I’ve been busy preparing for a writers’ retreat this weekend, preparing leftover meals for the family, baking my go-to oatmeal cookies (taking half, leaving half with the family to keep them in charity with me), getting a new laptop to replace the one that died a few years ago (my multi-draft writing takes a toll on technology), and generally getting psyched.

My friends and I have been doing these retreats for years and our formula is pretty fool-proof: a house on Cayuga Lake, laptops, notes, food, wine and chocolate. We write a lot during the day and in the evenings, we chat and watch romantic films.

I always come out with fresh ideas and often a big jump in the wordcount for my mess-in-progress. However, I learned during the earlier retreats that success doesn’t come from pushing too hard. It’s a good idea to think about goals beforehand, but once there, I just trust the process and let myself enjoy it.  I won’t check wordcount or the clock, or check if I’m on track.  I just enjoy my friends, the lake and the story, wherever it goes.  If I get stuck and the writing ceases to be fun, I switch gears. I go for a walk, I paddle on the lake, I meditate. If one of my friends isn’t busy, we may brainstorm. Or I might even take a nap! I go with the flow and something always works.

Friends of mine are going to the New England Chapter conference this weekend. I hope they have a wonderful, inspiring time.  It’s a conference I’ve enjoyed in the past but right now, getting my balloonist story finished is top priority.  As with retreats, I think it’s good to have goals for a conference. It’s also good to totally forget about them and be open to surprises.
Do you have anything fun and/or productive planned for this weekend?  How do you get yourself psyched for success?