What do you think of when you hear the term “writing retreat?” Let’s analyze it a bit.
From a purely analytical, grammatically minded perspective, it’s a concept or construction made up of two words: “writing” and “retreat.”
Simple enough, right? And it remains pretty easy to understand when we delve into a deeper definition of the term. A writing retreat is a time and place where writers get to go indulge their stereotypically introverted selves along with a bunch of other stereotypically introverted individuals who have the same exact goals: to largely be left alone to write.
Oh, there will be sessions and gatherings and mingling: opportunities to learn and grow and network and just generally enjoy like-minded company. But overall, writing retreats are weeks or weekends when writers seclude themselves for the sole purpose of getting words down on paper.
Or you can look at them this way…
When you just want to get away and write, this is for you. Writing retreats offer the opportunity to get away from your responsibilities and distractions, and just get down the pages you otherwise wouldn’t work on.
Relaxing environments. Encouraging instructions. Fellow writers. What’s not to love?
Plus, food should be included, and room and board. So all you need to worry about is showing up with yourself and your writing utensils.
If that sounds like a nice idea, think again. Nice doesn’t come close to covering it when you find the perfect writing retreat for you. And considering how many of these events are out there, there is almost doubtlessly one available to suit your particular personality.
Are you a mountain person? Do you love the crisp outdoor air, complete with a warm blanket and a cup of hot chocolate or chicken noodle soup?
Then imagine being snuggled up on an open porch or inside a lodge with the fire roaring in front of you. You’ve got your chamomile tea on one side and your writing instruments in your lap. It’s the perfect setting for your words to just flow from your fingertips onto your keyboard, tablet or notebook.
You’re really writing!
If that’s not your ideal happy place, don’t sweat it. We can just as easily find something far, far away from the chilly mountain air. Like the beach.
Are you a sand and shore kind of person? Do you find utter inspiration in the smell of salt air and the sound of crashing waves?
In that case, imagine sitting atop a third-story deck with your sunglasses on and your sunscreen slathered, letting your head clear of all your 9 to 5 stuff. Nine to 5 doesn’t exist at writing retreats. Only your writer’s psyche and writer’s productivity levels matter.
(And writer’s appetite. That’s important too.)
Care to go more exotic still? There are writing retreats at spa resorts and hot-spot vacation locales that you might want to check out. Though those, naturally, are going to cost more.
Oops. Did I forget to mention cost before this point? In that case, that’ll be the subject matter of Thursday’s Challenge. We’ll broach that aspect of writing retreats… and whether they’re really worth it or not.
[Editor's Note: The entirely worthwhile, all-expense include Genuine Writing Retreat is officially scheduled at the tiny cabin community in Deep Creek Lake, MD for May 11-13! Be prepared for good food, great company and plenty of writing time – and space – to become the writer you know you can be. Sign up today while spots still exist!]