Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Writing Retreat Part Two

A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about planning a writing retreat. Last Saturday, the writing retreat was held. Several members of the writers group I belong to attended.

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.

Happy writing!

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.





Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

I'm glad you shared your writers' conference experience. Too many people think they're just giant writing classes but they offer so many more opportunities to writers. I dededicated a whole section in my The Frugal Book Promoter for making them work for writers in a myriad of ways. http://bit.ly/FrugalBookPromo.

Unknown said...

Did a long comment and Google swallowed it again. To add insult to injury, after pressing the publish button, it flashed a red "comment should not be empty" message.
Debbie, congratulations on what sounds like a marvellous day. I did do a retreat once but was a pretty poor participant. I did more soaking up the atmosphere than writing and just hated sharing aloud in the evening.

Karen Cioffi said...

Debbie, how interesting. What a great way to connect with other writers - live. :)

I've never been on a writing retreat, maybe one day.

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

A few years back, I decided to have a writer's retreat all by myself, but I like your idea of have a local retreat with other writers.


Debbie A Byrne said...

Thank you for your comments. I have problems posting too. Oh well. And yes, I think it's a good idea to get together with others for a retreat. You can bounce ideas off each other, get help with writers block, etc.

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