1. NovemberRose
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    NovemberRose Member

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    Writer's retreat

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by NovemberRose, Jun 28, 2012.

    Just want to get things off my chest, basically. I am very close to finishing the first draft of my novel. What I don't have is a lot of time and certainly not a lot of time to myself, as a mother of young children. I get one day off every week (thanks hubby) and I usually spend a chunk of it at the library *trying* to write, but lately I have only been producing 300 words or so because I'm getting SO distracted by people talking loudly, people on mobile phones - a library is not a quiet place anymore. My only other free time is at night when the kids are asleep but I'm usually too tired to write, or if I'm honest, I don't want to do anything that resembles work, so I watch tv and read instead! My husband has just half jokingly suggested I book into the hotel down the road for a week to finish my book! We could possibly do this in a few weeks time, although I am concerned at leaving the kids with him and at the cost involved. Should I do this?
     
  2. michaelj
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    michaelj Senior Member

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    Don't you have a room you can write in quiet? Can't your hubby look after the kids downstairs?
     
  3. NovemberRose
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    NovemberRose Member

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    No, unfortunately. We have a very small house and he's not very good at "managing" them while I'm upstairs. One of them always gets past him and comes up to tattle on their sibling! ;)
     
  4. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Wow -- that's quite an offer. I'm jealous. Is there really no place you can go during the day to write? Could you bring noise canceling headphones and an ipod to block out some of the noise at the library or at someplace like a Starbucks? If your husband is willing to watch the kids for a week, could you actually go to one of those places every day and not have to spend the money to stay at the Travelodge at night? If you really want solid 24/7 time to focus on nothing but your writing, and your husband is willing to give you that, I say why not?
     
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  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Instead of a quiet place, try a noisy place. At a certain point, background noise stops being distracting. It just becomes "white noise".

    I find quiet places the most distracting of all. No place is truly silent, and every sound is magnified and significant in a quiet place.
     
  6. NovemberRose
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    NovemberRose Member

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    I never thought of the headphones before...I might have to look into that. I get so distracted though with people around. I feel like they're staring and it puts me off, or if I'm at the library, I'll usually just get going (writing wise) when someone lipsmacking as they eat from a noisy bag of sweets will sit beside me. There's lots of traffic in my local library. Even when people are quiet, there is a certain energy people bring and it can sometimes be enough to put me off. Maybe I'm odd that way, I don't know! All I know is after being with four children all day, you want some peace and quiet!!!
     
  7. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    Go to your local college libraries. There are normally study rooms and conference rooms you can hide in.
     
  8. Love to Write
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    Love to Write I'm a lover of writing. What else is to be said? Contributor

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    My personal favorite place to write is a privately owned coffee shop. Often privately owned coffee shops arn't widely known and thus arn't widely crowded.
    I also suggest grabbing a paragraph of your favorite book and copying it word for word in order to get into the mode of writing. Hopefully by then you will be able to write more in your book.
    Thats my two cents.
     
  9. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    Read/listen to Jhumpa Lahiri's interview (google it) on how she finds time to write despite being a mother. As far as I remember she didn't have to book a hotel room :) If nothing else it will encourage you.
     
  10. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    Go to a park.
     
  11. Justin Richards
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    Justin Richards Member

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    Do you have any local university campuses near you? The libraries there are usually quiet with students studying for exams, and some even have dedicated study rooms. You can just walk in under the guise of a mature-aged student.
     
  12. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    A couple girlfriends and I do writers retreats a couple times a year. They are great for getting some serious time to focus on writing. Althought we spend at least half our time getting pedicures and shopping. My point is that there is always something to distract you, so I'd think hard before I spent $ just to get a quiet place to write. There are tons of good suggestions on finding a quiet place already posted, I'd try them. My favorite idea is the university library. They do tend to be quieter.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'm afraid you won't like what i have to say, but i hope you'll give it some serious thought, rose...

    first of all, i had 7 kids [the first 5 in less than 5 years, no twins], so i for sure know where you're at... and back when i had only 6, i had to design our new house and draft all but the most technical of the architectural plans, which is akin to writing a novel, in re needing quiet, uninterrupted time in which to do the work... but it's not 'portable' work, like writing, since one can't move a drafting table and all the paraphenalia here and there, as one can with a laptop...

