Going on a writer’s retreat does not mean that one writes all the time. It should entail more writing than one usually does.
Thankfully that is the case. But more than anything it’s about getting away from the daily trot and its preoccupations. It’s about reconnecting with yourself and your writing, which certainly includes unplugging.
Sitting outside in the sun looking at a virtually empty horizon (it consists of the sea meeting the sky), or enjoying a brisk stroll over green, rolling hills, so I can think without disturbance, is the epitome of retreating to me.
Eventually I return to writing.
That is where discipline is required. I could easily just sit and think, breathe the air that seems so much fresher than what London is serving up every day.
But I must write. I can always look up or go for a walk when I need to. Writing is why I am here, though.
When I go on my big trip, I go to see new things, to discover places I have heard of, but only seen in photographs thus far.
I want to see the world, experience it, become immersed.
Perhaps a writer wades into life as into the sea (only to the waist), but there are bodies of water into which one can wade for a long time, before the water will even touch one’s navel.
I may never just jump into life head first, but I will go into it deeply, breathing it in, observing (always that) and writing about everything inside and outside of it.
I discovered that my big trip also serves as a writer’s experience. It won’t be so much a retreat as it will be an escape. I seek to escape from my day job, from London, and yes, those responsibilities adult life imposes on us.
I take time out to live as a writer, in my case a travelling writer, which is no more expensive than living in London.
Suddenly that means that the destination is not very important anymore, not even the route I would like to take. I am undertaking a journey that could go just about anywhere. I merely make a point of seeing certain sights along the way.
But it is for me to write and also get out of my comfort zone. Oddly enough, inside my comfort zone I find it most difficult to write. It’s usually more conducive to laziness and complacency.
My brain is lacking stimuli.
Hence the writer’s retreat. A short one now, a long one later. Both yielding a good amount of writing, I hope.