Kate Emmerson breezed onto our screen all the way from Greece as our guest for our Book Writers’ Mastermind. After this author of five books turned her laptop screen around for us to see the gentle ocean view with waters flanked by orange hues from the setting sun, I’d wager more than one of our group was ready to pack their bags and escape the rat race.
As the author of “Write Your Book in 100 Days” and “10 Lessons for Living #LocationFree” this coordinator of several writing retreats was the ideal candidate to share her insights on finishing that book so many authors speak about, but seldom follow through with. Life gets busy and without a plan, our dreams of writing can fall victim to a life of multitasking.
Early in the meeting, we discussed author Tim Ferris, who had inspired a few people in the group about living borderless lives. Besides the chitchat about what shapes our thinking, Kate shared some of her non-negotiables about writing.
Top of the list was without a doubt keeping your writing time scared and setting a deadline.
Whether you join a physical writing retreat like the one she holds in Greece or whether you are creating the space at home, when you have booked a writing slot, put your phone away, switch off from the world and just write.
A number of the already published authors in the group agreed that their quality of work during these uninterrupted hours surpasses what they were able to achieve in a disjointed pocket of writing time.
Kate works with a traditional publisher and believes in the power of deadlines. She will even bring her deadline forward by a month before the publisher’s deadline, just to make sure she is honouring an internal deadline. Kate encouraged authors to set deadlines for each of their sessions, no matter where they are writing.
From the magical island of Greece to the East African coast of Kenya, Kate and her partner Sarah Bullen, who is a writing coach, storyteller, author and literary agent, organise writing retreats that help authors switch off from technology and create a sacred space for writing.
Parents who joined this mastermind, even got a few welcoming tips such as pairing up with other writers who have kids and alternating when the children will be at each other’s homes, allowing a writer a few hours of uninterrupted writing time. Based on the reviews on Amazon for Kate and Sarah Bullen’s co-authored the book “Write your Book in 100 Days: Stop Mucking About & Just Write your Book!’ they know what it takes to get that book done.
Our group meeting was conversational with members sharing tips on what works for them, which added a refreshing element of collaborative learning.
Kate shared other practicalities, which include preparing your space. Ensure that you plan snacks that help your brain to be fully operational, keep hydrated and dress comfortably. She makes agreements with those close to her. This writing powerhouse will only switch on her cell once a day to check on important messages and let the world at large know what will be unavailable for the duration of her retreat.
Kate and her partner also run virtual retreats, where groups of authors set up for a few days to write. Together, checking in on each other hourly. While Kate is a firm believer in accountability partners, she cautions these relationships must be chosen carefully. If your partner regularly lets you off the hook and buys into your excuses is probably not the best partner for you.
So if you are simply tired of finding reasons not to write your next book, then a writer’s retreat may be just the thing for you.
You can connect with Kate via LinkedIn.