It's finally here. Last year I applied for and was accepted at a residency program for artists. I'll be spending the coming week in a "rustic" cabin in the mountains of North Carolina, working on projects of my choosing. There is no phone, no TV, no radio, no Internet. As I've told family and friends, a week of solitude will either deliver to me deep, personal insights about my calling and purpose in being on this planet or I'll spend the week huddled in a corner, rocking, sobbing, and systematically ripping a tissue to shreds. We'll see...
For now, I can't wait. I have given myself mini-heart attacks this month, trying to clear my plate so I don't have looming deadlines hanging over my head while I'm away. I've been about 95% successful. There is one huge project that will require weeks of close attention when I return plus I'm MC'ing a humor contest for Toastmasters three days after I return and was told I need to come up with "funny stories," but for the most part I'm working ahead of the game.
I'm taking only 2 projects with me, both books in progress. One is non-fiction and the other is a middle-grade novel. That's it. No magazine articles, no business writing, no speechwriting, no other work. Just books.
What I'm most interested in gleaning from this experience is how I function (or if I will function) with a lack of structure. My day-to-day life is pretty much scheduled in 1-2 hour chunks. I'm up every day at 5 to exercise. I have meetings all day on Wednesdays. Such and such is always due on such and such date. Very scripted.
At this retreat, all of that will be gone. I won't have to be up at certain time because yoga starts at 6 or I won't need to wind my work down by 6:30 if I want to spend time with Blair in the evening. There are no cats to be fed, laundry to be folded, meetings to prep for and attend. It's all wide open. With such freedom, I'm wondering when I'll find my best work times to be. Will I stay on schedule as a morning writer (for the most part)? Or will I find I like to take a late afternoon nap and stay up in the wee hours of the night working? Maybe I'll discover I actually prefer to exercise at noon vs. 6 AM. Maybe I'll sleep in 3 hour bursts or I may collapse for 12 hours at a stretch. Who knows? But doesn't it sound like fun to figure it out??
So I leave you with the blog entry for the week and these final words of inspiration I take with me to the mountains:
"Writing is not a profession, occupation or job; it is not a way of life:
it is a comprehensive response to life."
I hope you all enjoy your response to life this week.