A couple of weeks back when I felt stuck… I had to remind myself of what makes me happy. When I was honest with myself I came to the conclusion that I love to be in nature and to write. It’s when I feel happiest and most free.
I remembered one of my friends had mentioned going on a writing retreat where basically he and a group of friends rented an airbnb to spend some time away from their usual settings to create/write, so I did the same this past weekend to reboot my system a bit.
Here are some tips for planning a weekend retreat so that you can come back clear headed, motivated and focused.
- Rent an Airbnb or stay at a place that makes you feel at home. I happened to have two friends who bring me calm and also love to write/create who live in the Redlands so I decided I would take a 2 hour train ride away and stay at an airbnb while I spent the weekend in their company. There were a few options that were in the downtown away since Redlands is already pretty spread out, but I went for a place that was really isolated and in the middle of nowhere to be in the quiet. It should be a space that can pique your creativity and/or have a space where you can write away from any distractions. This is meant to take you out of your usual routine but still give you the sense of relaxation that you experience in your own space.
- Invite friends/people who are only conducive and supportive of your craft. Who you invite to join you in a time of reflection and creation is really important, because they will influence your thoughts when you came to clear your head. Only invite/hang out with people who will inspire you and lift you higher, or give you a refreshing perspective. People who make you feel safe.
- Strip down to only the necessities. I didn’t wear makeup once during the entire weekend, which was Friday when I arrived, Saturday when I was exploring and chatting with them, or Sunday when I was headed back to LA. During this retreat I packed very minimally, wore loose clothing, dressed as comfortably as possible and didn’t really do anything I didn’t want to or needed to. Take your time in doing activities and get rid of all of the other distractions/noise/energy.
- Be immersed in nature and/or plan nature related activities. The purity of being in nature is naturally detoxifying, calming and relaxing. I had a few hikes planned but just staying in an airbnb where I could hear birds chirping, wind chimes, donkeys, bees and the water flowing was refreshing. Take time to explore on foot and admire a view.
- Plan to write whenever you can. A lot of thoughts come up at unexpected moments when you’re not bogged down by a million things to do. Be prepared to jot them down and dig into them further while you’re there or at a later time. Write when the emotions and inspiration are flowing. When you feel unstressed and free. Those are the purest thoughts and hard to fake.
The funny thing is that I had a whole itinerary planned for the weekend broken down hour by hour, but ended up not even following it because I ended up in conversations that went on for hours and just following my eye to explore places I didn’t even plan on coming across. The goal for the writing retreat is to collect your thoughts, get rid of brain clog and just connect again with other people and nature. Keep that in mind and don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t finish everything you wanted to.