What I learned on my first Writing Retreat

May 1, 2017

Most of my life I’ve lived as a self-proclaimed perfectionist and procrastinator with little remorse or understanding of how those poor habits would affect me. This made for a lot of frustration, mediocre papers and college gen-ed classes completed with little to no long-term knowledge to show for it.

Womp womp…Sadly I’m sure many of you can relate.

BUT as I’ve transitioned to the world of full-time entrepreneurship, I’ve learned more about myself and the habits I’ve used as a crutch than I ever expected. And BOY, am I grateful for it! Lemme tell ya…self-discovery does amazing things for productivity!! But that’s a topic for another day 😉

One hobby and joy of mine, that has suffered as a result of my perfectionist procrastinator tendencies, is my love for writing. As a wedding photographer, blogging, although enjoyable, was the first task to be dropped off the list and until recently, I haven’t made writing a priority in my life. The saddest part is that I actually really love to write!

My elementary age self worked a hard side-hustle after school and on weekends writing a family newsletter, featuring our last name and the 4-inch thick Canon laptop I used. For real, though, that thing was a dinosaur!!

I named it… The Allen Canon News. *insert jazz hands*

Creative naming, right? 😉

Nevertheless, 27-year-old-me could learn a little something from that inspired little girl working hard and making time to do something she loved.

So, this year, my also-ambitious-husband and I decided to make writing a priority in our life, and we planned our first two-day writing retreat!

We spent a little less than 48 hours in a quaint cabin in the woods, and we wrote our hearts out.

Well, sorta. 😉 Mark spent a fair amount of time mastering the art of fire-building, and we also slept in later than planned.

But you know what? We got. work. DONE! I made it way over halfway in a workbook I’m writing (stay tuned!) and Mark wrote 4000 words of his BOOK! Yep, my hottie husband is writing a book. Aren’t we adorbs? 😉

So – in light of this first venture into the world of intentional, extended writing time, I wanted to share what I learned this weekend on our very first writing retreat!

1. Writing is like a muscle

Because I haven’t written much over the past few years it takes some time to really get into a “groove.” BUT I found that it’s important to push through the mental blocks and keep going. Like strengthening and training a muscle, the more you write, the better you get.

2. You NEED a crappy first draft

Enter that terrible perfectionist habit… Most of the papers I wrote in high school and college took me FOREVER because I would edit as I wrote every. single. sentence. Maybe I ignored it (because you know, when you’re young you know everything LOL), but I can’t remember anyone ever telling me that I needed to start with a crappy first draft. I’m talking just writing, no judging, no deleting, no editing, basically just incomprehensible strings of words that barely pass as sentences. For some reason I thought I was less talented if I had multiple drafts. But THAT is just a lie. All great writers start somewhere, even with a crappy first draft.

3. Imposter Syndrome is a real feeling, but it’s a lie

Writing for the public comes with quite the roller coaster of emotions. Am I actually qualified to talk about this? Will So-and-so think I’m dumb when they read this? Who am I to give advice? So-and-so already wrote on this topic…do I actually have anything else to say? When you first make the decision to write, whether it be a blog post, a book, even an Instagram post, you will doubt yourself. I think it’s important to start the process already recognizing that at some point, you’re going to want to throw in the towel and assume that someone else will write the same thing, but they’ll write it better. But the TRUTH is, there’s just about nothing completely unique or new under the sun. But you know what is unique? You. Yep, YOU! Your story, your experiences, your worldview, your heart…is 100% unique to you, which means that you have something to say.

4. It’s time to start scheduling your priorities

This one is simple, but monumental. What do you find yourself saying you wish you had more time to do? What hobby or long-lost talent has been buried in your closet waiting for revival? Do you like to write like me? Whatever it is, it’s time we stop blaming our busy schedules and start scheduling in what’s most important to us.


So, here’s to my fellow writer-wannabe’s and dreamers struggling to overcome imposter syndrome. Your story matters and your gifts were meant to be used. Let’s make our dreams a priority this month.

Goals and dreams mean even more when you speak or write them out loud. Tell me, friend – what do you need to start scheduling into your calendar? I want to cheer you on!!

  1. Catie

    May 3rd, 2017 at 5:26 am

    Love this! The 2nd one is what my sweet husband tells me all the time. “You just need to start and have something to work with! Then you can think about it and make it better! But you have to have something to start with!”

    I have started writing in the morning and stopped doing the little things that soak up my time. I will delay getting dressed because I will pull out my computer to write after my reading time. It helps to get that hour in in the morning because I can come back in the afternoon and edit my crappy draft (much more happily if I am honest!).

    Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  2. vduvick

    May 3rd, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    YES!! So true – so simple – yet whyyyy does it seem so difficult?! 😉 😉 Love your morning/afternoon routine!!

  3. Britt Hyatt

    May 3rd, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    LOVE this! Especially the part about imposter syndrome and the “Am I actually qualified to talk about this?” — I feel like this when I’m putting together e-courses, especially! Such a great post!

  4. vduvick

    May 3rd, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Thanks Britt!! YES – the syndrome is strong with education! But thankful for the ones who push through it!! 😀

  5. Chelsea

    May 3rd, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    I love this post! Thanks for the story it is encouraging to keep writing. I can definitely relate to most of the things you said. 🙂

  6. vduvick

    May 3rd, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Thanks girl!! Definitely keep at it! 🙂 🙂

  7. Kelly

    May 3rd, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    Cheers to following our dreams! No imposters here! Great article (and I love your style).

  8. vduvick

    May 3rd, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Thaaaank youuuu!!! 😀 😀

  9. Jana

    May 3rd, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Thank you for this, I needed it! Keep it up!

  10. vduvick

    May 3rd, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    So glad to hear!!

  11. Caileigh (Odds + Ends Creative)

    May 3rd, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    Writing is totally a muscle. It needs exercise but it also can get “pulled” aka burnt out. You go girl!

  12. vduvick

    May 3rd, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    Ooh yes – that’s a great point!!

  13. Rachel

    May 18th, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    I resonate well with the procrastination and imposter syndrome – they’re effects on me, no more! This post truly inspired me. I caught myself thinking, this is exactly what I’d say if I wrote this post, and so my heart has connected with your voice. Keep writing. You have an ease about it I can tell. You have a G-O-D G-I-V-E-N talent! Amen!

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