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writing life

My Solo Weekend Writing Retreat at Hotel Finial

Sometimes things just work out.

Last year I told my husband that I wanted to take a solo weekend writing retreat, or a “writecation,” so I could start working on the book that I hope to complete in 2017. I wanted to check myself into a hotel for a weekend and just write.

I considered booking a room at a hotel in Birmingham, but I knew I needed to get away. Otherwise, the demands of family obligations and the lures of social events with friends would be too much of a distraction.

About a month or so after having this conversation with my husband I was contacted by a representative from Hotel Finial in Anniston, Alabama. They offered me a two-night complimentary stay so I could have the writecation I’d dreamed of. But my stay at Hotel Finial exceeded anything I could have ever imagined!

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Create an Inspiring Workspace

workspace graphic

“A woman must have… a room of her own if she is to write.” – Virginia Woolf

I never needed a room of my own to write, but I longed for one anyway.

As a girl when I shared a room with my younger brother I found a way to write my really bad poetry in spite of all the chaos that little brothers can bring. (I love you, C.J.!)

But when I finally got a room of my own at age 12, I felt like a queen reigning over her queendom. My bad poetry got a bit better and I started writing short stories, too.

Fast forward to adulthood and at age 25 I found myself sharing my room again — this time with my husband. I continued to write nonetheless. No longer much of a poet or fiction writer, I was busy writing articles for newspapers and magazines, blog posts for websites, and personal essays for myself.

I could and would write anywhere — at our dining room table, on our sofa, in our bed. But that famous quote from Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own stayed in my head and I kept dreaming of a home office.

Last year, when my husband and I became first-time homeowners and traded in our two-bedroom room apartment for a three-bedroom house, my dream came true.

I love my whole house from its high ceilings to its hardwood floors, but my office is the apple of my eye. And the reactions my girlfriends give when they see it for the first time cause me to swell with joy.

“Oh my gosh! Hashtag goals!” one person said.

“This is a YouTube office!” exclaimed another friend.

“Your office is like a Pinterest board come to life,” declared someone else.

But I’m not writing this post just to brag about how dope my office is. I want to offer a few tips to help you create an inspiring workspace of your own.

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How Days Off Can Improve Your Writing

give yourself a break

I used to pride myself on being a workaholic. Javacia “No Days Off” Bowser I called myself.

My work ethic is necessary if I’m going to do all the things I want to do: teach, write, and build a business.

But this “all work and no play” attitude makes Javacia a dull and crabby girl. And it makes me a sick girl, too.

These days I try to take off one day each week. I don’t always succeed, but I stick to this more often than not and it’s made a world of difference.

So, as we enter 4th of July weekend, I urge you to give yourself a break. Take a day off.

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What should a writer do on her day off?

day off

Last week, I wrote about the importance of taking a day off even if you’re juggling a day job with building a blog or business or writing a book. I believe in the importance of rest even if I don’t get very much of it myself.

And I believe days off are especially important for writers because they are part of the creative process. A writer friend of mine named TJ Beitelman, author of the book John the Revelator, once told me that he believes most of the creative writing process happens away from the keyboard. What I think he meant by this is that the things that inspire great work happen when you’re out living life, not simply staring at a blinking cursor on a blank screen.

So on my day off I’m not only doing things that revitalize me, but things that can re-energize my writing and blogging too.

Here’s what I like to do on my day off:

Go for a long walk or run. Most of my best ideas come to me when I’m out on my favorite trail.

Have coffee or brunch with my girlfriends. My passion for empowering women drives nearly everything I do, so for me nothing is as inspiring as spending time around other women.

Paint my nails. As my mani dries I usually browse my favorite websites and blogs.

Catch up on my favorite TV shows. How can one not find Olivia Pope inspiring?

How do you spend your day off?

 

Each day in November for #bloglikecrazy I’ll be publishing a blog post that answers your questions about blogging, social media, writing, wellness or women’s empowerment. Send your questions to javacia@seejanewritebham.com.