I just returned from the best writers' retreat. As I said on Facebook, we could easily have called it a foodies' retreat.
As with any gathering, the fellowship over food--writing, art, or whatever--is fed by shared love of something. For us, it was love of books, learning, reading, thinking, and accepting. By baring our souls through open critique, we discovered things about writing, others, and ourselves we either didn't know or that we needed to remember.
Writing and cooking alongside like-minded friends opened all manner of doors. One of our members didn't learn to read until her mid-twenties. We celebrated the sale of her second published short story in 2013. Another of us, a multi-published author, was stuck on her current WIP and needed to brainstorm.
Cool swag didn't hurt. Neither did a great game we played. Special prizes and gift bags. Coffee and conversation. The freedom to spend 48+ hours sans makeup, undies for some, and release of mundane stress...all combined to form a unique experience.
It struck me as we congregated on the wide deck one night, eating our Walking Tacos and self-made Ice-Cream In A Bag, that we are each in competition with ourselves, not with one another. Maybe that's why writerly functions are special to us.
Conferences are for networking, writer biz, and expanding our odds for publication. Retreats, on the other hand, increase our odds of connecting with our stories, which we need before we tend to the goals we set for conferences. Just my 2 cents.
May the Muses be with us all.
Ice-Cream In A Bag
2 sizes Ziplock Bags--quart & gallon
1/2 cup milk
1 & 1/2 T sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
whatever toppings or extras (chocolate chips, syrup, sprinkles, M&Ms)
6 T salt (rock salt works best)
2 trays of ice or equivalent per gallon bag
Smaller bag with food stuffs
Larger bag with ice & salt
Then...Crank out the music then shake your booty for 10-15 minutes. Voila!