A little over a month ago my husband and I were talking about our dreams and aspirations – specifically my desires to write. He is well aware and very supportive of my dreams and has encouraged me to follow my passions over the course of our marriage. In our conversation, we explored my current efforts and the time that I have carved out of my week to set aside for writing. We discussed some of the challenges that I was facing in regards to writer’s block, finding my voice, or the difficulties getting into a state of flow when you only have a limited time set aside or know that you have other pressing duties to attend to.
I made a quick comment that I wish I could escape to a mountain retreat for a few days and simply be by myself to meditate, relax, and write. He seemed surprised at first, but then quickly realized that he often gets down time away from the family while out on travel for work, but that in the entirety of our existence as parents I have never had time away, by myself. To clarify, I have had awesome opportunities to go on girls retreat weekends which are amazingly rewarding, but never a time to simply go off by myself and just be.
Our conversation ended and our day resumed as normal. My husband headed out to take the dogs on a walk and I started on lunch for the family.
The walk seemed a little longer than usual, but it was a gorgeous day out, so I didn’t think too much of it. When he walked through the front doors with the dogs he said that I was going to have my wish and that he had just gotten off of the phone with his mother and coordinated a weekend away for me at their mountain home in North Carolina. They had the weekend picked out and a plan set. The kids had a long weekend in May that we would take advantage of. The plan was to drive from DC to NC, spend the night, and then he would drive with his parents and the kids to GA, where they have a second home and spend the weekend there visiting with his sister and niece as well. Then, at the end of the weekend they’d return to NC pick me up and we would head back to DC. This gave me almost 3 whole days to myself in their beautiful home on top of the mountain.
I could not believe that in this little amount of time he had made one of my long standing dreams come true and without me having to plan it. I may just have one of the best husbands on the planet.
Last week, the trip transpired. The family pulled away from the mountain side and headed to GA leaving me in the serene silence of the mountaintop- just me and my laptop.
I spent three days and two nights by myself living almost primarily off of my inlaw’s garden vegetables and keurig cups, lol. I wrote for several chunks of time each day, meditated, practiced yoga, gardened, and slept. It was a well needed recharge.
It was certainly challenging diving into the writing. I would have liked to have a clearer sense of where I was going with the task, but alas I did not – so no miraculous manuscript transpired over the few days in the mountain, but instead, many lessons.
The first being that I have an incredibly supportive and encouraging husband. He brilliantly gave me my space while still texting me a “goodmorning” and ending the day with a quick phone call to say goodnight – reminding me that the weekend wasn’t about producing, it was about unplugging, reconnecting, and recharging. He continually reminded me that he had no expectations of what needed to be achieved there on the mountain other than taking some well needed time for myself – and that should be my only expectation as well.
The second lesson I learned is that the pressure we put on ourselves to produce completely inhibits the creative process. I had to let go of the idea that anything specific was going to come out of this weekend and simply think of it as a “workshop” of sorts that I was allowing myself to have. It was unencumbered time that I was able to use practicing the skill of writing – whatever came of it. There was no deadline or publisher at the other end of the weekend. This was my first time to sit in silence for consecutive days and just be.
To get my juices flowing I simply sat on the ground with my laptop and wrote about that my current experience. It helped to have my fingers hitting the keyboard and the words flowing out of my head – despite the banality of the topic.
Thirdly, being in a mountain house all by yourself is very creepy at times – especially at night. Seriously. Lot’s of strange noises.
And although there were certainly more take-aways than just these four, the last thing I will share that I learned over the weekend is that to be a writer, you simply need to write. I allowed myself to write that weekend. Whether or not the material I wrote will ever see the light of day is another story, but I wrote. For hours on end, I wrote. I am a writer. It is my duty to continue writing and the mighty powers that be will decide what happens next.
Oh, and I also learned, that no matter how hard I tried – I could not put a dent in my mother in law’s garden! 🙂
Well, before I bid adieu, I am taking a vulnerable moment to put out into the world a little bit of my writing. As I mentioned above, in order to get the juices flowing I simply started by writing what was in the present. It is a rough draft, no edits, so don’t be too harsh. 😉
Here is what I wrote…