When to Retreat

It’s National Novel Writing Month and I’m supposed to be writing about 2000 words a day to make a total of 50,000 words in the month of November. That’s about 4 type-written pages a day.

Of course there are distractions.  The fridge, the neighbours, work, my studio projects, tea with long-lost friends, movies, a sudden urge to meditate or clean, pressing F1 for anything on the computer, researching family history, running out the door for any number of very important errands.  I’m distracted by everything because this writing project is new and that means anything is possible.  The canvas is a little too white.

From my room at the retreat house.

So, a writing retreat was in order and even sponsored by the London Writers’ Society.  I headed out to sunny Lake Sunova twice this month and put words on the page.  Not a lot, but some.  Some good words, I think, in my once elegant long-hand that I won’t be  able to read later.  Half the time I’m counting the words to see how well I’ve done. But truly it isn’t about the word count, is it?

Regardless, it’s been great to retreat, to leave my usual habits behind and honour the time and space to get into new writing again after a year of editing.  While this new novel comes slowly into the world, I had the space to relax.  The little lake and the house were beautiful, nourishing.

But a retreat can be lonely.  I’m used to writing amid noise and distractions, with the radio on in the background, at the market downtown, in Timmy’s or anywhere else where people gather.  These busy places help me keep me one foot in this world so that I am able retreat into the writing.

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