    so i had no choice but to work at home... what i did was wait till all were asleep [including hubby] and worked from about 10-11, till 1-2 am every night... if i was sleepy the next day, i could take a nap while the older kids were in school and the little one was down for her nap... and the plans got finished in about a month's time...

    there's no reason you can't do the same with your writing... sure, you may want to watch tv and read, but how much do you want to be a novelist?... the one thing a serious writer needs as much as talent and skill [maybe even more!] is self-discipline... no one can make us write but ourselves... and no one makes excuses for not writing but ourselves...

    going to a hotel for a week isn't going to get your book finished by a long shot... how many hotel visits do you think it will it take for you to get all the edits, subsequent drafts, revisions, and polishing done, till you'll have a submission-worthy ms to offer agents and publishers?... what could your family use all that money for?... and how will they feel when it's all money down the drain, since first novels by new and unknown writers have the same chance of ever making a penny, as a snowball in hell on a hot day in july has of growing up to be frosty the snowman?...

    you may have to write 3-4 more novels before you're good enough at it that you can turn out one having a 50/50 chance of being published... where/when will you be doing all that writing?...

    i know i sound harsh, honeybun, but the writing business is a harsh mistress... and only the doggedly determined have any chance of beating the odds... so don't look for an easy or quick way to solve your dilemma, 'cause there isn't any...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  14. inkyliddlefingers
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    inkyliddlefingers Member

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    I know what you mean. I once had this romantic idea that I would like to write part of my novel in The British Library, in fact it was a fantasy of mine to write parts of it in all the great libraries in Europe. I went to London for the weekend to see family, organised my schedule to spend a morning in the BL writing. It was awful. I wrote nothing. I am too easily distracted (in my particular case, read 'nosey').

    So, I write a 6ft 10in x 9ft 7in box we laughingly call the spare bedroom. I didn't turn to writing until my kids had flown the nest so that helped with family distractions, but you can guarantee that as soon as I sit down to write he who must be obeyed will want his lunch, the dog will need walking, several phone calls/emails will need attending to. Life gets in the way!

    Do you have a garden you can sit it? Or, better still, do you know someone else who is at work in the day who will let you use their house/shed/garden for writing in?
     
  15. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    I have severe ADHD and when people find out that I'm a writer, they seem to thing it is impossible that I can even finish a project. I have the manuscripts and red ink stains to prove the point.

    Music and headphones became my saving grace. It gives me a rhythm, tone, and pattern. Tenet point to push off from. I have found that if it is too quiet, I get more distracted than ever before, so I turned my own need for distraction on its ear, making it into a shield of sorts. With other people going a hundred different directions I am one of the few who is still, able to focus on what I'm doing.

    As some of the other posters stated. It can be easier to work in a bustling environment. Such is the case with me. My own house can be too quiet some days or offers too many temptations: books, movies...chores...lots of procrastination projects. :rolleyes: So I walk down to campus or the library, listening to music as I go. The walk gets the fidgets out, while the music gets my imagination going. Once I get there, I find my spot, set up my computer and fall head first back into my story line. There is just something about the hustle and bustle of everyday if that seems to lend pep to my own drive to write. Don't know if that is odd or just me, but a certain amount of distraction can be a good thing.

    - Darkkin
     
  16. NovemberRose
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    NovemberRose Member

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    Thanks, Darkkin, that's really inspiring. I'm currently battling anxiety and depression. It's hard to motivate myself and it's hard to stay positive. If you can do it, that gives me hope. Yesterday I was able to write for two hours while my youngest napped. I can't do it every day though, because every day is different and the majority of time I want to give 100% of my attention to my children. I get frustrated that I can't have a proper writing schedule because I never know what each day will throw up. I've been working on my first draft since November. I'm a chapter and a half away from finishing, though! So, I suppose it's not so bad. I'm probably too hard on myself.
     
  17. Shane Grayson
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    Shane Grayson Member

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    Yeah, the situation with libraries today is that they are more like club scenes than places to concentrate. My advice, take the offer to get away. Nietzsche did that while he was right Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
     

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