Writing Tip: Take a Retreat


For whatever reason, my to-do post came up blank. Anyway, for spring break from graduate school, I went to Portland, OR for 9 days to get back into writing. Here is an overview of what I did while I was there and why it was so necessary.

How to Pick a Location

I’ve heard several people pick locations in places that are relevant to the kinds of research they need to do for their book. What I personally needed was to get away from everything I knew and find a fresh, new location to buckle down and get some work done. Portland had been on my mind since undergrad and I thought it might be the perfect time to check it out. I also had a pair of friends living there at the time, so that kind of safety net made me feel better.

The To-Do List

My list of things I wanted to accomplish is below:

To Read

To Write

  • Rewrite Book 1
  • Write the Book 1 query
  • Write the Book 1 Synopsis
  • Participate in #PitMad
  • Draft Book 2

I made them ambitious on purpose. I wanted to guarantee that I won’t be bored. One of the important things to keep in  mind when visiting an entirely new place is to also take time to explore. I went hiking, perused Powell’s City of Books, visited the Oregon Zoo, and went out for St. Patrick’s Day. I wanted to take advantage of the beautiful Pacific Northwest and taking time away from school and friends. It put me in the perfect mindset to get my list done. I still have so much reading to do, but I feel re-energized.

The most important segment of this list was the writing bit. I feel ready to tackle the next phase of my publishing journey: Querying. If I hadn’t gone away to get the writing done, I don’t think I’d be in the same place right now.

The Outcome

I did well. I feel like I’m in a good spot with my writing endeavors. More importantly, I had reconnected with the world and characters I had built to such an extent that I feel great about abandoning them as third quarter of graduate school starts.

Happy writing,


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