Sometimes you just need to get away! I’ve been working on a writing project recently, so when the opportunity came for me to change things up, I took it. My husband had to take a business trip, and since I couldn’t go with him, I decided to take a little trip of my own. I don’t need more material for the blog just now, so going to a new place could be counter-productive. I opted to take a little “staycation” in D.C. instead!
I don’t get into D.C. enough these days, but I love the feeling of being there in the thick of it all! I’ve already done everything there is to do in the District, but I knew I could get some quick inspiration there if I got into a rut. So I booked a killer deal at a hotel right downtown and packed my bag! Armed with my laptop, books, DIY spa goodies to treat myself, and cozy pajamas, I made my way into D.C. with a plan to maximize my creativity. Here are some tips so you can, too!
What is a Creative Retreat?
A Creative Retreat is any amount of time you set aside to let your creativity shine. Creative types often feel like their passion has to be a hobby, so other things can get in the way of progress. If you’re like me and you work on your passion from home, there’s always laundry, dishes, cleaning, errands, grocery shopping… the list could go on and on! It’s okay, and even beneficial, to give yourself permission to dedicate some real time to pursuing your creative passion!
For me, the opportunity was a DIY writing retreat. For others, it could be a blogging retreat, photography retreat, songwriting retreat, sewing retreat, knitting retreat—I even know someone who takes regular reading retreats she calls “read-cations”!
Where Should You Go?
You should go anywhere you can be creative! Maybe that’s a new country, or maybe it’s a favorite destination that holds special memories. Maybe it’s a Bed and Breakfast, maybe it’s a hotel where you can be left completely alone. Maybe it’s a cottage in the mountains, or maybe it’s a bustling city like New York or L.A.! Go wherever you like.
I chose D.C., but I could have just as easily gone down to Williamsburg, out west to Shenandoah, or eastward to Cape May, NJ. It’s all up to you. Need help choosing? Consider these:
- Do you need peace and quiet? A cabin in the mountains, house by the lake, or snowy lodge may work for you!
- Do you prefer the hustle and bustle of a city? D.C., New York City, Los Angeles, or Boston could be the place for you!
- Are you inspired by beautiful gardens? Head to Savannah, a B&B known for their gardens, Nantucket, or if your budget allows, head to the Cotswolds!
- Does the sound of the sea get your creative juices flowing? Head over to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Hilton Head, St. Thomas, or really get away from it all on Block Island, Rhode Island!
- Need music to inspire you? Nashville, Austin, Memphis, or New Orleans could be just the thing!
How Long Should Your Retreat Be?
As long as you like! Or as long as you can. Maybe you can only get away for a few hours at a time. In that case, find a nearby coffee shop or see if you can book a regular slot in a quiet room at your local library. If you can take a whole month or more, take that opportunity while you can! Can you book a whole week away? Good for you! This time around, I could only get away a couple of days, and I’m amazed at how much I accomplished in such a short time!
How Do I Maximize My Creativity?
Some people find a schedule completely stifling. Others need a schedule to keep them on track. So consider what works for you, and commit to accomplishing a few goals. I recommend starting with two goals and build from there. For my two-day writing retreat, my goals were:
- Write something for every section
- Research a list of details for my topic
When making your own Creative Retreat plan, be sure to schedule regular breaks to prevent creativity block, burnout, or general frustration. I made sure to get my daily exercise each morning, take a lunch break, and take a walk outside when needed, even just around the block or to get a coffee around the corner. Some people recommend getting up every hour, but sometimes that’s just when you find yourself inspired! Do what feels right for your creative style. Just remember this is something you like, not a job!
What if I Don’t Accomplish My Goals?
That doesn’t mean you won’t! Any progress is progress, no matter how small it seems. Take a few minutes after your retreat time is up and write down some lessons learned, some things you can do differently next time, and then commit to doing it again when you can.
Sometimes all it takes is just that first step to get started on whatever creative project you have in mind. So give yourself permission to take the time your project needs and deserves. Then see what happens!
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