I’ve written before about how I don’t typically stick to a rigid daily writing routine. I generally work my writing into a crammed and constantly changing schedule of teaching, editing, committee work, housework, pet care, meditation, errands . . . .
But I’ve also written before about how wonderful it is to have the time to devote to writing, to set aside hours in a day over days or weeks at a time and make writing my only job.
And now that my fall term of teaching is over, I have a few weeks to do just that, so ladies and gentlemen, I’m going on retreat!
Actually, I’m not going anywhere. I’m staying home, where I’m going to do an in-house retreat.
I had the idea late last year, when I was at my Buddhist center, attending a teaching on maintaining a practice and setting up personal retreats. That teaching was focused on dharma practice, but, busy mind that I have, many of the notes I took were about how to convert the advice to my writing practice.
I was especially taken with this idea of making time sacred, of adopting a mindset in which any time — even five minutes — can become a “retreat” if you embrace that time fully and maintain a focus on the practice. And while it’s hard to do that in a writing practice (how much effective writing can one legitimately get done in five minutes?), it’s something I’ve kept in mind over the past year as I squeeze in my writing around all my other time-obligations.
Which is how I’m managing my writing retreat over the next few weeks. Some days I’m dealing with appointments (the vet, the chiropractor), and some days I’m doing readings, and some days are just house days. But every day, whatever else is happening, I’ll be dedicating at least a few hours to fiction.
The past few days have been my vacation. I’ve played some computer games, screwed around on the Internet, slept late. But come Monday (when my grades are due and I’m officially done with the fall term), I’ll be waking up early, brewing a pot of coffee, and retreating into my little study downstairs. I’ll be writing for a couple of hours every morning. I’ll often be writing late at night. And if nothing else is on the calendar, I’ll be writing all day.
I might even put on a tie.
It’s winter break, folks. It’s time to get to work!