I’m not a swimmer. If you ever saw me in the pool, which is highly unlikely because I’m more of a hot tub kinda gal, you’d know why. While I did manage to pass the swim test required by my university, it was a marginal pass and I had to take a two hour nap after treading water for three minutes. One of the skills required for swimming that hinders me is the ability to hold my breath. I must have tiny lungs with fewer alveoli compared to everyone else. When I take a deep breath to swim, I never get that far.
With other projects, however, sometimes I find I’m just the opposite. I don’t need to come up for air as often. When I commit to something, I tend to lose focus on the world around me and stay emerged. But like swimmers, writers need to come up for air.
This past weekend, I went on a writer’s retreat with two writers I met last fall at the Carolinas SCBWI conference in Charlotte, NC. Our trip was the brain child of Jes who suggested we get away from our regular routines, find a quiet place, and work. Hints of collaboration and critiquing were also thrown into the mix. Once we all found a weekend that worked with our schedules, we started planning.
Friday afternoon, Christa, Jes, and I all rendezvoused at a quaint cabin that Jes found for us. (Have I mentioned how awesome her planning was?) The wood cabin sat upon a hill and offered a great view of the tree line and the mountains in the distance. Over the course of three days: we wrote, we hiked at Hanging Rock State Park, we talked about each other’s work, we collaborated, we told stories that had nothing to do with our writing, and we laughed.
For me, the retreat was like coming up for a lungful of air after a long metaphorical swim. Refreshing and reinvigorating. And I can’t thank them both enough.
What about you? Do you find yourself staying submerged in a project for long periods of time? Do you take breaks? How do you come up for air?