Writers need a Retreat of One's Own
Life is filled with Admin. With the everyday business of caring for ourselves, caring for others, paying bills - There are a hundred things on the to-do list, before we even get round to doing the washing. And the dishes. And phoning the garage to book in the car for its dreaded MOT. And by then it's 3 o clock, and time to pick the children up from school. As for writing...?
Many of us struggle to find time to write, but we writers are experts in procrastination. And by procrastination I don't mean daydreaming. Daydreaming can be useful in helping us find creative links. I mean the kind of procrastination that feels easier than sitting down at a desk and thinking. The everyday chores. Many of us also struggle with guilt. Maybe it's just me, but I battle with the idea that writing is a selfish activity constantly. This often means I do anything but write. I go and visit my Grandmother. I clean the flat.
And then I feel resentful and try as I might, I can't hide this from the people I care about. And it's really not fair to start resenting them.
So what to do?
Jeffrey Davis suggests in Psychology Today that giving ourselves a designated amount of breathing space and allowing the mind to wander, is vital. He suggests creating your own at-home retreat. For the full article, go to:
If we are constantly carving out time to write, while juggling a hundred and one other things, how much might we get done if we just stop and breathe? If we allow the mind to wander? Allow our thoughts to eddy around the project we're working on?
Maybe it's time to get your partner or a friend on board so you can opt out of the everyday chores and interactions for 24 or 48 hours, switch off the internet, and give yourself a retreat at home. Maybe you need a few days away in another place entirely, to give your creative self time to expand. Whether you lock yourself in a study at home, borrow the keys to your friend's flat while they're away, or go on a designated Writing Retreat, be strict with yourself. Be solitary. See what emerges.
Sometimes we all need to escape the everyday in order to get back to ourselves. It's about opening up our eyes to things beyond the everyday, allowing the brain the space to make connections we just can't see when we're locked in our habitual routines.
However much you write, or don't write during your retreat, things will shift in your thinking. Your mind will have space to rejuvenate. Creativity isn't a luxury, it's part of what it is to be human, and if we can return to the everyday more in the present, with a greater sense of ourselves, and with more humanity, well that can't be a bad thing.