At such times, nobody is here but the cats and me. And the more completely I can achieve the following goals, the happier and more successful I feel:
- Throw away the clock. I sleep when I'm tired and eat when I'm hungry (or sometimes when I'm not, heh heh).
- Divide awake time among three activities: exercise, prayer, and writing, with the greatest number of hours spent on the writing. There might be a little minor web-surfing as a break. I might write an email to a friend. But that's it. The retreat is basically a writing marathon. I will take care of the cats, wash the few dishes I use, and throw in a load of laundry if necessary. No other housework. Oh, and I shower too. In case you wondered.
- Turn off the landline. I respond to important contacts by email or cellphone. But I don't want anything else ringing at me. Even the answering machine is too intrusive.
- Don't go outside. Yeah, I know. I'm a recluse-in-training. I *might* break this rule during seasons that don't involve piling on the winter gear and wondering where the ice patches are under that new coating of snow.
- A byproduct of the above, more than a point in its own right: Don't talk. My husband called me on the phone during those three days, but I think that's the only time I actually spoke.
- Dig into that novel wherever it's at and (for me) think in terms of completed scenes rather than word count. I couldn't figure out why the middle seemed to be moving so sluggishly, even though I knew what had to happen next. Except...I didn't know. When I finally threw out what I thought would be the midpoint, put something else there, and rearranged a few other scenes, I unblocked the thing. New scenes flowed onto the screen. And I wrote more than 5K words in those three days. For me, that's a lot.