Wicked Wednesday–Tips for a Great Writing Retreat

Jessie: My best tip for making the most of a writing retreat is to have a word count goal and then to use the energy of the group to create momentum for yourself toward that end. A retreat is by nature an extraordinary experience and it feels easier somehow to accomplish extraordinary things with your wok. So set a goal you think will be difficult but not impossible to achieve and then run at it headlong. I bet you’ll surprise yourself.

IMG_3402Julie: Our OOB retreat was my first, so my tip is–DO IT! Of course there are caveats. I suspect that our retreat worked well because we were all writing mysteries, had this blog to tie us together, and were in different but similar stages of writing. And that we all like and respect one another. I actually reflected on the retreat on another blog, and had six reasons it worked. I am still energized by this group, and amazed at the support.

Edith: I’ve done several solo writing retreats and two group ones. My tip is to turn off the internet and just go. When I do that I can push out word count at night and in the afternoon, when I am usually not creative, as well as in the morning when I normally write. Once I wrote 10000 words in three days! Butt in the chair, fingers on the keyboard, and write. It totally works.

IMG_3377Liz: I agree with Julie – getting there is half the battle. But my tip would be to turn off the internal editor and just word dump. Shutting off that little voice that repeatedly says, “This is terrible!” is easier said than done, but you’re bigger than it is. Tell it to get lost. Get all the words on the page while you have the time and creativity and support at your disposal, and then go back and fix it later. You’ll be amazed at how much you can churn out.

Barb: What I love about our group writing retreats is being among people who just “get it.” They understand my daily life and my goals. There’s not a lot of filling in or backing up or reframing to do. So that’s what I would say. Gather up like-minded souls whom you respect as writers and as people and the words will flow!

Sherry: Setting some ground rules is important to a successful retreat. One of our rules was when entering a room where someone is working if they didn’t look up don’t start talking to them. Being a social person and very happy to be around writing friends this rule worked very well for me. Sitting in a room where I could write and see someone sigh, pause and then start writing again and another fist pumping and then start typing again was pure bliss.

What are your tips for a great writing retreat? Have you joined a group at a getaway? Rented a hotel room for a weekend to crank some word count?

7 Thoughts

  1. Sherry’s comment applies to the world outside of retreats as well. At work. At home. In a restaurant. Wherever. If I do not look up and engage, please just let me be.

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  2. I like solo writing retreats. When my sister and her husband leave town for a week or so, I go to their place in Toronto and have the place to myself. Plus there’s a coffee shop nearby I can spend a few hours at my laptop. Another time I stayed at a hostel for a week and wrote.

    I’d love to get into a writing colony where you get your own space, meals and no interruptions for 2 weeks. A retreat with like minded writers would be nice to try too.

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    1. GK Parker – great idea to use your sister’s place. I (Edith) did the same when some friends went away over the New Year’s Eve/day holiday. I fed their cat and had a big house to myself. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I haven’t had the time to attend a writers’ retreat, but perhaps one of these days. I fear I might get too distracted by the company — I need total focus and total isolation. There’s just no substitute for what one editor calls “asses in the seat.” And at the end of the day . . . hmmmm . . . a massage . . . a nice bottle of wine?

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    1. I’d highly recommend Seascape if you ever decide to go, Connie! There is time to reflect, time to learn and time to socialize. Granted I didn’t get much sleep but I figure I can always sleep later! I’m always intrigued by Edith’s “alone” retreats — I may have to try that some day and with your suggestions of a massage and wine!

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