Sometimes You Have to Lock Yourself in a Room

Posted by annastan on February 4th, 2014. Filed under: The Gossip File, WIP, Writing Retreat.

As my deadline for The Gossip File looms, I’ve been feeling the pressure of getting the manuscript written, revised, and polished–all while trying to stay on top of other life responsibilities. The problem is that sometimes all those other things pile up to the point where it’s difficult to get quality time with your manuscript.

Luckily, just as I was starting to really stress out, my awesome friend Heather suggested we go on a mini writing retreat. So we packed our things, headed down to Foxwoods (why wouldn’t we write at a casino?) and locked ourselves up in a hotel suite for a couple of days. The result? Heather doubled the word count on her WIP while I managed to rework and revise about half of my manuscript. All in all, it was an extremely productive trip.

Here’s a little motivational Post-It that Heather put on the coffee table:


I started thinking about why this mini retreat was so effective, and I realized it’s all about the sense of purpose. We drove for an hour and a half to get there and we were there for one specific reason. That meant we had no choice but to get work done, and we had permission not to think about anything else going on in our lives.

Of course, these types of retreats can’t happen all the time, but it was a much-needed jump start. The location and length of time aren’t really important. The main thing is to lock yourself up with one specific purpose, allow yourself to let everything else go, and then write write write!

5 Responses to Sometimes You Have to Lock Yourself in a Room

  1. Heather Kelly

    A really, really, really needed jumpstart for me. A reminder that even though I get busy with organizing the spring conference this time of year, I need to keep adding to my writing each day. This novel won’t write itself! Thanks for keeping me from going crazy! :) All work and no play….

  2. Ann Herrick

    What a wonderful plan to concentrate on writing!

    And if that’s the Foxwood in CT, my BIL is a chef there. :)

  3. Mirka Breen

    Now that I have three new cats, and one of them insists on typing with me, (and we don’t always have the same ideas) I, too, lock the door when I write. We do what we got to do. I think writing to a deadline would make me add the note also, for reinforcement…

  4. tommfranklin

    Leave it to Heather to come up with a simple, workable solution. : )

    I’ve been known to need to leave the house to get work done on my manuscripts. I usually head down the road to my local library, but even that can provide too many distractions…if I’m looking for distractions.

    I remember reading a piece by Anthony Bourdain where he said he was holed up in an hotel room in whatever fabulous city he was visiting as part of one of his Watch Tony Travel to Exotic Locations and Eat Amazing Things shows. He needed to get work done on his latest book and the only way he was able to do so while on the road was to lock himself away in a bland hotel room.

    – Tom

  5. theartofpuro

    What a great plan :)