Just back from a brief sojourn of a few days in the Big Apple, where I held down the fort and took care of a little four-legged canine charmer named Lucky while my sister and her husband went off to a family event. Knowing that I’d be apartment-dog-sitting for a few days, I decided to turn my trip into a mini writing retreat and work on my book revision. This turned out to be a pretty good idea for several reasons:
It was disruptive: Being in a different space and having a different routine really set me adrift: for about a day, I felt unmoored and out of my element, which I was. But this turned out to be good, because it shook me up a bit and shoved me out of my comfort zone, which is uncomfortable, but productive. Shaking things loose keeps things lubricated and creates movement.
It was energizing: Just being in the park and on the streets and people watching gave me a shot of adrenalin. I saw a ton of people every day enjoying themselves, rushing to work, making plans. I saw kids playing in the park — some of whom I hope will one day read my book. This constant stream of humanity is something I don’t encounter in my own habitat — and it gave me some much-needed gas.
A total change of scene can be very motivating.
It was freeing: Being jolted out of my own routine and thrust into a new one, even for just a few days, gave me the chance to just sit a while and think. To simply let myself mull over some of the ideas I’ve been playing with and see where they’d take me. At home, I’m surrounded by tons of papers and books related to my novel — and sometimes the sheer quantity of this stuff weighs me down. Being parachuted out of it all for a while was actually liberating.
So here’s a thought: If some of this sounds like it might be helpful to you as well given where you are on a project, why not plan a mini retreat of your own? At the least, you can pack up some of your stuff and sit in a coffee shop like JK Rowling or at the library. Or better yet, maybe you can offer to house or apartment sit for a friend or family member who’s going away for the weekend or on a trip. Just getting out of your own space might help wipe some mental cobwebs away. Write on!