Heceta Beach Oregon. Photo by Kim Leval

When my “to do” lists start chasing me around the house it is time to flee.

I have a room in our house that is dedicated to my writing and most of the time it truly is my creative sanctuary; like this morning. I’m typing away. It is quiet. Things on the old “to do” lists aren’t playing tag with me saying, “you’re it!”

There are times when being at home, or even in the town where I live, means that everything that needs doing is crowding me and not leaving my brain free for more creative pursuits.

I have work. I have the gardening. The pears and now cucumbers, tomatoes, basil are calling out, “I’m rotting. Can me.” The chores. The bills. Ahhhhhhrrrggg! Get me out of here.

I talked to my sweet spouse about my need for a writing retreat. To go some place quiet, inspiring, and free of worries was all I needed. Just for a couple of days. I explained that for me to focus on my writing, and get back to my novel, I needed quiet and no distractions. I could have gone by myself but we agreed that he could come if he was quiet and had his own projects to work on.

We packed up food for the three days and two nights, booked a room at the beach and drove off. The further from home we got the more free I felt.

Getting to our ocean view space with a main room, kitchen and bath met our basic needs. The sparseness felt like a dream; the two of us and the ocean. I wrote for three hours after lunch while looking out at the ocean. We walked on the beach. I wrote some more. We made dinner and then watched the sunset and made a bonfire and sipped bourbon. We watched the stars come out. The moon set. We wondered at seeing the Milky Way in the star filled night sky.

The next day we went on a hike in Oregon’s mossy, floor-of-ferns rain forest. Then ate lunch. I wrote for another four hours. I drafted another scene in my novel. My sweetie finished his projects.

Pete and I realized that we need these breaks where we have singular purpose. Where we can slough off, temporarily, everything else and focus on whatever it is we want to focus on.

I had spent more time than I wanted getting the business side of Kim Leval Writing off and running. All my efforts on the website, blog, photos, and query letters had taken me away from my novel. Our retreat helped me get back to those places in northern California circa 1922 that are swirling around in my brain. Suddenly the frustration I had been feeling for weeks was gone. I was back on track.