Even if you are used to writing every day or try new mediums regularly, you still risk falling in a slump. Whether you are making progress with your current project or have difficulties on your way, feeling that your story flows or that you have lost a touch with the medium, it must be a good time to devote a weekend to your writing.
Preparations and planning
To ensure that your writer’s weekend will be perfect, you need to plan your time ahead. We are not talking about booking yourself a room in a hotel, since the entire retreat can take place anywhere you like, even in your home. All you have to think about when planning is storytelling.
Of course, you have to start from clearing out your schedule and choosing the days you are going to devote to this activity. Make sure that you are off your work and there are no events and parties to attend.
It doesn’t mean that the world stops to exist when you have a writing weekend – you are free to see your friends, but you should devote this time mostly to storytelling. If your friend invites you for a cup of coffee or a movie – it’s okay to go for it, but remember that your main activity should be focused on writing. Stock your inspiration and ideas no matter what you do.
Know your goals
Set bot writing and inspiration goals for your retreat to become better in two ways – active and passive. Your active goals are things that you are up to complete. Let it be a challenge but not a stress, so if a 70-pages script seems overwhelming, then take another approach. You should write more than you usually do, therefore you will have to give yourself a small push, but don’t overdo with that.
As for the inspiration goals, it means that you should take efforts to engage new ideas and stories and trying various mediums. Use sources that inspire you, like books, movies, or poetry (it depends on the medium you are currently working with).
Let your schedule be flexible
Despite the fact that a retreat should be relaxing in some way, you still have to keep up with a certain order. You don’t have to schedule your day by the hour, but segment and organize it. No matter how exactly you plan your activity, make sure that you give yourself a room to have a rest, write more or less, get lost in a plot and make walks every day.
During the retreat
Now when you are done with planning, you have to focus on storytelling. Follow your schedule and keep the following tips in mind to do your best during a retreat.
Get rid of distractions
It doesn’t mean that you have to turn off your cellphone for a weekend, but you should make sure that distractions like social media and other stuff don’t bother you. Instead of throwing your phone out of the window, just log out of all your accounts so you will avoid temptation.
Remember that even if you are not writing at the moment, it doesn’t mean that you should watch TV series and text your friends at the same time – you are still in a storytelling mode. Be engaged with one task at a time and if socializing distracts you, try not to spend more than 15 minutes on social media per day, because you will lose your chance to have a productive retreat.
You will want to have a step away from writing during your retreat and get back to the real world for a while. There is no better way to do so than taking a walk. This will help you mediate on the story and have a rest from the screen. At least twenty minutes per day spent outside will refresh your mind. If you cannot focus or have problems with writing, a walk in a park may bring clarity to your thoughts.
Dive into a story
You have to devote your time not only to writing but also to reflecting over your characters and world. The major part of your trip should be devoted to deepening your story. Try spending at least a couple of hours of being engaged in a story. Of course, this will only be effective if you omit distractions and stress.
Talk to your own characters
Talking to your characters is the best way to learn them better. Maybe, you have troubles with one of them or want to make a protagonist’s character better, whatever you choose, you need to spend time trying to learn them better.
When we say that you need to talk to them, it doesn’t mean that you should actually do so. However, you may try writing a journal entry in their voice, write about themes they represent in a story, sit around talking to yourself about them, etc. Each character is different from the others and you have to focus on developing them to their full potential.
During your writing event, make sure to focus on everything that seems unclear and needs fixing. Happy retreat!