A Writer’s Retreat with No Writing?

Simone Keelah Brathwaite
3 min readDec 1, 2023

A lesson in feeling bad about feeling bad

Photo by Anna Hecker on Unsplash

I have grand visions of what my writing days could look like. One of those visions includes me at a private resort. I imagine sitting on a patio, by the pool’s edge, or near a firepit — words somersaulting out of my mind onto the page. So, when my friend invited me to San Diego for her daughter’s birthday, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to turn those fantasies into reality. I’d go early, stay in a resort close to the party, and make some real progress on my script rewrites. Or so I thought.

The day before the party, I packed up my hatchback and headed south. Yes, the dog virus making its rounds necessitated that I travel with my dog, Cash— but hey, it’d be a cute bonding weekend for us. Sure, I found myself in stop-and-go traffic on the 5 — all good, this is what playlists are for. Okay, my stomach was rumbling when I arrived at the hotel — no worries, I’ll check in and find some food. Alright, my early wake-up call and traffic-exacerbated lethargy are catching up to me — fine, I’ll put on The Office and take a nap.

At 7pm, I woke up from said nap and STILL was not in the mood for words. So, I left the room again, this time to walk Cash, who had long been begging for attention, and to inject caffeine into my system via an espresso martini (I reasoned that alcohol is good for writing). With my computer out of sight, I gladly sat by the fire pit, listened to live music, and struck up conversations with strangers — anything to get my mind away from the one thing I knew I “should” be doing.

By this point, it should be no surprise that when I got back to my room around 10pm, I had zero intentions of writing. This awareness — that I had spent money and wasted time in efforts to write yet did not write — induced a feeling of regret, frustration, and disappointment.

So many creatives have been here before. I have way too many times to count. Whether it’s siphoning off the space to work, only to end up not working or doing too little work. Or spending countless hours trying to create the perfect work conditions to only dawdle away time that would be better spent creating. Sometimes it’s procrastination, other times it’s burnout. Regardless of what it is, the art of not doing work creates a dissonance within us.

--

--

Simone Keelah Brathwaite

A self-proclaimed freedom chaser who writes about self-development, spirituality, relationships, & black folx thangs. Sign up for updates www.SimoneKeelah.com.