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brainstorming ideas
Over the weekend, when many folks spent time outside for one of the last sunny Carolina weekends of summer, I was inside with two other writers for an informal writing retreat. A mutual writer-friend connected me with the writer who came up with the idea to host. She generously offered her lakefront home in Durham as the retreat spot, handled grocery shopping, created an itinerary, and facilitated all the details. She didn’t ask for a dime! I brought eggs from our chickens, baked bread, and bought a bottle of mead and a few treats. The other writer-guest brought a bunch of snacks too – a tasty potluck of writerfuel!

We each had projects and business to-dos that we needed to focus on. I was very productive:

  • I added past teleseminars on freelancing and blogging to my site for purchase
  • Developed a 14-month plan for my next short story collection inspired by my family history
  • Planned two new monthly writing critique groups in Pittsboro and Chapel Hill for 2018
  • Outlined class topics for the first half of 2018. (All NEW classes on freelancing and content marketing, for writers and non-writers.)
  • Submitted speaker proposals for two conferences
  • Created a chart of conferences to send more proposals
  • Developed a solid LOI schedule for content marketing prospecting
  • Started searching for a house cleaning service to maximize my writing time

laptop writing
Our host made us feel right at home. We could work from any number of spots around the house: couches, tables, desk, the floor – I chose a comfy couch overlooking the lake. Even though I was inside most of the weekend, the skylights and lake view made me feel like I wasn’t missing out on the beautiful weather. I even got a tiny bit sunburned!

living room retreat

Aerial view of my productive corner of the couch.

The weekend started on Friday night with some wine and cheese and settling-in time. Saturday morning we made our own breakfasts, convened over coffee and had a five-minute mindfulness/meditation session before setting our goals for the morning. I would have never thought to focus on mindfulness, but that brief time was energizing.

Lunch was an hour break when we made our own sandwiches, discussed our progress, and plotted our afternoon goals. We planned on ending work time around 5, and then heading out at 6 for dinner at a nearby restaurant. I used the hour to walk around the lake a few times and decompress from all the productivity. Sunday morning rolled out similarly, and then I went home after lunch.

Between the energy of the other writers, the progress I made on my goals, and the new systems I created to help with my day-to-day workflow, I feel like I fit in a week’s worth of work into a mini-weekend business retreat. Instead of feeling tired, I feel relief and ready for more!