Update on OnyxBelle Magazine+How to Create Your Own Creativity Retreat



Every step is a step toward my destiny, a step toward the life I was born to live. And yes, a baby step is still a step. That's pretty much how I'm feeling about the progress of my new, upcoming magazine, OnyxBelle Magazine. I've dreamed of starting a magazine since I was a little girl. This was always meant to be.

The open house tea was June 20th. So many beautiful, talented ladies showed up to support OnyxBelle, and so I'm having a virtual open house soon for anyone outside of NC ( or inside NC who couldn't make it to the open house tea) to learn about how they can be a part of OnyxBelle.

It can be frustrating to balance a full time job with entrepreneurship, as I have learned over these past weeks as I prepared for my open house. That's where creativity retreats come in. Sometimes you have to carve out time to accomplish your goals. Time will not be given to you. There will never be a "good time". You have to take time, rope it off for your goals, and enforce that people respect this time you've allocated for your goals. Here are some tips that may help as you plan your own creativity retreat (they're not just for writers).

1. Pick a space

This seems simple, but you need to think carefully about the space you choose to use during the time you've designated as creation time. It shouldn't be so uncomfortable that you can't focus on the tasks at hand, but it shouldn't be too comfortable since you'll naturally focus more on enjoying your surroundings and relaxing than getting work towards your goal done. Try a reasonably priced hotel room ( don't go too cheap...bedbugs!) or think of a friend of relative that won't mind letting you use their empty apartment or house during the day. Maya Angelou always retreated at a favorite hotel when she had a project to work on. Find your favorite place that brings out the best work in you.

2. Be careful about electronics

I'm much more attached to my phone and some of my other electronic gadgets than I'd like to admit. This is so much the case that I sometimes spend time I've allotted for working on projects scrolling through Instagram ( one of my two favorite social media platforms) or watching YouTube videos. I find that I seem to distract myself from my work, even if I enjoy it, if I'm anxious about how it will be received once it is done. I recognize that I am using technology as a way of not facing that reality, and when I catch myself, I stop and get back to work. It helps to limit the number of gadgets that you bring with you on your retreat so the temptation isn't there. If you must bring you laptop to type, try downloading the add-on LeechBlock for Firefox so that you can block the internet or tempting websites while you are trying to work. Remember that distractions rob you of the time you need to get closer to realizing your dreams, and the point of a creativity retreat is to limit those distractions as much as possible.

3. Be realistic about your schedule during your retreat

It can be tempting to create a long laundry list of items to complete during your retreat, but don't. You'll end up overwhelmed at all the work it seems that you have to do and frustrated when none or only a little of it gets done by the end of the retreat. Most people with full time jobs will only be able to afford to use weekends for retreats, so keep in mind that you should only plan tasks that can be completed in three days. Try to take a large goal or task, break it down into smaller chunks, and schedule each chunk for its own retreat. For example, if you are a novelist, you may want to focus on getting 1 or 2 chapters written by the end of your weekend retreat. Or, if you are starting a business, you may want to focus on getting 1 or 2 sections of your business plan done. If you think about the research and drafting that will be involved in the project, 1 to 2 chapters, sections, etc is about as much as you'll be able to do in a weekend. Once you've completed this small part of your project during your short retreat, you'll feel accomplished, and much closer to your overall goal.

4. Remember to take breaks to relax!

Although a retreat isn't necessarily a vacation, you'll still need to take some time to have a little fun. Trying to beat ideas out of yourself takes the joy out of what you are doing and it's pretty counterproductive. Go out to lunch or dinner with a friend, take a walk around your retreat site, go on a short shopping trip...do something to get your mind off of your project for just a little while. You'll come back refreshed and ready to get back to work with new ideas. Just make sure you don't take too much time during your breaks. This may make it hard for you to remember where you left off with your project.

Overall, enjoy your craft and enjoy the time that you've carved out for yourself to be immersed in your craft. You deserve it, and the world deserves the fruits of your creativity!

I'll post updates on OnyxBelle regularly...check out onyxbelle.com to sign up for email updates.

Interested in writing for OnyxBelle? Email submissions@onyxbelle.com for a copy of the submission guidelines.

Interested in an internship with OnyxBelle? Email nichole@onyxbelle.com for more information.

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