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Saturday, January 28, 2017


What is it about a writing retreat that makes us so productive?
Is it the creative energy in the house? 
Knowing other people are writing away (and you should be too)? 
Or is it because you left behind ____ (fill in your own blank) and you better make use of the time?

So what is a writing retreat? Basically, you go…away and write. 
A retreat can be an organized event someone else arranges, an off-season rental house with friends, or an inexpensive hotel room where you hole up and stash energy bars in your computer case.
A writing retreat isn’t everyone’s idea of fun. When my friends ask what I did while I was away for the weekend, I shrug and say, “I wrote.”
They’re mystified. They can’t fathom why I leave home to do that, when I have an office and a computer in my own house. Then again they also don’t have any idea that, when I say, “I wrote,” I mean I wrote eight plus hours a day. I wrote over 12,000 words on a new story. (Of course, they also can’t understand why I’d want to spend eight hours a day writing.)
But the point is, I can’t be that focused at home.
Unlike a writing conference, which can be wonderful in a different way, the point of a writing retreat isn’t classes or meeting editors and agents. Although, the group I go away with has shared marketing ideas and…maybe I should back up a bit.

Way back in 2008, a group of women from the Pacific Northwest finalled in the Golden Heart—and formed a bond based first on writing and then on friendship. Every year since then, we’re gotten together over the long Martin Luther King weekend for a writing retreat. While there’s tons of writing, there’s also laughter and stories, Courtney Milan’s lessons on branding, Rebecca Clark’s yoga sessions and Rachel Grant’s chocolate martinis.

I’m halfway through a new story, with most of the remaining scenes blocked out. I haven’t a clue about the title or cover. Hmm… wonder what the women are doing this weekend?

Have you ever been on a writing retreat? What do you think is the best part?


Anne Marie Becker said...

I've participated in a couple writing retreats over the past two years and LOVE them. I try to do one a year now, if I can. It's amazing how getting away for a few days to think about nothing but writing really frees up the creative energy.

Marcelle Dubé said...

It's been a while since I've done a writing retreat, but oh my goodness, I remember them fondly. All that focused time dedicated to writing, with no children banging on your door, or housework calling to you... And the company of other like-minded people. Heaven.

jean harrington said...

No, I haven't been on a writing retreat, but it sounds like a wonderful thing to do. I'll have to add it to my bucket list. Seriously.

Dee J. said...

It's been years since I've been on one. Oh, how I loved that last retreat! Got so much done! It was just writing, food, drink and writing. Not necessarily in that order. I highly recommend them.

Cathy Perkins said...

Clearly all y'all need to put a writing weekend on your calendar!

Hmm... am I hearing the first annual NYUS Writing Weekend?

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