Retreats and Mentoring in Writing Part 9 of 15

It’s pretty amazing what happens when people want to join a writing group. To all who are new, welcome there is plenty of time to add comments on your thoughts on writing and writing groups. See the Mentoring Challenge post for the rules.

Tomorrow there will be a guest blogger, Amber in Glass, whom many of you know. I’ll be guest blogging there so have no fear. He’ll be speaking on the topic of mentoring and his view on that… I can’t wait.

As for this post. I’m urging people to think about retreats in a different light. I love the concept of retreats and how this can help me improve.I’m referring to me, but it applies to everyone. The one feature an actually retreat is this, to get away from all the obstacles that slow your writing down. for some this means not going on the Internet, or blog or whatever for a while. But some days it defeats the purpose, or a level of self control I don’t have.

It’s hard to be a writer with kids, and harder still to work around that. I’m please to say though I’m getting used to caffeine induced awareness. This in fact means that my coffee is now stronger than most, and the sugar in it… well we won’t mention that. Fortunately my kids are young enough that I burn it off in about ten minutes of playing with them.

What I need is a real retreat one where I send the kids off to their grandparent for oh say about a week. I love my girls and don’t want to be away from them, as all parents know kids grow up to fast. No, retreats to Disneyland don’t count! I doubt anyone will get a lot of productive work done there.

I’m talking about going someplace inspiration. Someplace where it makes you want to write. Perhaps there is a place close by and you can take about four or five hours and work there. Perhaps it is that much talked about and needed vacation to wherever (anywhere, anytime!) where the story you’re writing comes back and finds you wanting to write it in a better frame of mind.

My Question for you today is this: Will writing at a retreat or somewhere else get you writing your best work again?


  • AmberInGlass

    It's hard for me to comment, because I've never actually been on a writing retrear per se. Unless of course you consider my current situation a retreat.

    You see, what many of you don't know about me is I was living some place far to the north of where I am now, and living there I was in such a slump. My writing suffered my mood suffered, I was tragically depressed.

    So a really strange opportunity came for me to move to sunny South Florida and I decided screw it. I packed my car with what I could, grabbed my cat, and drove about twenty-seven hours to where I am now.

    For those wondering, the cat slept on my lap 98% of the trip. I was pretty impressed with him.

    Anyway since down here, I can't say I've fully shaken the depression that is something as a person I just always have to deal with, but I can say my writing and desire to write has imporved ten-fold!

    I guess my case is an example of an extreme retreat. I can definately see how getting away just for a few days would be very similiar, and am looking forward to trying it someday soon.

  • Alissa

    Speaking from personal experience, I think we writers can use our environment and the distractions in it as an excuse to not write. I know that I regularly fall into that trap. That said, I did have less distractions this weekend and I did get a lot more writing done, but I was pretty determined going into the weekend that that was what I was going to do this weekend. Schedule writing time just like you would schedule other events in your life and then (and this is the tricky part) hold yourself to that schedule.

  • Karen Guthrie

    I have never had an actual writing retreat either, but I look forward to having one soon. Keeping to a schedule for writing around my other work is hard for me, too. Just when I think I can spend some time with paper & pen, work intervenes and there go my good intentions!(my job is managing our growing trucking company from my home office while my husband drives over the road) I find, though, that when I am up earlier and can spend some time before the rest of the world is awake, I get more done. Yes, a few days with no phone, internet or fax would be a blessing.

  • PrettySiren

    I'm a weird little duck. Going to faraway places doesn't help me write, mainly because I know someone where ever I go and being around people — for me — isn't conducive to writing.

    So the ideal retreat — for me — would be more of a retreat into myself. A state-of-mind where I don't drop everything to play a campaign of Age of Empires because it's beckoning me, a state-of-mind where ADD already has no hold over me.

    In truth, I think I've already found that place in my mind. I just churned out a nice long chapter of my book without any breaks or procrastination and it felt great!

  • AmberInGlass

    Carrie, that's awesome! I worked on my own book for a few hours this morning and have ended up spending the rest of the time idling away on the computer. I'm going to have to work on shutting off that easily distractable part of my brain.

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