Every writer has their own style and approach to writing. Many write first thing in the morning. Some late at night. Every single day. I’m not one of them. At least not for writing my novel. Until I get to the point where I’m writing novels for a living, I have to eek out time wherever and whenever I can.
Over the past two years I’ve finally figured out what works for me. I need writing retreats. Time to get away from thinking about my daily business life, which can be intense and stressful at times, and begin to allow Creativity to take over my brain. It’s a beautiful thing when that happens.
My ultimate place for a writing retreat, and where I reboot the best, is at the beach. I have a couple of favorites.
First is on the Central Oregon Coast near a beach where I grew up. My mom had a second home at this beach, though she’s gone now. We go there regularly, staying in our Bambi Airstream travel trailer. Since my mom always encouraged me to write, I often sense her inspiration here. The photo of this magical beach is at the top of my blog and my Facebook page.
The other favorite location, not nearly as affordable as the first one, is on the West Coast of Vancouver Island in Tofino, British Columbia. I love coming to this beach in the winter when the storms are raging, the wind whipping through the trees and rain pelting down. We stay in a gorgeous lodge in a room with a fireplace and a view of Mother Nature at her best. It was here that I finished my first manuscript in January. This will also be the setting for my second novel.
There’s nothing quite like writing for a few hours and then taking a break with a brisk walk on the beach with the dogs. It refreshes my brain cells and jumpstarts Creativity again.
Since both of these beach locations are a hearty drive away, I’ve also made a little writing nook in my home office. It’s separate from the desk where I work at my day job, tricking my mind into thinking this is also a retreat space. I sit on my futon, prop my feet up with my laptop on my lap and have soft lighting to get me in the writing mood. A big picture window looks out into the forest of firs, pines and cedars—appropriate fodder for my novel. The only challenge with this scenario is that periodically one of the dogs thinks they should help by resting a head on my keyboard. (I’ve lost a few great sentences this way.)
I’ve heard some writers say they listen to specific music when they’re writing or they light candles with a scent that evokes the mood of the story they’re writing. Those work for me too, but they aren’t as essential as getting a little time apart from the rigors of my daily business.
Every writer has their own writing life. What works for you?