Should You Go on a Writing Retreat?


Should you go on a writing retreat?

That depends on so many factors, including what gets you going and what inspires you to write.

If you’re one of those creatures who has the time, the inclination, the encouragement and the discipline to write right where you are, then perhaps you don’t need to go on a writing retreat.

That’s a serious statement.

There really are people out there who can set themselves a schedule and then stick to it without crying to sleep over their perceived lack of progress every evening. They do exist, though I couldn’t tell you the ratio of such writers to those who struggle more.

Whether you’re the former or the latter is both understandable and acceptable. Just as it’s acceptable to say that you feel most moved to write your best when you’re shut up in a snug hotel room all by yourself… or when you’re surrounded by other writers clacking away at their keyboard.

Is it the sight of crashing waves against the shore that does it for you? Or the sound of crickets in the twilight as you sit on the front porch of a tiny cabin?

There are so many writing sweet-spot possibilities. It’s just a matter of figuring out which one is yours.

Okay. That’s wonderful and all. But really... Should you go on a writing retreat?

I’d love to push you toward a solid “yes,” since I know Innovative Editing and Lia Mack’s upcoming Genuine Writer’s Retreat 2019 is going to be every bit as good as last year’s event.

But just because it’s going to be inspiring and informative doesn’t mean it’s what’s best for you. In short, if you’re going to attend a writing retreat, you should make sure it solidly suits you.

If you’re going to attend a writing retreat…

Make sure you’re signing up for a good one.

A good writing retreat isn’t just one that gives you proper time, space and motivation to boost your word count. Though clearly those are all important aspects, it doesn’t mean these kinds of events are automatically worth your time and money.

You’ll also want to consider exactly how much money they’re asking from you (some can be extremely expensive), how inspirational the location will or won’t be for you, what they do and do not cover cost-wise, and what presentations they’ll include, if any.

Of those qualifiers, “Can you afford it?” should be the most prominent question. So, for

the record, The Genuine Writer’s Retreat 2019 is no more than $500 per person.

That’s about as cheap as you’re going to get for a worthwhile, you-get-your-own-room-at-a-bed-and-breakfast kind of writing retreat.

But maybe you can legitimately afford more. Or maybe you don’t mind roughing it out in the woods in shared cabin space.

The possibilities are open. It’s up to you to narrow it down.

I don’t mean to sound like Smokey the Bear with the segment header above. But there aren’t many more ways to state this very important fact… It really is up to you.

So here’s a quick questionnaire to consider when deciding if you should go on a writing retreat:

  1. Can you afford it?

  • If you can, keep reading.

  • If you can’t, you’ve got your answer.

  1. Do you need an extra writing insight or encouragement?

  • If you do, keep reading.

  • If you don’t, keep reading anyway – there might still be reason to go.

  1. Do you like to just get away to write and relax for kicks and giggles every once in a while?

  • If you do, why not go on a writing retreat? Seriously?

  • If you don’t, then perhaps you just need a writing coach. Or you don’t need anything more than you already have.

Whatever ultimate decision you come to, just make sure that it’s the right one for you.

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