Over the years, I’ve heard of authors dashing off in search of solitude so that they can complete their manuscripts before their deadlines. I remember Kristan Higgins talking about escaping to a scenic inn with gourmet food. And I remember Deeanne Gist mentioning a stay in a remote cabin.
Well, I went on a two-night deadline getaway this week. Not to a charming inn or rustic cabin. No, I went the very cheap-o route. I received a postcard in the mail offering two free nights at a recently renovated hotel near one of Oklahoma’s casinos. The hotel is only about an hour’s drive from where I live. I’m a wife and a working mom of three. I have a book due June 1st. I think, Free? No laundry? No cleaning? No cooking? No endless carpool driving? Sleep late? Work uninterrupted?
I pick up my phone and make a reservation.
When I arrive at the hotel, I find the exterior underwhelming. The building is squat and plain and located next to a freeway. However, the rooms ARE newly re-done as promised.
I settle in and get right to work. Hmm…. I’m accomplishing lots. And it’s great not to have any other responsibilities or distractions! But it’s also strange — even for someone who loves quiet and solitude — to be this alone. The only people I interact with are a) the hotel staff who greet me when I walk through the lobby and b) the lady who rings up my bill when I pick up dinner at Chili’s To Go counter.
I work more.
The next morning, I wake up and head to breakfast.
Then I work. Then, somewhat desperate at this point to escape my hotel room, I locate the nearest Starbucks (15 minutes away but who cares) and drive there. Here’s lunch:
Then I work for a few hours outside, soaking in the sun, caffeine, and the nearness of civilization and other human beings.
Then I exercise in the world’s smallest hotel “fitness room” because if I don’t exercise I’ll be in danger of a World Record for least calories burned in a 24 hour period.
I’m alone in the fitness room, thankfully, since no other body can possibly fit.
I work in my room.
Then I work, sleep, eat more breakfast, work, exercise alone. I begin to wonder if any of the other hotel guests are interested in exercising. They all seem mostly interested in the casino’s slot machines.
I pack up, eager to return home.
My husband and my mother in law joined forces (bless them) to take care of my house and my kids while I was gone. Everything’s in order when I return. The only things that bear evidence to my absence are:
Here’s what I learned from my deadline getaway….
- It’s nice and needed to get away sometimes.
- We all thrive with a degree of quiet in our lives. But we also thrive with a degree of relationship.
- Focusing on a project single-mindedly results in lots of output. But not as much as I’d thought because even though I had unlimited time, my brain still had its limits. It could only churn out work for so long before it grew tired and revolted.
- A room filled with only a writer and her manuscript is a good place to visit for the short term.
- But home is the very best place to be for the long term.
- The challenges I face working from home are ultimately for my good. They make me crazy and I rail against them occasionally when I’m under pressure. But God knows that it’s actually very healthy for me to spend some of my day stacking the dishwasher, and folding clothes, and nagging
my teenagersomeone who will remain anonymous to clean her room, and running a bath for my kindergartner, and tucking my 5th grade son into bed. My people and the things I do for my people give my life balance and richness. My family keeps me company and brings me joy.
Do you take regular getaway trips? Where do you most love to travel for a getaway? Who (if anyone) do you travel with? Do tell!
Have you entered the giveaway that’s running right now to celebrate my new release, A Love Like Ours? Take a look at the great prize pack, pictured below! Go here for more details, the link that will take you to the giveaway entry form, and a short video in which I divulge the inside scoop on the inspiration behind the novel. I’d love to see an Inspired by Life… and Fiction follower win!