Writers Retreats to Beat Writers Block
By Jennie Marts
Being stuck on your current WIP is no fun! Especially if you are on a deadline. It’s even worse if you are a ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-your-Pantser’ and you’re waiting for the story to come to you and your characters voices are deafeningly silent in your ears.
A favorite trick of mine is to set up my own mini-writing-retreat. For me, all a writing retreat needs is a notebook, a purple pen, a Snickers bar, a bag a Cheetos, two Diet Cokes and a quiet place to write. Sometimes I bring my laptop, but that makes it hard because then I get Cheetos-dust on the keyboard.
Changing the place you write and your writing medium are great ways to change-up and often ‘charge-up’ your writing energy. Take a break from your laptop and your desk and change your surroundings. Get a new perspective with a new landscape. Take a blanket and go to a park. Enjoy the breeze as you sit in the grass and write a description of the town where your story is.
Visit a local landmark in your town, sit on a bench and watch tourists mill around. Find a way to add a landmark into the town where your story is. Have your character go on a field trip to it and come up with something that changes them while they are there.
Maybe they learn something about the history of their town or find a clue to a long-lost ancestry. Maybe they bump into another character there, or witness a murder, or overhear a robbery plot, or fall in love. I write romantic/comedy/mysteries so my character would probably find a way to do all of those things in the space of an afternoon.
Take an hour retreat and go get a frozen yogurt or an ice cream cone. Sit at a table and write about the taste, the texture, how you feel when you eating the ice cream and then use that in a scene. Even if you don’t use it in a scene—hey, you still got to have ice cream, so I consider that a win-win!
Having a writer’s retreat is simply taking a mental and sometimes physical break from the ordinary way that you write. It’s putting yourself in a different frame of mind, and often a different locale. It can be as quick and easy as taking a break and doing a menial task that lets your mind wander while keeping your body busy doing something else, like taking the dog for a walk or running a sink full of warm sudsy water and hand-washing the dishes. Or, it can be as elaborate as taking a weekend away, and holing up in a hotel with no internet and carryout pizza.
Whatever you do, know that you are not alone and writer’s block is often fleeting. It’s like being in that conversation where you can’t think of that ‘one’ word that would describe it perfectly, as if the word had just vanished from your brain, then on the way home you stop your car to fill up with gas and the word magically pops into your head as you insert your debit card.
Because writing is like that. It is often magical and wonderful and terrifying and terrible. It can make you feel ten feet tall and as small and insignificant as a slug. But those words, those stories are inside of us, just waiting for the right moment to pour free. So grab a pen and some Cheetos and hang on. And just enjoy the ride.
I love to hear from readers and writers alike so leave a comment below with your favorite place to take a retreat- for writing or reading- and what snack MUST you bring along!
One lucky reader who comments on my blog will be randomly selected to win a Kindle ebook copy of my newest release: Easy Like Sunday Mourning, Book 2 of the Page Turners series. Good luck!"
Jennie Marts loves to make readers laugh as she weaves stories filled with love, friendship and intrigue. She’s the Kindle Bestselling author of a romantic
comedy/mystery series. Follow the Page Turners book club as they search for romance and clues in Another Saturday Night and I Ain’t Got No Body and the recently released Easy Like Sunday Mourning. Reviewers call her books “laugh out loud” funny and full of great characters that are “endearing and relatable.”
She writes from the mountains of Colorado where she lives with her husband, two sons, a parakeet, a golden retriever named Cooper and her latest edition, a Sheltie puppy named Maggie.
Jennie is addicted to Diet Coke and adores Cheetos. She loves playing volleyball and believes you can’t have too many books, shoes or friends.
Jennie loves to hear from readers. Follow her on Facebook at Jennie Marts Books , or Twitter at @JennieMarts.
Visit her at www.jenniemarts.com and subscribe to her newsletter for the latest on new releases and to find out the current happenings with the Pleasant Valley Page Turners.