This past weekend, my friend Jackie and I went on a Creative Retreat. This is our third year taking a creative retreat. Why take a creative retreat, you ask? For me there are a few elements that make a creative retreat a valuable time to do creative work.
Takes me out of my space
One special thing about our creative retreats is that we go away. Thanks to the generosity of my friends Jim and Carol, this year we used their house in Union Pier, MI. We spent quite a bit of time working in their lovely home and also in a local coffee shop. A change in scenery often allows me to think differently about the projects I am working on. It also removes me from the distractions of everyday life. Even if I have time to do creative work at home, there is always the distraction of laundry, bills to pay, and other household chores. Being a different space offers a clean slate for getting things done.
We have always gone away in the first quarter of the year. The winter is a great time to do creative work indoors, without the feeling that you should be enjoying the good weather. Also, going early in the year has made it a good time to set goals. I typically create a list of goals for the year in four categories: creative work, personal growth, advocacy, and professional. This year I primarily set goals by month or quarter, which allows me to focus on fewer things at a time, rather than trying to do all the things at one time. This is my first time trying this method of goal setting, so it will be an interesting experiment.
Finally, there is nothing quite like having a day or more dedicated to working on creative projects. Having uninterrupted time allows for deep work on a project and to get in the groove of creative work, without being sidetracked by other things. Jackie commented that hours can pass, in the blink of an eye. It’s a wonderful gift to take the time to do work that is generative and satisfying.