I’ve been on Twitter an awful lot since I’ve gotten my new phone; I set up an alt account called “fooling around on my phone” and instead of trying to be on-brand and promote my writing (at this point, my only public writing are these blog posts and some earnest advice on obscure Reddit subs), I lurk on other writers’ threads and enjoy some weird bots that tweet famous authors’ works. (When Gilgamesh, Sappho and Vonnegut line up on my screen, I get some pretty amazing reading.)
I should probably quit spending so much time on the internet, but I have to admit that Twitter is quite inspirational. I’ve almost put down the phone and started writing MANY times; I have screenshotted some amazing ideas to use later.
This weekend, I’m finally taking action. At least two people have shown up on my Twitter feed saying, “Going off-line. Writing retreat. See you Monday!”
So, I’m inspired. I won’t go off-line (ha! As of this writing, I’ve already scrolled through about 50 tweets, watched three YouTube videos and texted my mother, despite my best intentions). But it’s a beautiful weekend to have a writing retreat at home! Here’s how I’m doing it.
Ideally, you’d do a brief but effective housecleaning on Thursday night (Flylady’s House Blessing is very nice – you wipe down all the mirrors in the house, wash out the sinks, swish out the toilets, take out the trash then vacuum/sweep/wipe down with a damp cloth all the floors). I took out the trash. Yay me!
On Friday, you’d do grocery shopping for the weekend. Set a menu – my menu for this weekend is “The Artist in a Garret” diet – onion soup, crusty bread, hearty cheese, apples and then some boneless chicken thighs that I can just shove in the oven and bake for 20 minutes at 400F/200C (or toss in the onion soup). Artist in a Garret is all well and good, but I get cranky without my protein. I was thinking about making a treat (brownies), but I think I’ll save that for Sunday night. It’ll be a reward.
Also by Friday evening, you’d define what a successful weekend will look like. This time of year, I’m under garden pressure. The frost is coming, and I just realized I’m out of salsa. So, my goals for this weekend are: 12 jars of salsa (half-pints; I’m not crazy!), two loads of laundry (easy goal that can be accomplished quickly during breaks) and finishing Porky Pie, which I estimate will take about three or four “hours” (my hours are usually 45 minutes), but since I’ve got the whole weekend, I can easily knock out eight “hours” if my story surprises me. (And it’s been a surprising story, so I’m going to be very flexible and try to get four “hours” in today so I can use up extra time tomorrow.) (See Elizabeth’s Friday writing sprint comments *here* for a list of links to Porky Pie and Katie the Tarot Reader – NB: unfinished as of this writing. Obviously.)
More goals keep coming up. I ignore the fact that finishing this blog post is also a goal; I’m doing it now, it’ll be done by the time I start. Some people say you should write down the extra goals on a piece of paper – once they are down on the paper, you firmly tell yourself, “hey, noted, self! Let me concentrate on my top three!”
I’ve tried that and get mixed results. Usually, I spend all my time making the list, and then I lose the list before the next weekend. So, my plan is to firmly tamp down any stray “what about this long-neglected task?” and say, “Yeah, I’ll think about that AFTER I get my three goals done.” So far, it’s working. Why it’s working, I can’t say – I’ve had such a terrible, unmotivated summer that I don’t want to dig into the reasons why.
Suffice it to say, I’m doing the blog now, and I’ve got one load of laundry hanging out in the autumn sun. Other Errands, Get Thee Behind Me. I’m doing my best.
I know this won’t work for everyone. I have the luxury of grown children who live hundreds of miles away, and a husband who will be harvesting all weekend, so all he needs is ice cream (got it Friday!) and onion soup. I have high hopes for this weekend.
So, wishing you all the kind of weekend you need, be it a lovely autumn one or a burgeoning spring one, and I’ll check back on Monday.