Going on a Retreat and a Writing Update

meditative retreat

Before I tell you what’s going on, I just have to remark that it’s fun to be back on my blog fairly regularly. It involves a lot of 5am days and writing before going to work, then writing in the evenings after work, but I’m just having a lot of fun right now.

The Retreat

Back when I was doing a lot of those posts on meditating, I signed up for a meditation retreat. At the time, I was really thrilled about going on a little adventure like that: getting away, having undisturbed meditation time, and truly having no access to technology.

Here’s the part where I admit where I’m utterly human and have changed my mind.

Okay, I pride myself on not being *that* addicted to technology. I don’t like having my phone with me all the time, and I make sure to not have any technology in my room at night, save for the alarm…which, unfortunately, is my phone. But, I make a point to not look at it until I’m ready to wake up, with is usually right before the alarm.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand waking up to the noise of an alarm and it doesn’t matter how soothing the sounds might be. However, I’m scared to not set it and sleep way too late, but I usually wake up right before it goes off. Anyways….

I think I am addicted to technology, though: I check email at least several times a day. I check Facebook too much – sometimes once a day, but sometimes more. A lot more. There’s Twitter and Kindle and Google and…and…

My life is too encased in my computer. I use it for not only work, but for leisure, too.

It gets hard to separate the two.

That’s one of the reasonsΒ I signed up for the retreat. I told myself that I will pull away from it all, get back in touch with nature and have a “reset.”

But now, I admit I’m not so excited about going on this retreat later today through the afternoon on Sunday.

I get the feeling that it’s pretty rigid in terms of schedule. I’m not a big meat eater (avian and fishΒ foods make up the biggest part of my meat-eating habits, even then, most of my meals during the week are vegetarian). All the meals are vegan at the retreat center. And there are mandatory silent hours.

I love to write and create, andΒ I do my share of talking. In fact, people tell me that I tell way too many stories sometimes. Yes, I share too much and love to think out loud. Yup. This girl right here. They could very well kick me out.

I would rather stay home the next few days and write and watch movies. I may end up having to get up at 4am and spend hours on a meditation cushion. I have no idea; I don’t know the schedule. I’ve always wanted to try meditation for 8 hours or longer in a day, but I’m not sure I want today or tomorrow to be that day.

But that’s what I always default to: staying home and writing. I write all the time…and I wish I had more to show for that writing, but…that’s neither here nor there.

The Book

Which brings me to “the book.” The ghost story.

At the time I booked the retreat, cranking out a novel in a month’s time (that’s what I intend to do, anyways) wasn’t on my radar. I was in the height of stress at my day job. (I often wonder how much it’s worth it to be under so much stress, even if it isn’t year-round.) I needed meditation just to make it through the day.

I make it sound like an addiction. At least it’s an enlightening one. Ommmmmm….

But, as I’ve gotten back into feverish writing, I’ve slacked off in my practice. I tend to think of writing as quite meditative. If you’re writing a novel, you don’t think about the rest of what’s going on in your life:

You enter a different world where there are all these characters you’ve invented and you’re sculpting them into 3-D figures who are totally believable.

I know I’m not there, yet. I’ve finished the first edit – it was a content edit and took about a week to do. It went fast, but I’m doing that on purpose: if you go through quickly, you can spot the broader plot problems more easily.

Which is exactly what happened. I corrected a lot of things as I went through the first draft.

I’m halfway through the second edit. This edit is more of a read-through. It’s another look at the plot and character development, but not many additional words or corrections. As of right now, though, I have about 147 different notes I’ve added.

Draft three will be addressing all the problems I’ve spotted. It’ll be more like a content edit.

Draft four will be a final read-through.

And then it will be off to alpha readers. (Or are they called beta readers?)

Except it’s killing me that I won’t be looking at a computer for 4 days.

True, that’s a complaint. I really have nothing to complain about. It’s just that I feel like I’m on literary fire and I don’t want the flames to die out and my words to get drenched.

I have entertained the thought, however, that this could be perfect timing. That stepping away for a few days will help my mind subconsciously process everything so I come back with the best third draft ever.

