What I learned from going on a writing retreat

writing retreat

I have wanted to go on a writing retreat for ages. Not with other people, but on my own. Simply lock me up in a house somewhere and write.

When my friend Mariakaisa asked me if I wanted to tend to her farm while she and her family were on holiday, I immediately said yes. It was a chance to write more on a book I am working on, and research a lot on it as well. But it had some good surprises coming to me as well, apart from concentrated book writing.

It was so dark at night

To begin with, it felt like a huge challenge to be all alone on a farm where there’s 500 m to the nearest neighbor.  But after some time where I had a chance to calm myself it was wonderful. I’m used to having light, houses and noise around me at most times, so the “pitch-black-ness” of the nights out there made me quite anxious. It also made me look at why I was anxious around darkness, and I healed some stuff around it, that I think I’ve been carrying with me for ages. Another great thing was that I started tracking the daily cyclus of day and nighttime, something I haven’t been that aware of, before.

I didn’t speak many words

I loved to move around in silence. Writing in silence. For the first days, music was playing in the background at all times, but I eventually turned it off. I did the same with my phone. It felt like I was centering myself. It felt like I was finally able to get a distance to everything that has happened in the last year.

I got away from my every day, alone, which was lovely

It was great being alone in the world again, just tending myself and my creativity. It was amazing, and the focus made some things clear around the book. Like there are parts of it that I can’t write yet. There are subjects I need to research more on before I put my take on it down on paper. The focus made parts of the book process easy peasy.

There was a ton of other benefits. Taking my art serious and taking my time to nurture it on my own. Giving myself permission and space to “birth” it. I felt like some of the literary giants sitting in this house in the countryside, surrounded by animals.

Somewhere in this process, it became a book. Maybe a shit draft right now but it’s still a book that I am writing, and not just some thoughts coming together. It has a structure now, and it’s finding its voice.

So writing retreats are highly recommendable. Especially in places where there is peace and silence and darkness at night.

rock on

1 Comment

  1. […] Last week I wrote about being on a writing retreat in the middle of nowhere. I was so productive. If I am in a big city (Berlin is one of my favorites) I have a need to explore and not to sit down and write all the time. Mind you, when I am exploring, my favorite thing is to bring my small Ipad to a coffee shop and sit there and write. Normally it’s good words and work that comes out of it. […]

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