Feeling Freelance Fatigue? Consider a Solo Writing Retreat

Feeling Freelance Fatigue? Consider a Solo Writing Retreat
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Today may be National Groundhog Day, but if I have my way, I won’t be seeing my shadow, and I certainly won’t have time to check if ol’ Punxsutawney Phil has seen his.

Instead, I’ll be completely off the grid enjoying a DIY solo writing retreat.

Running away from home

A few months ago, I found myself in a desperate state. I was buried in content audits and facing article deadlines, but my remote work routine was not working. I couldn’t make any headway without myriad distractions interrupting my flow.

I desperately needed a quiet place to work where no one knew my name.

On a whim, I booked an Airbnb, packed a bag, grabbed my laptop, and set off to Palm Springs – some 100 miles away – eager for a change of scenery and some time alone to write.

How a solo writing retreat can save your sanity (and productivity!).

Getting away to get grounded

I’ve learned to make due as a writer and content strategist in busy newsrooms and trendy, open concept tech spaces. I thought there would be fewer distractions working from home, but now I know better.

Susan Ito, a teacher at the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto, says, “Just being away from our own familiar homes — with their never-ending calls of laundry, house tasks, and errands — created the perfect writer staycation.”

How to plan a solo writing retreat

Ready to plan your own DIY solo writing retreat? Here’s a basic list to help get you started:

1. Decide on your location.

If you can get away for a few days, consider Airbnb. I prefer a separate studio or full home space without an on-premise host so I can truly be alone.

If a short-term rental isn’t feasible and if you know someone with a guest cottage, ask if you can use it for a few days. Or, try house sitting as Ito and a small group of friends did to create a writing retreat. Or, if you can completely eliminate distractions at home for several hours, schedule a day-long retreat to enjoy a bit of uninterrupted writing bliss.

2. Figure out the time-frame you can be gone.

I set out on a Thursday evening so I could have all of Friday and Saturday to write before returning home on Sunday. An overnight stay or a single day can work just as well too, especially if you’re doing a trial retreat at home.

3. Pack essential supplies.

I brought along a few of my favorite things on my retreat, including a journal, my favorite pens, some books, a Kindle, snacks, and a Bluetooth speaker to enjoy my go-to playlist.

Even if you’re retreating at home, gather whatever gets you in a writing groove to create a retreat-like experience.

How a solo writing retreat can fight freelance fatigue.

Refresh, renew, reboot.

In addition to finishing an article and making meaningful headway on a content audit, my solo writing retreat gave me a change of perspective and a clean slate from which to create.

The time I spent away from home also provided an opportunity for me to refresh my work routine, enabling me to reset my work-life balance once I returned home.

If you're struggling to get your freelance writing groove back, a solo writing retreat might be just the thing you need to fight freelance fatigue. #writing #freelancing #freelancelife Click To Tweet

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About the author

Natalie Dunbar

Natalie Dunbar is a user experience-focused content strategist, freelance writer, speaker, and builder of engaging content experiences for brands that include Anthem, Inc., Farmers Insurance, Kaiser Permanente and, and several federal government organizations including the Food and Drug Administration, US Department of Agriculture, and the Veteran's Administration.

When she’s not herding content or writing all the things, Natalie teaches yoga, and also enjoys dancing Brazilian Samba and Forró into the wee hours.

Natalie's first book, "From Solo to Scaled: Building a Sustainable Content Strategy Practice," will be published by Rosenfeld Media in 2022.