A Wonderful Week: Planning Your At-Home Writing Retreat

For the first time, I lived in my house alone for a week. Alone for a week! With Sarah serving on a missions trip in Jamaica and Ash and Kate visiting family and friends in North Carolina and Williamsburg, I stayed home to finish the latest book, Chosen for Christ: Stepping into the Life You’ve Been Missing. 

For at least six months, we knew I’d stay home to write over Penn State’s spring break, so I had time to mentally prepare for my own writing retreat. I was giddy. I was unable to fathom what the week could be like, but I knew it’d be amazing.

If you’re planning your own extended time to write–over at least several days–I thought I’d share what made it so wonderful.

First, you stock your kitchen with foods you love, just for you. It will feel extravagant and indulgent, but do it. Buy the smoked salmon, a chicken to roast, mangos, and dark, rich coffee. Buy blackberries and crisp apples and all the treats you’ll love. Make a big pot of your favorite soup that you can eat for your lunches. But don’t be afraid to make a hamburger just because you want a hamburger (this happened).

Then, you arrange afternoon excursions to replenish yourself after writing for 7-8 hours (since your writing day begins at 7:00 AM). Take long walks. Visit thrift stores. Enjoy time with a friend at a salt spa (this actually happened). At least twice, go out to dinner and eat something you’d never cook at home like truffle and pea ravioli (and this actually happened).

Make yourself available to walk your neighbor’s dog since your street will be empty from Spring Break vacations. This way, you’ll stretch your legs twice a day.

You wake up and you get right to it. You wear your most comfortable clothing. And you write. You write until lunch. You switch to tall glasses of water instead of coffee at some point. You soak in a bubble bath before lunch to think about what you’re writing and what you need to revise. You cut a mango and warm your corn chowder for lunch. You return to writing.

Then, you relax and think.

Then you make dinner while you shamelessly listen to country music or 80’s pop–as loud as you want.

In the late evenings, you read books. You tuck cozy blankets around you with the candles lit, and you read to your heart’s content.

By Saturday morning, you miss your family so much that you bake a lemon raspberry cake, assemble a homemade lasagna, and clean the house till it sparkles for their return. Soon, you’ll be back to the rhythm of family life and work, but for one week, you were alone and you wrote.

You wrote!

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