If you need me, I’ll guess I’ll see you on Sunday. I’ll be headed off into the deep recesses of the jungle, where few people have ever tread in that undisturbed wilderness…

Just kidding. It’s in the mountains near my old stomping grounds, where I used to live. Ironically, it’s not far from there. But it IS isolated, and it is in the wilderness. I’ll be in my own tent. Wish me luck.

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22 thoughts on “Going on a Retreat and a Writing Update

  1. Have a great time, Lil Sis! I would be the same way. I would think it sounded great at the time and then as it got closer I’d be regretting my decision to sign up. LOL I’m sure you’ll have a good time but I completely understand.

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  2. It sounds like a great retreat to me. I hope you can relax and have fun with it.

    Your writing and book will be there for you when you come back. By the way, your writing seems to have more spark and conversational, real tone to it. Seems alive to me. Kudos!

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    1. Brad – It was really awesome. I did relax and had a lot of fun and gained a lot of insight. My next post will be about just that. πŸ™‚
      As far as the writing, it might be related to the fact that I am less stressed these days. Haha.

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  3. Aw, have a wonderful time and seriously could use a retreat as I am on my devices definitely more than I should be. But hoping with summer vacation for the girls and our Disney vacation right after the 4th of July. So, got my fingers crossed for a bit more downtime to come, too πŸ™‚

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  4. I hope that you enjoy it and relax my friend … I am quite like you: not “that” addicted … unless Twitter (and instagram at times) are involved … Wishing you much success with your writing too!… sending love. Aquileana πŸ˜€

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  5. You are so good for going Cyndi! Me? I’d give in to the stay at home, write and watch movies lol
    But sometimes there are unforeseen benefits that come out doing those things we decide we don’t want to do. And sometimes, it’s just good to shake things up a bit πŸ˜€
    Can’t wait to read your ghost story!

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    1. Denise – you have no idea how close I came to just bowing out and not going. But…I’d already paid for it and was determined to not waste my money. LOL. The benefits were truly amazing. I can’t wait to share about it! πŸ˜€

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  6. “They could very well kick me out.

    Not that I’m wishing that on you…. but how cool would that be! Kicked out of a meditation retreat!! Like what would they do….start at your feet and will them to move you or maybe, they’d get all zen, but since the good koan are, like, non-answerable, “what is your original face?” “what is the sound of one hand clapping?” to get rid of you, they’d have to go in the opposite, “hey! Cynthia, how many fingers am I holding up?” “did anyone see where I left my car keys?” and like, until you get aggravated and run out the door.
    have fun!
    looking forward to the story!

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    1. Clark – well, they didn’t. BUT, they also requested that we don’t use electronic devices. And well, I secretly worked on my novel while I was there and finished the second draft. Good thing my computer holds a long charge. LOL
      Can’t wait to write more about it. Haha.

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  7. I’m so jealous of your retreat!! We get a few year, but nothing like the variety over there. I’m sure you’re going to love it – might be a bit weird at first, but at least you’re going for life, hey? πŸ˜‰ Something fun to look back on (and write on!) one day… Have fun, soak up the quiet and nature, and your book will be waiting for you when you get back! πŸ™‚ xx

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    1. Melanie, lol. I almost didn’t go, but I made myself do it. It’s going to be a fun write up. πŸ™‚ And…shh…I worked on my book while I was there. LOL

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    1. Lisa – haha, well, they did have the lodge option, or private cabins. I didn’t want to pay a bunch extra for the cabins, nor did I want to stay with a bunch of strangers in the lodge – there were at least 2 to a room. So…it was the tent for me. But actually, I really liked it. My next post will be about this experience. πŸ™‚

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  8. Like Lisa – you lost me at ‘tent’, but the vegan meals sounds WONDERFUL! I hope you have a gorgeous time. And I hope you get more sleep! 5am is horrendously early, but I’m glad you’re enjoying the writing πŸ™‚

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    1. Lizzi – LOL. The vegan meals were to DIE FOR! They were INCREDIBLY good! I want to change my whole diet now because of it. πŸ™‚ And the writing, oh the writing. *bliss* Thank you for your sweet comments and for coming by! xox

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