By their very definition, writing retreats are designed to give you the time and space you need to write. Not by very definition (but typically included anyway), there might even be some guidance involved.
That alone makes them worthwhile for some poets, short story creators, novelists and other writers. It’s time and space away from the kiddos, the spouses, the work and all the other intensely necessary yet oh-so time-consuming individuals and responsibilities.
Not to mention the not-so-necessary time-consuming stuff.
Plus, hey! Who doesn’t like being situated in a scenic setting surrounded by other writers with the same situations as you? Take a second to close your eyes and imagine it...
The welcoming old mansion just filled with historical stories to tell.
The sweeping staircases that remind you you’re far away from home and all its distractions.
The quaint little courtyards outside where you can feel the sun shining down on you and the breeze whispering the next words your manuscript needs into your ear.
And, if you’re Italian like I am, there’s the food: the all-you-can-eat bed and breakfast buffet, the Friday night pizza enjoyed as you get to know your fellow writing retreaters, Sophie’s Crepes down the road that makes the most delicious savory or sweet concoctions you could ever hope to have.
That’s all awesome. Particularly Sophie’s Crepes.
Seriously. You have no idea how good those things are until you try them. And it’s right around the corner from Gibson’s Lodgings of Annapolis, where this year’s Genuine Writer’s Retreat will be held.
But there’s another big benefit to going to a writing retreat. At least there should be.
Tuesday’s post was titled “The Real Purpose of a Writing Retreat Goes Beyond Just Writing.” And it had this to say about the subject:
“Wherever you go for your writing retreat and however much you pay, you need to expect to leave encouraged. If you don’t leave encouraged, you didn’t get your money’s worth.”
Truer words about writing retreats have never been written. Until now. This week’s Writing Rule takes that truth and defines it even further.
Because it isn’t just encouragement and inspiration in the moment that you should be looking for and expecting. It’s encouragement well after you’ve packed up your things and headed back home to all those wonderful responsibilities of yours.
The best writing retreats will keep you writing long after you’ve gone back home.
Whether it’s held at the beach or up in the mountains, with a small group or large group, famous authors or less well-known gems, a truly great writing retreat is one that will draw you right into the writing world you’ve been trying to embrace. Better yet, it won’t let you go even after you leave your rustic cabin or quaint little bed and breakfast room. You’ve now got that first or second wind you needed to head toward the finish line.
The people you go with or meet are meant to remind you that you can do this.
That holds for your fellow attendees and your instructors. It also holds true for your setting. And, yes my fellow Italian friends out there, even the food.
That kind of long-lasting encouragement is the real reason why writing retreats should exist.
Whatever you do, accept no substitutes.