I did something this weekend that I've never done. I went on a writer’s retreat… all by myself. With a deadline two weeks away and more words and polishing left than time, in order to keep my sanity, I decided to get rid of distractions for at least 24 hours. And I’m plagued by distractions, as I’m sure you all are. The kids, the dogs, dinner, housework, I could name a thousand things. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered an ugly thing about myself. I only work well with motivation and momentum. Bad, bad writer! If I’m in the middle of a scene and have to stop to run a kid to baseball practice, by the time I get back, I’ve lost the flow. I have to figure out where I was and restart the energy. I don’t know how writers manage to write and have full time jobs. I bow to them.
But I know my limitations. So armed with laptop, a dozen Krispy Kremes, sodas and 5 hour energy drinks, just in case I crashed, I checked into a hotel. It was nice, a Hilton Garden Inn, not too expensive but clean and clutter free. Hopefully bed-bug free too. I was immediately stuck by the quiet. It’s not like I never have quiet at home, but even if it’s just me and the dogs, they eventually need to go out, the phone eventually rings, the dishes and laundry taunt me, and the vacuum cleaner mocks. I spend more time figuring out what to do and what to abandon, that I don’t get much done at all.
So it was wonderful not to have baseball practice and voice mail and barking dogs. Because I’ve been working like a maniac on this manuscript, I hadn’t slept much for a couple of nights. By the time I checked in I was exhausted. I set my alarm and slept for three hours, then I got up and wrote. I wrote all night. I focused, I talked out ideas with myself without worrying if someone was listening. I jotted down notes without the dog trying to take them. It was wonderful. So wonderful that I want to do it again. Next week! Seriously, I think for every book I write, when I get down to deadline time, I’ll go to a hotel for a writing marathon.
Another thing I want to try is going somewhere else to write. I know lots of writers do this to get rid of distractions. I might go to the mountains and sit on a rock, or if I feel like company, go to Starbucks. I’m not a coffee drinker, but I could kill for their Caramel Apple Cider. And the back deck can be great. The only distractions there are the dogs wrestling and mosquitoes.
After my private retreat, I feel so much better about the book. I know I can have this ready by my deadline. The only thing I’m nervous about now is I promised it to my CP tomorrow. Yikes. I’m not quite finished, so I’d better get writing.