Why Retreat?

As you might have noticed, we are back from a rejuvenating writing retreat in the Colorado Rockies.  It was beautiful and inspiring.  Our group originally met when we were randomly assigned together in a critique group at a conference, so it was especially fun to listen to each other read from our new WIPs and to see how far we've all come since that first meeting nearly two years ago.

We talked about Artist's Dates a few weeks back, and I think of a weekend writing retreat as the ultimate Artist's Date. We went as a group, so it probably doesn't count, but we had plenty of opportunity to commune with nature and indulge our creative sides.

A writing retreat may be just what you need to:

1.  Break up your routine.

Everyone needs a break from the daily grind now and then, and writers are no exception.  It's amazing how taking yourself away from your own work area can shake up your perspective, and give you a new outlook on your writing.  When you come back, your work space will be familiar, but no longer stale, and you'll be surprised at how much you have to think about things you usually do subconsciously.  Thinking is good. 

2.  Change your surroundings

A new view can give you a whole new outlook, and when that view is of the gorgeous Rocky Mountain scenery, you can't help but be inspired. Writing in a mountain cabin is really cool.  If you can't get to the mountains, try a beach, or just take your laptop out on the patio for an al fresco writing session.  It's not just about breaking routine, it's about experiencing a new setting, and finding details that you can incorporate into your work. 

3.  Get You Writing

If the change in setting and routine doesn't get you writing, the scheduled work blocks of time and peer pressure will.  One of the great things about out retreat, was that we blocked out time when everyone was working, and set times in the evening to read and critique each others' work.  If being in a room with four other productive writers wasn't enough to get me working, knowing I needed to have something to read at the end of the day was.  I knew I needed to get writing on a sequel to my paranormal, and I used the retreat as a springboard to get past the blank page and start writing.

4.  Just say No to Guilt

Writing a novel may be the greatest time suck ever invented.  Throw in creating a web presence, social networking, agent and editor research, marketing, submissions, and reading, and it's easy to feel guilty about all the things you're not doing (like housework, shopping, playing with your dog, talking to your family).  Yes, there will be guilt associated with taking a weekend just for your writing.  But once you're there, you'll be able to write without seeing the dirty dishes in the sink, hearing the dryer beep, or listening to the pathetic squeak that accompanies the Saint Bernard chewing on his stuffed bumblebee.

5.  Be Inspired

Nothing is more inspiring than surrounding yourself with like-minded writers, listening to their own struggles and then reading their amazing work.  The Muses all have unique writing voices, but each one is special in its own way.  Good work is always nice to read, but it's even more inspiring is seeing the work evolve and grow, until it becomes something great.

6.  Talk Books

I love to talk books and writing.  I love to listen to talk about books and writing.  Not only do I get ideas for books to read, I get to, well, talk books.

7.  Make Personal Connections

We communicate via email all the time, but there's no substitute for face to face contact.  A writing retreat with other writers provides a wonderful opportunity to get to know other writers better and build your support network.

8.  Learn to Love the Process

The exciting thing about writing, critiquing and writing again, is that you can see your work getting better as you go through the process.  Writing, revising, and revising again are all part of the process.  A writing retreat with a critique component can help to remind you how much you really do love what you do.


Such great tips. I'm amazed at how positive simply choosing a new writing/revising spot in my house has been for me lately. Really does work to shuffle things up a bit.

These ARE great tips. I was trying to pick a favorite, but I can't.

May Silver be Gold!

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