On Monday, I go on a private 4 day Writer Retreat. On this retreat, I will finish the novel that’s taken me over a year to complete.

Some of you know that a year ago I started one of the hardest jobs of my life. In my other world, I’m the Director of Forensic Healthcare. My hours range from 9 to 16 hour days, and it is extremely (yes–I used an adverb) hard to find time to write fiction. It’s not just “hard”—by EXTREMELY HARD. What I can tell you is that I’ve written over 500,000 words this year alone. Policy papers, professional emails and presentations.

The past year was a huge challenge to my novel writing progress. First there was COVID–which was actually a benefit. I was allowed to telework full time which meant I didn’t have the 4.5 hour drive into Falls Church every Monday–facing the terror of Route 66 which includes sitting in one place for 5 minutes then inching along to sit again for another five minutes. The longest part of my commute was the last 10 miles which took at least 50 minutes. True story, a car once butted in front of me and that vehicle embodied what I believe was exactly how every driver on the 66 felt. It read: IHTE66. I’m pretty sure that car and its driver could cut in front of anyone stuck on that highway and no one would raise a finger, yell or blast the horn. They’re probably like, “Mother Fu . . .Oh, dude, I love your license plate!” I wish I knew if the driver discovered the benefit of that tag by accident or if s/he thought long and hard about how to move around easily on the 66 whenever they needed. I kinda hope it’s the last one. That would bring the respect notch up a bit higher.

Even though I no longer had my telecommute, my amount of work increased. Between the job and chores at home, as well as visiting family and taking care of elders, I had no time work on my novel. When I did have time, I spent at least an hour reading over my work so I could remember the specifics of what I’d already written.

This coming week, I’ve decided to do something just for myself. I’m taking the time I need to focus on nothing but my novel. After searching for a location with the specific criteria of peace and quiet, I found the perfect getaway and I’ve made what I hope is an ideal plan. On Monday, I will go to a Writer’s Retreat an hour away from my home. A place just for writers and artists who need to get away to focus solely on their work in progress (WIP). I will let you all know how this goes day by day to help hold myself accountable to the plan I’ve made. Stay tuned. There will be photos!