“Some of what I remember is only impression, shadows on the wall. What is left is the emotion, which is mostly fear and loneliness. And anger. I’m getting back into the story, only it’s not the story I had planned to tell.” ~ Maery Rose
I thought my biggest problem sticking to a daily writing plan was the distractions from demands at home and the hours I lose from working a full time job. All I needed to do to kick start my book project, establish a solid writing habit, and get in the flow, was to get away to an isolated location for nine days where I could focus on writing.
All of that makes sense, certainly. One would think it would work. However, this is what I really learned on my writing retreat:
You aren’t actually getting away to write (or focus on whatever project you are taking on) if you bring too much of your life with you.
There may be other things you want to work on that you never have time for besides your main project. For me, that was photography and getting out hiking with my dog, Java.
As wonderful as doing those two things are, I went too far with both of them. Even though the parks were closer than they are from home, I still spent thirty to ninety minutes driving to them. Then after two to four hours hiking, I was way too tired to go back to writing after I returned to the cabin.
Java would have been just as happy to walk on paths around the cabin or down a nearby dirt road.
It was me that sabotaged my writing by thinking I had to do it big and go somewhere new and exciting to walk every day.
I won’t even get in to what I learned about trails marked “Deadman’s Trail” that lead to “Hell’s Gate Trail.” Okay, I’ll tell you this much… I have quite an impressive bruise on my ass from that little adventure.
What I would do different next time:
- Walk wherever I can walk without getting in my car.
- As a reward for all the writing I complete, pick one state park nearby to explore on one day of my trip.
- Schedule reading and relaxing time in to my day.
A Word on the Photos In this Post
The photos (except the last one) were taken at Banning State Park using my new 50 mm F1.8 lens. It’s a lens meant more for portrait work or low lighting conditions, with it’s ability to let in lots of light. It let in a little too much light in many of my photos but this was a great lesson for me in understanding how exposure is affected by my settings. You can also get great bokeh, but there again, I wanted the details from the background but they were washed out. I was forced to use my brain a lot more to set up a shot with this lens, which is kind of why I bought it.