It was very simple. Time was spent writing and researching. We met for breakfast and lunch at a restaurant in the designated retreat area and then dispersed. Some worked in groups, some worked alone. The weather was nice, except for a mid-afternoon thunderstorm. As the hostess, I waited it out, in case anyone else arrived. Everyone else in the group had gone home before the storm hit.
The location was convenient. We were able to move about on foot, enjoying the weather and people watching. Work areas were abundant, but most used the public library and a restaurant as places to write and or research. I spent some time on a bench outside, watching a family play in a water fountain. I also went for a walk.
The retreat lasted for several hours. Perhaps next time it will be longer. Dinner might be an option. Maybe dinner and a movie, as there is a theater nearby. It could be shorter, but mid-afternoon might be a nice ending time.
What goals did we accomplish? Everyone was able to get something done and all felt it was a great way to get away from the responsibilities of home and work and concentrate on writing. We agreed to do this again.
I did not keep track of how much time I wrote. Everyone spent time outside and inside writing, talking and eating. There were no rules, other than to try to avoid social media, email and phone calls.
As far as social activities, we spent time talking in small groups. This occurred at breakfast and lunch. It was a great way to discuss whatever topic we wanted to talk about.
Some people brought laptops, others had paper and pens. I placed three notebooks and a book on the craft of writing in a tote bag. I wanted to be computer free for the day. I did not miss my laptop or my e-reader!
Everyone dressed casually and for comfort. Some wore jogging suits, although I don’t think anyone did any jogging! I wore one of my writing-themed t shirts. I often get compliments and funny comments from others when I wear them.
The day went well, except for the thunderstorm, but the sunshine, blue skies and comfortable temperature made up for it. The time our writers group spent together and individually was productive and planning the event was worth the effort. We look forward to our next writing retreat.
Have you attended a writing retreat? What did you find to be the most helpful? If you have yet to attend one, I hope you are able to do so in the near future.
Debbie A. Byrne has a B.S. in Mass Communication with a minor in History. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and is working on her first children’s book.