This is the second time that Linda and I have escaped to her cottage up north for a writing retreat. The first time, we loaded up Linda’s car with our laptops and a printer along with plenty of food, a few changes of clothes and great intentions. What we actually ended up doing was living in our pajamas, eating, laughing, telling stories and watching chick flicks for three days. On that third day, I decided I really needed to get down to some serious writing so I changed out of my pajamas and into my jeans. This was my subtle way of communicating that it was time to get some work done around here! After breakfast, Linda offered me some tea so I made the fatal mistake of sitting down in the living room with her. This sealed the deal and for the rest of the day, we continued on with our “remember when” stories and laughing until our bellies hurt. So, that was our first writing retreat – not particularly productive but extremely memorable.
We decided to try again this week; only this time, we came up with a strategic plan for our working days. My goal was to take over the dining room table and complete my book proposal revision. Linda offered to hide upstairs in her bedroom so she could work on some drawings for a children’s book. We have committed ourselves to disciplined work days so we can head to the hot tub in the evenings! So far, so good.
WORK HARD, THEN PLAY HARD…in that order. Wise advice.
That reminds me of a rather defining moment when my son, who was in Grade 11 at the time, was supposedly “doing his homework.” I walked into the room and there was Drew, balancing on the back two legs of a chair with his gangling legs straddling the computer screen on the desk. Apparently, he was writing an English essay but he was also talking on MSN with his friends, listening to some tunes with his ear plugs in and watching basketball on TV. When questioned about his productivity level, he responded, “It’s OK, mom – I’m multitasking.” I lovingly suggested that he separate the work and play aspects of his evening and concentrate more on the homework. Strangely enough, there was no response.
I’m trying to practice what I preach this week. Work first, then play – it’s a great mantra. When I’m writing at home, I find it very easy to do. However, when I am with Linda, it’s a challenge to stay “on-task” because the temptation is always to grab a cup of tea and start laughing.
When we arrived at the cottage this morning, Linda showed me some tracks in the snow. It’s a great picture of humor and hope for this work week together – not exactly straight and focused paths but definitely making some movement in the right direction!
Stay tuned for Day 2 of our writing journeys!