Have you reached that stage in your writing where words don’t come all that easily anymore?
According to psychoanalyst Edmund Bergler, writer’s block is not just a figment of your imagination. It’s a very real affliction that strikes most writers at some stage.
Perhaps that’s not what’s behind that unfinished novel at all, maybe you’ve still got plenty of inspiration but lack the time to follow through.
In both cases, a writers’ retreat could be just what you need to get those creative juices flowing again, or find the time to finish what you started.
What’s more exciting than attending a writers retreat? Packing for it and getting ready! Here are essential items you need to bring along with you.
Writer’s getaways may be a few hours spent in writing workshops with like-minded folk, or a couple of weeks away from distractions. In the latter case, here’s what you need to take along to ensure you make the most of it.
1. Writers’ Retreat Basics
Naturally, you’ll need the tools of your trade to work at peak performance during your time away. If you usually work with two laptops, take them both along, if you prefer a notepad and pen or a typewriter, then that’s what you need to pack.
Try to keep things as normal as possible when it comes to your writing.
While a new environment will do you the world of good, you need some sort of consistency to ensure you’re at your best. For example, if you usually use a mouse and mousepad, now isn’t the time to try and master your laptop’s touchpad.
Other often forgotten essentials include chargers for all your electronics, an extension cord, and adapters and converters if you’re traveling abroad. A small multi-socket power strip can also come in handy.
Don’t forget to take everything you need for research purposes along too, whether it’s in digital or paper format.
2. Digital Conveniences
When you’re writing chapter by chapter, there’s a solid chance you’ll want to merge all your final edited docs into one document at some point.
This is easy enough if you’re working entirely in a word processing app, but have you ever tried to merge two PDFs before? That’s another story!
When you’re learning how to merge PDF files Mac operating systems can be particularly bothersome. Make sure you know all the ins and outs of your computer apps before you leave home.
If there are any other apps you’re dying to try out, like Scrivener, or Hero’s Journey, try them out long before you leave.
3. Creature Comforts
It’s really difficult to write at your best when you’re too hot or too cold. So, research the weather forecast for your destination before you leave, and pack accordingly.
If you have items at home that you can’t live without, bring them along. A pillow, bathrobe, blanket, or familiar fragrance will help you to feel at ease in a strange destination.
Likewise, if you like to work with music in the background, download some of your best-loved tunes in advance. There’s no accounting for the Wi-Fi signal at remote writer retreats.
You can also add a homey touch to your lodgings with mementos from home such as photographs or your favorite mug.
A starving writer is an uninspired writer. Take some of your favorite snacks and treats along with you.
Not all writer retreats have food included in the deal, and you can’t survive on takeaways. Work out your meals in advance and shop before you leave, you don’t want to waste time shopping in unfamiliar territory.
Likewise, if you have special dietary needs, arrive prepared. It can be difficult to source particular items in a strange environment.
It’s practically standard practice for writers to travel with their own coffee.
4. Entertainment Essentials
Plan to give your mind some downtime too. Pack a selection of movies, magazines, and light reading to give your brain a break in between bouts of writing.
You should attempt to spend some time outdoors during your stay too. Pack walking shoes and comfortable clothes so you can take explore interesting sites and walks close to your destination.
Puzzle and games can help you to unwind after a long day at your desk, throw a few into your suitcase for the trip.
5. A Little Something Extra
Many writer’s retreats offer writer workshops, group activities, and social get-togethers. Plan around them and join in the fun, you’ll find yourself inspired by the experiences of other writers.
A chance meeting could turn out to be just the creative boost you need.
You may need to dress up a little more than usual for some of these occasions, so be sure to include a little black dress or cocktail outfit on your packing list.
By the time you leave home for the writers retreat, have a clear plan in mind about what you want to achieve during your retreat.
6. A Good Mindset
By the time you leave home, have a clear plan in mind about what you want to achieve during your retreat.
Specifics, such as ‘finish two chapters’ are great, while ‘write for two hours a day’ is good. Steer clear of unrealistic expectations like completing an entire novel – you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Prepare yourself to keep an open mind when engaging in meet-ups with other writers. This will enable you to reap the full benefit of your time spent in the company of other creative people.
Try to let go of your fears and share your work with them if asked. Kind, constructive criticism could be just what you need to take your writing to where you want it to be.
Stay Inspired & Motivated
If you don’t have a writers’ retreat coming up anytime soon and you’re looking for ways to improve your writing or just a quiet place to get it done, keep reading.
Our website has loads of motivational pieces, ideas, and inspiration to help you reach your full potential as a writer.
What would you take to a writers retreat?
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