Travel has inspired many writers and books over the years, but you don’t need to hit the road permanently to enjoy all the benefits in your writing. Sometimes just an inspired few days is all it takes, which the right writing retreat can provide.
Writing retreats offer you new and unique places from where you can write, focus and be inspired by your surroundings, as well as by the people you will meet. Typically ranging anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks, writing retreats help you carve out the time you need to really re-energize your mind and your writing. So what are you waiting for?
Let’s take a closer look at the three key advantages of participating in a writing retreat.
Designed to bring together a small community of writers, writing retreats are an ideal place to meet like-minded people embarking on their own writing journeys. Everyone is there to learn, write and grow.
Writing retreats serve as a space apart where you can share, socialize and learn from others in an environment of camaraderie.
Writing retreat programs may vary from very structured to very flexible, but almost all will have at least some scheduled activities like workshops, group writing sessions, meal times, social events and learning activities where you can spend some time in the company of your peers. Retreats may also have special guests, such as authors, agents, teachers and local guides, who can enrich your knowledge and conversations.
Who knows? After the writing retreat is over, you may have made some new friends and new writing buddies for life.
All vacations have the potential to be transformative experiences, but I’ve found that writing retreats, offering participants purposeful activities and social connections as well as the benefit of vacation-like amenities, are more likely to hit the mark.
Some writing retreats have themes, creating offerings for people of specific ages, interests, backgrounds, writing genres, etc., while other retreats are open to all writers, or even all types of artists and writers, drawing in a diverse mix of creative souls.
Writing retreats are often organized in idyllic settings, such as farm houses surrounded by fruit trees and vineyards, desert dwellings with privileged views of the sun and charming small towns located near the water. Retreats may also offer activities like nature walks, canoeing, yoga classes, painting, horseback riding and meditation sessions. Like summer camp for adults, but better, and available in both rustic and luxury versions.
Writing retreats for English-language writers are available all over the world, from Arizona to Iowa to New York and Ireland to Spain to Indonesia. The choices allow you to travel as little or as much as you want in order to participate in a potentially life-changing event.
In addition, writing retreats can be vacation-like in other crucial aspects, with meals and laundry service often included, allowing you to just relax and focus on yourself and your writing.
You didn’t think I was going to forget the actual writing, did you? Writing retreats offer you the time, space and help you need to write and to grow as a writer.
Many writing retreats offer writing workshops directed by patient, experienced writer-teachers and attended by a variety of writers, like you. Workshops might focus on specific topics, like writing better dialogue or finishing your book, or else take a wider view on the general craft of writing. During the workshops, teachers will encourage you to read, write and discuss various works, including your own, and you will have the opportunity to learn from the other writers present.
In addition, writing retreats provide plenty of scheduled and unscheduled writing time, as well as free time that you can use for more writing time if you choose. Writing retreats typically offer a variety of comfortable places that you can write from, which, depending on the specific retreat, might include overstuffed chairs in front of a roaring fire, private desk areas overlooking a lake and long tables on a sun-filled patio. In such surroundings, inspiration will typically have a way of finding you.
As you can see, writing retreats can provide the right atmosphere for inspiration and the writing assistance you’re looking for, but without the long commitment of a writing residency.
Have I given you some ideas? Let me know in the comments below if you think a writing retreat could be good for you and your writing too.
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