Friday, September 26, 2014

Preparing for my Writing Retreat

I've got the opportunity to have a personal writing retreat.  For nearly two weeks, I'm not going to have to think about anybody else's schedule but mine -- well, and the cats, such as it is.

It won't be like a NaNoWriMo experience, because I've already started the book.  In fact, I've written eight chapters.  Then I went on holiday.  When I returned, I started revising the first chapter.  Then came a flurry of social activities, including a few at my house.  There was cooking, cleaning and baking to do, which meant another long break.  So I'm not "starting from scratch."  I'm getting back to a book already in progress.

Today and Saturday, I'm getting ready - going over my synopsis and notes, reminding myself about the characters and their story.  I'm also getting a few chores done, so I don't have much on my plate besides writing, feeding myself and the cats, and going for walks, because this retreat isn't just about writing.  It's also about getting back to regular exercise. 

Here's the schedule I hope to maintain during my retreat:

1.  Start the day with a hearty breakfast (hot cereal and fruit), feed the cats, and watch Canada AM until after Things I learned on the Internet Today (that's about 8 am).

2.   Begin working on the book.  Note I am NOT going to check my email or Twitter first.

3.  Work until I feel it's time for a break.  That could mean I work for an hour, or I could work for more.  When I take a break, I'll check email and Twitter,  have a tea, maybe do a bit of housework. 

4.  Back to work until I'm ready for another break and lunch.  I'm not setting a time limit or a page count, in part because at least in the beginning, I'll be revising.  It would be nice if I could get to the end of Chapter 8 by the end of the first week, but I'm not even setting that as a goal.  It's more important to feel I have a solid base before continuing.

5.  Lunch and a long break.  Since I've only myself and the cats to feed,  I can set my own times for meals.

I'm also having a Call the Midwife binge, so I'm going to watch an episode while I have lunch, then go for a walk and check email, etc.   This break will be at least two hours, and possibly three.
6.  Work a bit more, prepare for the next day.  At each break, I'll likely make notes, but I definitely will before I stop for dinner, so I can review the next morning before I start working again.

7.  Make dinner.  I'm going to make things that will also give me left-overs for the next day's dinner.  I also plan to do a bit of baking -- cornbread and pumpkin bread, not cookies. 

8.  After dinner, I may work if I feel like it, or take the evening off for more Call the Midwife and whatever shows on TV that appeal, like Gotham.  Then it's early to bed, and early to rise.

By the end of my retreat, I hope to have revised what I've already written and gotten a good start on the rest of the book.  Again, no specific page or word count -- I just want to get back into the book after a long break, build a really good foundation and (hopefully) move beyond. 

Here are my two "writing buddies." This is how they'll be spending their days while I'm working.   


Tanya Book said...

Your writing buddies are too cute.

Margaret Moore said...

Thanks! And they're quiet during the day, so the perfect companions when I'm trying to work.