I mean real reading. During the school year, I read, but it’s largely the kind of fluff one reads on a plane when you don’t really have to focus. I want to read other authors who really knew how to write–to inspire and feed the writer’s soul. There’s no place better to learn than at the foot of the masters.
- Walking shoes (and I guess I’d include my puffy vest here, too). Sometimes, you just need to take a good walk and let yourself think without distraction. (Isn’t that an odd thought?)
- Coffee. Do I even need to explain this one?
- A heart that’s ready to write. This has not been me for ten months, but it is finally me now. I am hungry to write. I am hungry to start trying to get things down on paper (er…on the screen?) I want to be creative in the way that writing so uniquely is.
I am so ready for this! I can’t wait to get there and get started and get frustrated and get over it! There is no way to write a novel, I have heard, except to make yourself write. Well, chalk that one up for me, anyway!