I haven’t been doing as much promo as usual for my Evanston Writers Workshop Retreat, but not from lack of interest. It’s just been a hellishly crazy couple of weeks! (Which is also why I’ve been so resoundingly silent on my blog duties… o.O…)
1. TO HIDE FROM THE WORLD! (Duh. I mean, d00d, you didn’t see that one comin’?)
2. Stephen R. Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and other books, suggests that we need to renew ourselves on a regular basis. He calls this process “Sharpen the Saw.” After all, if you continue to saw away with it and never sharpen it, what happens to the blade? People are the same way. Renewal can take many forms – education, recreation, rest… but it must take some form, regularly, in order for us to maintain our effectiveness.
3. The Evanston Writers Workshop First Annual Retreat is this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, August 14 and 15, at the Fox River Bed and Breakfast outside of beautiful Starved Rock State Park, Illinois.
4. Our theme is EWW Unplugged: Rest, Rejuvenate, and Write!
5. When we retreat, not just EWW but in general, it’s useful to step out of our daily round and go somewhere. (I’ll address how to do a staycation retreat below.) Sometimes, the simple act of changing one’s surroundings can help shift personal reality into a new perspective, which makes it easier to feel as though one is actually retreating.
6. Another reason to retreat is that it provides perspective. It’s easy to let the self get swept up in the flurry of day-to-day activities and not take a step back to see the forest. But the forest is an important thing to see. Just because you’re toodling along on the path, efficiently and quickly, doesn’t mean you’re in the right forest! Uhps!
7. If you can’t afford to take a weekend elsewhere, you can do a Staytreat. These are related to Staycations, in that you don’t physically go anywhere. But like the Staycation, the Staytreat must be out of the ordinary flow of events. Plan special meals, baths, relaxing events, writing events, or time with special books and people to make your Staytreat a Retreat and not a Retread of the Same Old Weekend.
8. That’s another reason to retreat, actually: the dreaded malady, The Same Old Same Old. Highly contagious, this malady afflicts four out of five people and leads to boredom, mindless surfing of the addictive interwebs, addiction to television and silly reading material, and carboloaded eating habits.
9. Retreat is an excellent remedy for “I haven’t been writing lately.” Retreat Unplugged is even better, though difficult for modern Interwebwarriors. One of the key tools for this is the Almighty Prompt. There are many, many opportunities for prompts all over the interwebs (caution – may lead to mindless surfing, so maybe give the task of finding the prompts to an enterprising family member – but watch them for signs of this malady!!).
10. Get compatriots! Gather your friends, in the webs and in the flesh, to retreat with you! Communication software (and the old-fashioned telephone) work wonders to connect people across distances. Read to each other, share prompts, share writing time… but share the retreat! It’s a lot easier to retreat when you have help!
11. Unplug. Turn everything off (except maybe the air conditioner…). Turn off the computer, the cell phone, the television, the radio, the iPod, the CD Player, the 8-Track… (sorry, belay that last), you know what I mean – TURN THAT … OFF!!!
12. STAY unplugged for a whole weekend. Light your home with candles, stumble around with a flashlight, write outside by the light of the street lights – use bug spray as needed! – but practice being off the grid.
13. If those STILL don’t help you, then come join us! We’ll help you retreat good and proper! Saturday and Sunday, August 14th and 15th, at the Fox River Bed and Breakfast in Illinois. See you there!