BY: CLAIRE SIERRA
“Writers write.” Sounds simple, but there is nothing harder than facing the blank page. (Same is true for other artists and musicians.) Creatives in general really want to create, but often struggle to get the words written, the image created.
That’s where structure can be handy. Most artists I know do most of their painting before a show. And writers love a deadline. There’s nothing like a finite goal: word count, pages or images to deliver–a target can inspire us.
But why is that?
Creativity is flow. Structure creates containment. It’s like a river: without boundaries, the water rushes everywhere, often creating havoc in its wake. But with banks, the water flows through nicely.
As a writer I live by this. Each month I write this article. But truth be told, I often have no idea what to say when I start.
What motivates and inspires me? A twinkle of an idea and a deadline. The need and structure inspire me to write.
End the Distractions
But for many writers there’s no deadline from the outside. And it’s hard to do from will alone. (This too, I know well.)
I was talking with a friend who’s a published author about this recently. Ruth Miller has written 20 books, so she knows the process. I asked her how she did it and she shared her secret.
“If I have 40 hours, I can write a book. So, I create that time for myself, in one lump or several good-sized chunks.” (She also added, “The Balch with it’s quiet and creature comforts is a perfect place for writers to do that.” –that seems so self-serving to add here.) 😉
As a published author that clicked. I did most of my editing of The Magdalene Path in a small cabin off the grid. It was impossible for me to sit down and do “the hard stuff” of writing at home. Life always got in the way. But away, distractions were few.
Avoid the Lure of Rearranging Your Sock Drawer
There’s something about time and space away from the “regular grind” (going to work, tending family, doing the dishes, emails to answer….) that allows focus on our creative project.
We’ve all heard stories of musicians holing up in a recording studio to make a record. But you might not have an off-the-grid cabin to escape to…
So I developed Write Away From It All Retreat. Three and a half days in March, dedicated to your unfinished (or un-started) creative project. We’ll provide the meals for you, some group support, and self-care—all optional—but it’s mostly time away to allow your creative flow to happen.
Its intended for writers, but artists and musicians—any creatives with a project—are welcome, too.
Three Reasons Why Tending Your Passion Project is Crucial
You have a longing to say something: in word, image or music. Your inspiration is important, or you wouldn’t have it. It requires respect and care. Or it can fly away to the next interested participant. Ideas have other places to go. (Mine certainly have.) Tend it!
Without attention, it’s likely to wither on the vine. A strong inspiration one month can lead to “idea amnesia” that feeling it was a bad idea anyway. This happened to me for years, before I finally said yes to the project. (I don’t want this to happen to you!)
By having a plan—knowing you’ve set a date to write (or create)—may open the floodgates beforehand. Relieved of pressure, you become more open to penning a few lines (or painting a few strokes.) The goal gives you something to look forward to.
Writing away from it all will give you new perspective. Literally, your window on the world will be different. Traveling allows access to higher cognitive function and better mental health. New phrases will emerge. Thoughts you wouldn’t have at home can happen here.
Plus, if you’re struggling with the grey and rain where you are, “it’s always sunny in Dufur”—maybe not ALL the time, but Dufur boasts 300 days of sunshine a year! So, if you suffer from SAD, you’re more likely to see the sun being in the east end of the Gorge.
If your interest is piqued and you’d like to know what the details are, learn more here.
The magic is closer than you think!
Claire & Josiah for Team Balch
P.S. Thinking of a winter visit? Maybe the timing is off, or group retreats aren’t your style. Consider coming for your own private writing/creative retreat. We can customize it just for you!
To entice you to do this for yourself, we’d be happy to extend our Holiday Getaway Special through March. Book one night, get the second half off. Call us to book directly for this special deal. 541.467.2277 Booking online? Use promo code: HOLIDAY2019 (Not valid with other offers.)