Want to organize your own writer’s retreat? I recommend it highly. Here are a few tips that made all the difference for me and Mira, my travelmate/soon-to-be-bestselling-author-friend.
1. Bring a friend–or two. I could have gone it alone, but having a fellow writer by my side was incredibly motivating, and much less depressing than eating room service by myself.
2. Get on the same page. Before you’ve made your travel plans, make sure you and companion(s) are clear on why you’re going. Do you need to only work, work, work? Do you want to balance work and play? Write for an hour each morning and then have fun the rest of the time? Whatever it is, it’s important that you either agree, or are okay with one person taking off while the other works.
3. Figure out your goal–and share it. What do you want to get done over the weekend? Finish your novel? Write 1000 words? Ten blog posts? Come up with article pitches? Whatever it is, decide what you want to get done before you go, and tell your travel buddy. Hold yourself accountable, and cheer each other on.
4. Throw away your schedule. You’re on vacation, after all. Sleep in if you want. Write straight through lunch and eat dinner at 4. Whatever. As long as you’re working toward your goal, throw the schedule away.
5. Location, location, location. What’s your ideal writing environment? I need to be somewhere that’s walkable, not too overwhelming, has plenty of coffee shops, and no one taking their tops off for beads. If you’re anything like me, Montreal couldn’t be better. If you’re more comfortable working in a rural setting, or in a place where coeds take their tops off for beads, you might want to look elsewhere.
6. Hotel, hotel, hotel. It’s tempting to skimp on your room, but when you’re writing, creature comforts are especially important. You’ll need enough room for you and your companions to spread out. You want a comfortable bed (or, dare I say it, a Heavenly Bed), or you’re going to be grouchy and not want to work. You’ll want wifi. You’ll need a room safe, for when you leave your laptop in the room and don’t want it to disappear along with your work. You should be able to order a fantastic dinner in your room when you’re on a writing streak and don’t want to kill it by going out or putting on pants. (Note: put pants on before answering the door. Your server will thank you.)