Big, Audacious Goals

Writing Retreat - Take 2

If you've read my previous blogs, you may have already heard of my disastrous first attempt at a writing retreat. 
I'll be honest, as much as I'm sure I would meet some amazing and inspirational people, the idea of a group writing retreat just makes me feel exhausted before I even start. Lots of people talking about how to write, what to write - I don't think I'd achieve anything, except maybe gain an even bigger case of Imposter Syndrome than I have already - if that is even possible. 
Maybe once I've got one book under my belt I might consider it, but for now, I'm happy with the lifetime access I have to a course on writing, from the incredibly creative Neil Gaiman. I wasn't brought up reading his books, but I watched my son's imagination blown away by the movie of Coraline, and then I bought a set of books by him, and loved the fun, fear and fabulous creativity I found there. So I jumped at the opportunity to purchase a writing course from him, where there are multiple videos giving me inspiration on how to build characters and story-lines.

But I know that I struggle to sit down and write. 

Once I'm there it seems to flow, but my ability to procrastinate at that first hurdle is award-winning (if there were awards for such things), so I've taken a very long time to get a small amount of my book written.
I started in late 2016, and had my previously-documented disastrous writing retreat in 2019, where I didn't get very much written at all, thanks to my own forgetfulness and a dead laptop battery (how much of my life is controlled by the draining of batteries?). 

Fast forward to 2023. 

I've told so many people about my book by now that I've (intentionally) put pressure on myself to just get on with it! I'm still procrastinating constantly, and I feel like every time I sit down to write more of the book, I'm re-writing the entire back story, as my mind drifts off to new ideas, places and character-building. So I knew I needed to make a commitment to give myself some time to do nothing but write. 
I chose a place that was only about 10 minutes from home (no way was I getting caught out by forgetting anything crucial this time), but made sure everyone knew what I was going away for, so that family, friends and clients all knew not to disturb me (anyone who knows me well, knows how easily distracted I am..).
I didn't want to just go and 'write a bit more' - I needed to give myself a huge goal. Even if I didn't achieve it, it needed to be big enough that it would be a huge leap forward if I got even close. 
So I decided I would try to double the number of words I'd already written. Which was madness - I was only going away for two and a half days, I'd barely written anything for months, and I was going to try to write tens of thousands of words. 

But, against all odds - I did it, with hours to spare.

And I couldn't be prouder of myself. It's made me feel like I can achieve anything, even a goal that (honestly) seemed ludicrous when I first said it out loud. So I encourage you, if there's a goal you've been putting off, 
  • make sure you tell other people about it, as this will make it harder to back out of it
  • set yourself a high (but not unachievable) target, and
  • don't leave the tools behind! (or make sure you have some form of backup close at hand)
And make sure you pat yourself firmly on the back if you get close - especially if you are a natural procrastinator!


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