Taking a Writer's Retreat
Our host had planned retreats before so she had the details down. I thought I’d share her expertise for when you plan your writer’s retreat. (Yeah, you’re going to want a writer’s retreat of your very own by the time you finish reading this post!)
1. She planned the retreat for a no-school Friday so that we’d have from early Friday afternoon to Sunday morning. (Dad took the kids for a camping weekend. Isn’t that a swell Dad?). Of course, you don’t have to use a personal home; you can rent a mountain cabin or any quiet spot and split the rent.
2. She let us know what to bring: a pillow, laptops, cords, and any other supplies we needed to write. We’d be eating out for a meal, but mostly eating in. So that meant we’d need to bring our favorite foods and beverages. (And P.S. We shared our bounty!)
3. Many of the writers arrived on Friday around the same time so we were able to gather and discuss what we were working on. Most had brought novel manuscripts, but one writer was working on a play, another a workshop presentation. Talk about great expectations! So it was time to establish the ground rules.
4. Turned out, we only needed one rule: During writing time, no talking. You didn’t have to write. You could take a walk, or take a shower, or take a call—you just had to do so quietly so as not to disturb the creative geniuses around you.
5. When we ate, or were on “break”, we talked our heads off—and a good deal of our talk centered on writing. It was a great opportunity to learn, get feedback, or work through stumbling blocks because there was so much writing experience ready and willing to help.
Honestly, I was flat wore out when I left. But I had three more chapters of my YA manuscript, and was itching to plug back into that novel when I got home. Plus, a handful of writers I knew had gone from acquaintances to friends I could call on for writing help.
Bet you’re already planning your writer’s retreat, right? (Told you so.)