To write, a retreat is needed – whether it’s going into a room in your own house and closing the door for an hour, or finding space at Starbucks for your computer, or driving up to the mountains and leaving your daily life behind. People who don’t write (usually your family) can have a hard time with this concept. But the thing is you have to take your writing seriously and if you don’t, no one else will. If you want to turn writing into a job you have to make it your job – sometimes for years – before you can ever draw a paycheck for it. Or you just have to really, really love it, and know how important it is to get your life down on paper.
I’ve been giving writing retreats for almost ten years now. The first one was 1,067 miles north of Los Angeles – and my own optimism about getting ten people up to Twin Bridges, Montana – (which involved them getting airline tickets, car rentals, and their own lodging) – lasted for the five day retreat but I was like a mother hen – I worried about details all the time and though it went well, I decided the next retreat should be closer to L.A. So I chose Lake Arrowhead, one hundred miles away, not only because it was close, but also because I have a cabin there and the UCLA Arrowhead Conference Center answered all the needs of a writing retreat – a cosy room with a fireplace to meet in, lodging, meals and a lake for hiking and a view. No plane reservations, rental cars or motels needed.
The writers at the Arrowhead retreat last weekend wrote a lot. Pages of a new novel, essays about buying a car, living now not for the future, two about Trumptime and how to deal with it, a memoir chapter about two brothers in New York who had very different professions, a scene from a one woman show that involved a visit to something called Sacred Sexuality, a scene that took place in a bar, a chapter about sex advice from a father. By Sunday morning everyone was letting down their hair. My hope for these brave writers who worked so hard for three days is that the momentum continues.
The point of this is – figure out what you need to get your work done and then do it.
If it includes going away for a weekend to the mountains come join us in Lake Arrowhead. The next retreat will be in October. No date chosen yet but if you’re interested let me know and I’ll put you on the list to be notified. The retreat will be limited to ten writers, and by some Sunday next October you’ll be writing things you never dreamed you’d write.