|Writing Retreat! |
I just got back from a Writing Retreat, my first, and I thought I’d throw my thoughts here.
There were five of us. I was the only male, and there was only one younger than me. None of us are doing NaNoWriMo, so this was full-on writing, not prepping/planning. All of us are published: 3 self, 1 trad (me), one both.
The location was a shack down the coast, 90 mins from where I live. No Internet (except phones), we had electricity, the nearest town was a 1 1/2 km away, but closer to 2 km by road. Two bedrooms; two older women shared the double bed, the rest of us had a single. A small kitchen, a huge living room. A large deck out the back, a verandah out the front. A TV that we ignored. We also decided no alcohol.
We had rules. We got there at 1pm-ish on Saturday, had a little while to settle, then we had to write until tea. If we needed music, only with headphones. We had pizza, then wrote again until 9. Then we each had 5-10 minutes to share our writing. Write again, or bed.
Writing, by the way, could be anything. A series of poems, short stories, a longer work, a mixture, whatever. But nothing professional or academic, because of the way the weekend was structured.
Next day (Sun) was ours (still no TV). Walk, relax, chat to others, whatever, but writing had to be done. Got our own meals for the day. Tea was takeaway again, & after tea, we each had 15 minutes to share some of our writing. Night was ours again.
Next day, today, (Mon: it’s a public holiday here), we met as a group at 9am. Then each person was given a 30 minute mentoring session (3 went over, mine under). It was worked on by everyone, then we had a break and hit the next person. We were done by 2pm, went for a walk on the beach, then left.
I managed to get 12,000 words written. The most was 15,000, the least was just under 5,000. But we all got a lot done. The collegiate atmosphere was enhanced by the alone time. It was very pleasant, but we were all of a similar attitude towards what we were doing. I don’t think I’d want to go many more (maybe 6 would work?) because 5 seemed just about right; I have a feeling 4 would have been okay, but 3 would not have been enough.
While I would not want to do it all the time, as an occasional thing, I thoroughly recommend it. If you can organise something like this, or get invited, and think you can work with the people involved, go for it. I think it was a great idea.
Writing retreat – thumbs up.