Packing Lightly for a Writing Retreat
To avoid having to pay for and wait for checked baggage, I decided to only bring carry-on luggage on my trip, so that meant that there was no space for unnecessary items. And since I’d planned a do-it-yourself writing retreat and hadn’t decided yet which projects and exercises I’d be working on, I had several books I wanted to take.
Since books are heavy and take up space, I decided to limit myself to just two. So on the morning I was leaving, I lined up all the books I wanted to bring, and started thumbing through them one at a time, hoping it would somehow become obvious which ones should go along, and which ones should stay home.
The winners were a 33-page paperback of creative writing activities, and a novel I am currently engrossed in.
Here’s what happened. I thumbed through each book, and as I saw an interesting page of inspiration, information or writing exercises, I took a picture of it with my tablet’s camera. Just like that, I’d “packed” my books.
Then I found some particularly quiet music that helped me concentrate and uploaded that to my tablet as well.
I made an attempt to find a certain writing and journalling book on my library’s website, but it was already checked out. I’ll plan ahead for that sort of thing next time.
Because I actually prefer to write longhand–mainly because I can’t see the screen on my tablet when I’m outside–I had 3 spiral notebooks I wanted to bring. One was my journal, another was my writing exercises and the third was my Bible notes. But I happened upon a spiral binder at the dollar store which had moveable dividers, so I ended up saving space by having only one notebook.
Next came another choice: which of my projects to bring along to work on. Sigh, more heavy paper. But the tablet was serving me well, so maybe I could load these on the tablet too. It was almost time to leave for the airport, so in the time crunch, it was convenient and quick to put them all on–2 complete novels and many other short pieces–and I could decide on the plane which ones to work on.
While I was at it, I added my boarding pass (because what if I lost my printout?), a sheet of password hints (just in case I needed to do some banking?), and some hotel and tourist information–all of the printed copies of which I could now leave at home.
Would I have time to do some sketching? I slipped a few sheets of sketching paper in the handy pocket of my new spiral binder, and added a small pack of colored pencils to my suitcase.
In my ongoing love-hate relationship with technology, I must say this was certainly a positive bonding experience with my tablet!