Here are the things that I let distract me from writing: family, obligation, friends, internet, books, TV, chores. If I sit in a coffee shop, I can write for as long as my bladder holds out — unless someone came with me.

Where does one go to find a small room with a door, without a television, internet connection, telephone, family, or friends? I am going to go Away a day or four each month, not over night, just get up in the morning, leave, hide, write for a day, come home for dinner.

But where?

The library here is all open spaces, not even any study carrels. Maybe a church library — no one goes to those. Where does one find a small room to sit in and write? Is a coffee shop the best I’ll find? I’d just as soon not add “lots of drinks & pastries” to the distraction list; I’ll be jittery and fat.

EDIT: I am trying to overcome to many of my issues (by exertion of will) at one time, and am trying to resolve some of my issues by temporary relocation. Once I have the immediate writing issues resolved, I’ll work on the avoidance behaviors and prioritization problems.

41 thoughts on “Retreat”

  1. Where does one go to find a small room with a door, without a television, internet connection, telephone, family, or friends?

    Strangely the first thing I thought of was the bathroom…

    but since you have (if I remember correctly) a fairly large yard, why not get one of those nice sheds from the hardware store and set it up to be your office. lead power out to it and explain that while you are in there they shouldn’t interrupt you for anything short of an emergency. an office outside the house but still close to home. 🙂

    dunno was just a thought. 🙂

    1. Right now, I need to be inconveniently located. I need it to be difficult for my family to walk by and chat, I need it to be really hard for me to poke out and do chores, fix the truck, work on the garden….

      1. well I was thinking that if you spent the money to make a place where you can be left alone it would be respected. also you would have the freedom to make it comfortable and also perhaps fill it with things that would help you get into the story you are writing – like pictures of the location or a similar location and items similar to the items you would be describing in your book, etc…
        Set it up so that you can lock it from the inside or something, you know? Your family would respect the fact that you needed to work and be left alone if you asked it of them, right?

        1. You are right, and that is the plan, down the road. But right now I haven’t the will to not open the door and walk outside while simultaneously focusing on what I’m supposed to do while simultaneously clamping down on some fears that are getting all steroid-puffed and ugly. I’m trying to cut down on what I’m doing simultaneously until I’ve dealt with those fears.

          1. As an overblown, over-hyped and overly annoying swoosh-garnished company once said, continued saying and wont stop saying…

            Just Do It.

            Now… As I sit and stare at your post… and my recent posts… I wonder why I don’t take my own advice. 😀 Thanks for the kick in the proverbial junk. 😀

          2. pshaw. I’m mathematically inclined. Everything can be broken into infinitely small, discrete bits, and then arbitrarily regrouped.

            At which point may select the front you care about. *beatific smile*

    2. Jack: Wendy, let me explain something to you. Whenever you come in here and interrupt me, you’re breaking my concentration. You’re distracting me. (He hits his head with the palm of his hand, rips up his manuscript, and throws it onto the floor.) And it will then take me time to get back to where I was. Understand?

      Wendy: Yeah.

      Jack: Fine. I’m gonna make a new rule. Whenever I’m in here, and you hear me typing (he types keys to demonstrate), whether you don’t hear me typing, whatever the fuck you hear me doing in here, when I’m in here, that means that I am working. That means don’t come in. Now, do you think you can handle that?

      Wendy: Yeah.

      Jack: Fine. Why don’t you start right now and get the fuck out of here?

      Wendy: OK.

        1. Unfortunately, it isn’t Wendy that’s the problem. It’s Jack. Er, me.

          That’s not to say that Boy & Wife don’t chat with me and so forth, but the problem is that I don’t say, “Fine. Why don’t you […] get the fuck out of here?” Again, trying not to fight myself on more fronts than I must.

  2. Piers Anthony had a garden shed he converted. Thoreaux of course bought a lakeside cabin, which is my preferred venue. What about… Is there a Uni nearby? SOC? University libraries are good for quiet places to not be disturbed. Or monastaries. Monastic study cloisters?

    1. SOU! 40 minute drive, not too bad. I don’t know about any monastaries, but I’d love it if there was one nearby.

      1. Yeah, that should work. On nice days, there’s that amazing park area in Ashland, where one could wander off and find a peaceful tree to sit under.

        Also, Southern Oregon _is_ known for its caves. Ain’t no seclusion like underground seclusion!

        1. While the cave has a certain romance to it, Ashland is looking good. SOU has many areas that will work and are accessible to me, and there is a Zen shrine that I can access for sitting and gettin’ it together to help deal with the fears issue.

          Although, I wonder if there’s a cave nearby that I could upholster….

    1. When I first read ‘s message, I thought “Sounds like a closet to me.” I saw, however, that it didn’t meet his requirements for inaccessibility, unless he conspired with his family to, say, have them lock him in for a fixed number of hours…

      1. first: love the icon.. 🙂

        second: i see what you’re saying, i’m wondering though, if perhaps he doesn’t have a quiet place, like the attic? or the basement (assuming he has either) or .. the garage even…. it would be just a matter of him locking himself away where he wouldn’t be disturbed.. the bathroom is a likely choice for me, as we have one off the office that is relatively undisturbed. if i go in there, i’m generally left alone. thought it might work for him too. if he has to be ‘locked in’ by family… then he hasn’t got control of how long he can write… might that defeat his ability to write, or am i overlooking an unknown variable?

        :)just my thoughts. 🙂

        1. I am loathe to be locked in by family; it puts responsibility for my performance on them by placing them in “babysitter” role. Once I’ve overcome the immediate self-fighting issues, I’ll work on the work-with-distractions-handy issues, and then make a room in the attic, or the dilapidated outbuilding, or the shop.

          1. i prefer the attic, though our home is a mediterranean style home with high ceilings, we have very little attic space. i couldn’t fit a desk and chair up there, we do however have a gardening shed and a garage, alas, no basement.:( so it is always in the bath that i do my best.

            while i realize everyone is different in how they will do their best work, it occurs to me that all require the same basic need. the need to be alone, to write.


          2. The hay loft of your barn would be good. I liked it up there, though the risk of falling through the floor might distract from literary-like pacing.

            But you would think of chores to do, wouldn’t you? Sigh. I am perfectly suited to be a writer, except for my dislike of the activity. Unlike Heinlein, I am not even slightly driven.

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