Last weekend I got to go on my dream book writing retreat. Over the course of four days, I wrote my entire book, “Inner Focus Golf.” (approx 35,000 – 40,000 words)
A little over a year ago, I wrote the first 4-chapters in a flurry of inspiration when the original idea struck me. However, I haven’t had time to look at or think about it since.
Feeling as though I NEEDED to get this book out of me and into the hands of golfers in 2018, I asked my wife, Celeste (who is epically awesome) if I could go away for 4-days and write it. She said, “Go for it, I support you” and had her mom and sister over for a ladies weekend… and off I went with the dog to let the creative channels open.
Even though I had my doubts that 4-days wouldn’t be nearly enough time to write my book, my commitment was to come home with a manuscript anyway. What I found though was when I carved out that unrealistic, condensed period of time for JUST MY BOOK, the energy came swooping out of its’ dormant resting place and onto the page.
It was like the Spirit of the book knew, it only had 4-days of my undivided attention, and it was going be sure to communicate to me non-stop until the job was done. This always happens when I enter into a creative project. It’s as though time disappears and I completely lose myself to “the work.” When we have a focused container to create from, it’s unbelievable how much we can get done.
I have been thinking about this book for over a year. But I just couldn’t get into a creative flow with it because of all my other commitments and obligations. To say, “Screw it, I’m gonna do it” and book this (guilt free) writer’s retreat where I could get away from family and distractions to just F’ing do it was such a blessing. For 72-hours all I did was write and think about my book.
Anyone who says “they don’t have the time” to do something like this is lying themselves. Even if you have to schedule it, 8-months from now, then do it. Anyone can put their responsibilities on hold with the right planning in place.
Detaching myself from my normal environment and traveling to a not-so-far-off place where I could just go into the bear cave, focus and follow my own creative flow was essential. If I would have stayed home, I would have had too many familiar distractions OR I would have gotten into work mode. So carve out time and book your writing retreat.
This piece I discovered by accident. I read the 4 chapters I wrote a year prior while on my ferry ride over to Vancouver Island. I then had an hour and fifteen minute drive to the lake house I was staying at. While driving, I began thinking about my book and what was going to happen next. Before I knew it, I had my next 6 chapters outlined and storyboarded. I captured the ideas through my “HandyRecorder” voice app.
I began each day with a couple hour hike and a solo sit at a cafe where I sat with my journal or walked with my voice recorder. It made me laugh how quickly and creatively my book ideas and outlines flowed to me. I probably looked a little nutty in the coffee shop because i was laughing and whispering to myself as ideas came.
I found moving my body, whether it was through hiking, driving or pacing around the living room to be the best way to get the creative juices flowing. This is how we came up with most of our ideas for the Great eCourse Adventure too. We would go on epic, day long hikes with our journals. That’s where we would dream into everything that you now get to experience in our courses and online community.
This freedom to be out in nature and “working on my business” is why I became a creative entrepreneur. I could never sit at a computer desk all day. It just wouldn’t work for my body and spirit.
Writing a book requires a lot of hours of hammering away at the keyboard. Fortunately for me, I can type as fast as I can think, which sped up the process quite a bit. But even still, it was 12 hours per day of looking at the computer screen. By the end of the days, I was so tired, sore from sitting (forgot my stand-up desk) and blurry in the eyes, that I would pass out fully dressed.
When I came up against a creative block, I would get up from the table and pace around the house like a mad man, talking out loud. But it worked. I would solve problems, come up with new ideas and I would see the next piece that needed to be written.
The book is a story and so it was really funny to have out loud conversations with the characters during certain moments. The loneliness of being on my own for 4-days may have had something to do with it too… I’m not sure if this is how other authors do it, but it definitely helped me.
This was a rule of thumb that I tried to follow. I found that editing would interrupt the flow from streaming. As I analyzed what was coming through, I would stop myself from hearing the rest of the cosmic download.
Sometimes when I was empty of thought, I would go back and re-read what I had. That would refresh the inspiration and open me up to the next word, sentence or entire page. Writing is definitely a “stop-and-start” process. It flows, then it doesn’t. It flows, then it doesn’t. My job is to continually stoke the “On Switch” so that it keeps flowing.
I recognize that with creative projects, there is always more work to be done. My goal was to simply write the first draft from start to finish. Now that it is done, I can always go back and change elements, and as feedback comes in from my test readers, I’m sure I will. However, the more I read it, the more I like it, which I take as a good sign.
We offer a new challenge every month to our members at the Great eCourse Adventure. The November one is a daily writing challenge, where we invite you to write 500+ words of content (intended to be shared with others) per day. If you want to join the community in this challenge, then you can sign up at our “Challenges” page in the membership.
Not a member? Get your Trail Pass for free at www.TheGreateCourseAdventure.com and join in on the November Challenge.