I've blogged before about writing retreats. Many authors swear by them, both official retreats (where you meet other writers) and unofficial retreats (where you just get away from your daily life for a few days and focus on getting those next few chapters down).
Last summer I spent three days in a cabin in Big Bear, and I had planned to do a lot of writing, but ended up spending most of the time learning how to use Scrivener. It was time well spent, and I totally fell in love with the idea of getting out of town to focus on the novel. Instead of spending my credit card points on Starbucks, which I've done for years, I've been using them recently to save up Orbitz points, specifically to get out of town three or four times a year, for brief excursions, to get away from the distractions of home.
Having worked a ton of overtime over the holidays (including a twelve hour shift on Christmas and on New Year's Eve), I'm itching to get out of town for a bit. I've been focusing on improving the writing space in my apartment so I'll be more apt to spend a couple of hours a day writing at home every morning. But I think getting out of town for an extended weekend to focus on my fantasy novel would do me some good.
Big Bear is not an option this time of the year because I don't want to put chains on my 300 and drive through the snow. So I'm thinking of going to Pismo Beach or San Luis Obispo for a few days at the end of the month. The only problem is that we're starting our El Niño winter here in Cali, so if I plan it too early, I might be spending time at a beach during a downpour.
I truly want to get to Austin either this October or next to check out the city and the film festival. It's the festival for screenwriters, so it's a must to get to at some point. I think in the early summer I'll take a long weekend and drive back to Big Bear or up to the Sequoias for a quick writing getaway. And hopefully I'll be able to squeeze another one in sometime late in the year.
Maybe in 2017 or 2018, I'll try to get to a writer's conference. For now, I'd like to just keep to my commitment of getting a few writing getaways in a year. It seems to help a lot of writers in their process, I think it'll help me as well.
Keeping the focus is a big part of my 2016.