My brain is somewhat scrambled with work. Jobs are piled up everywhere, and I'm making progress but I still think the overall mass of to-dos is gaining on me.
So it's a good thing that yesterday three of us from my writing group drove up to a cabin in the mountains west of here for an uninterrupted day of work.
It was bliss.
Here are two photos of the place where we holed up for the day. They were both taken at about 4:30 p.m., as we were preparing to leave. We didn't delay any potential writing time by taking photos when we got there, although we did pause to admire the location.
The day was gorgeous. If blocks of writing-and-thinking time weren't so rare, the temptation of spending the day outside would have been irresistible. I had to settle for watching the magpies and crows and other birds dig into the seed and suet in the feeders. I didn't even have time to notice if any less pushy and greedy birds got to do any eating, and we didn't need the bells that are recommended as bear-alerting devices for people who do get to go for walks in the area.
Throughout yesterday, the temperature was in the 50s F (10-15 degrees C) and the sky was clear until we were leaving, when it started to look like a weather change was approaching. Today's report from that part of the world shows 20 degrees F (-6 degrees C) and 60% chance of snow.
The cabin is about 1.5 hours from my home. We got about 6 hours of work done—each, of course. We engaged in maybe ten minutes of conversation, other than the opening-and-closing-the-cabin routines (lights, heat, water pump, water shutoff, fuse box, lock-up). Within the cabin (which I think might incorporate more square feet than my house), we each had our own working area, and could move around if we wanted: table, reading chair, whatever. I stayed put at the kitchen table.
We were testing out the location as a possible site for a several-day writing retreat later in the season. Except that we need to take a few extra warm bits of clothing and some portable, brighter lights, it worked really well. I completed one task (start to finish, 3.5 hours); made good progress on a large job that's been on my plate for months (1.5 hours); and started some reading about publication design templates that could increase my efficiency on future work (.5 hour). (The extra .5 hour was the brief chat, boiling water for tea, and having a bit of lunch.)
I've always wanted to get away to a writing colony for a span of focused creative work. I've never been able to figure out how to handle the financial and practical logistics of doing that. Even shorter blocks of time are really hard to (1) find and (2) protect. This brief escape worked beautifully. Except that I want MORE.
Maybe even a hike or two as well.