I have long dreamed of going to a writing retreat. When I imagine it, it’s in a rustic lodge in the mountains. It’s very quiet and peaceful with few distractions. The writers present are published, intelligent, creative, talented, and willing to share their experiences. We’d spend some of our time in small groups and then we’d all gather in the living area in front of a roaring fire while drinking hot chocolate and tea and share our writing and critique each other’s creations. We’d also have time alone to write and to spend time in nature. We’d all leave energized, renewed, and ready to write a bestseller. But the odds of me coming up with the funds and the time to attend such a retreat are pretty slim. So I’ve decided that I am going to start treating every weekend as a personal writing retreat. I have so many inspiring books on writing that I can use to set up my own curriculum and then use what I learn while writing. We all have in our minds this vision of how things are supposed to be, how we want them to be but we need to realize that these visions are not the only way of doing or experiencing what we want to do. In a perfect world, we’d have unlimited funds and time to do whatever we want to do but it isn’t a perfect world. We have responsibilities, jobs, family, bills, mortgages, etc…, and they take precedence in our lives. That’s why we have to be willing to let our visions morph into a reality that works for us. We are writers and artists, we are creative, we have the ability to make this happen. We create worlds so we definitely have the ability to set up our own personal retreat or to gather with a few other writers and have a small group retreat. We could meet on Saturday morning and each would share their experiences, tips, insights, things we’ve learned along the way, and our writing. We’d meet until 7:00pm then go home and write. On Sunday, we’d meet for brunch, discuss writing and what we had learned on Saturday and then we’d head to the Arboretum and wander through the beauty then we’d sit and write surrounded by the beauty of flowers and topiaries. We would eat dinner and share our writing, do some critiquing, offer advice, and just enjoy each other’s companies. We could meet like this every couple of months as well as having brunch or dinner occasionally to help us stay inspired and connected. Or, as a friend in SWW is doing, we could have an online retreat. We could Skype or Zoom and/or set up a private Facebook group. That’s very similar to ROW…SARK’s Rhapsody of Writing. We’d meet one Saturday per month for 5 hours on Zoom and we had a Facebook group. It was an awesome experience. So inspiring. So, I am going to design my own personal retreat that works within my time and budget constraints. I have my Magical Writing Haven, my books, a wonderful view, and I am feeling inspired. It’s somewhat freeing knowing that I can do this because first, I need it, second, just planning it is also a form of creativity and third, I get to delve deeper into what I feel that I need to learn and work on when it comes to my writing. I’m not dependent upon anyone else for the content so it can be whatever I want and need. We are all capable of doing this but, if you’re like me, you get caught up in that singular vision that you have in your mind of the “perfect” retreat or any of the other “perfect” things that you might have imagined. Then you set our sights on that one image and totally miss all the other options that are available. We have to widen our vision to take in all those amazing options and then create our very own personalized vision that we then make real. We are capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for because our creativity doesn’t end in the arts…writing, painting, composing, etc…it seeps into every single thing that we think and do. We just have to be aware of it and use it to the fullest extent possible. Spread it around…use it at home and at work. Come up with creative solutions to problems. Look at everything with a creative’s eye. And, last but definitely not least, use it in our creative endeavors…just let it run wild and see where it takes us. It will be an amazing journey and we don’t even have to leave home.