We all know there are times when we need to step away from our daily work. We need to have periods of rest from the chores and the grind of daily life, the normal activities that wear us down physically and mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
For many of us that time is a vacation, a time to get away, to see new things or revisit locations that gave us times of pleasure and relaxation. Sometimes, we can’t get away but we re-arrange our schedule to include activities that are outside our normal. A day at a waterpark, or a movie matinee and dinner, or spending a rainy day wandering a bookstore, or attending a ballgame.
Anything that allows us to step away and recharge.
Sometimes, rather than step away, we need to dive in deeper. That’s what I experienced recently. I took four days away from my writing routine to go on a novel writing intensive retreat with Steven James and Bob Dugoni in the mountains of eastern Tennessee.
Daily writing goals and the job of writing were put aside to join with nine other writers under the guidance and instruction of Steven and Bob.
We dove into topics like creating killer scenes, plot development, adding dimensionality to our characters, creating memorable people in our stories, building tension, writing organically, and Rambo editing.
We participated in guided and structured critiques by the two leaders and had individual consultations with each of them.
I got away from writing and spent four days digging deeper into the craft and my manuscript than I ever have before.
And came home encouraged and inspired to attack the hurdles of discouragement and frustration and work on this craft I’ve been called to do.
Have you ever had times where rejuvenation meant not taking a break from your craft but diving even deeper?
Very much so. That is when I take hikes.
Hi Henry. I’m so jealous! I would love to learn under Steven James. He’s such an amazing author. Reading The King right now. I’m sure it deepened your writing skills!
Henry, I’m actually in such a time right now. I was getting a lot of conflicting advice about my WIP, some of it from people who don’t write anything near my genre. I lost focus and felt like I was spinning my wheels.
Then a friend recommended a craft book on the underlying structural components of a novel. This book is helping me go much deeper–actually “under” the story–with tools to make sure it works. Finally I’m getting my second wind!
Thank you, Nikole.
Janice, thanks for sharing. I’m glad you found a good resource and are getting your second wind. Conflicting advice can be very discouraging. When I find myself in this kind of situation, it helps me to focus on the heart of my story, on what motivated me to start it. It also helps me to remember the advice is only a suggestion and I’m free to reject it if takes me away from my story. Keep writing in Him.
The retreat did take me deeper into the craft and rejuvenated my story. Steven is a great teacher, coach, and mentor. I hope you’re able to attend one of his retreats one day.
I enjoyed the time we spent at Writing for the Soul last February.