It’s that time again for the writing retreat I attend. I look forward to it for months. And I’m willing to endure crawling highway traffic and power outages for it. We have coffee on the porch in the morning while we talk shop. Then we go to our “writing stations”, at various spots on the wraparound porch. We work pretty much through the afternoon, with a quick lunch break. And then, when we're hot, tired and our brains are on overload, we trek through the woods to the beach. We take turns cooking dinner, and play writing games at night. Not a bad life for a week.
I’ve attended an assortment of writing workshops, conferences and retreats over the years. There are ones where you mostly workshop, and spend lots of time reading other authors’ work and critiquing. This is great when you're jumping in for the first time, and really want feedback on your work. There are conferences, where you listen to seasoned writers talk about their novels and how to best negotiate the writing life. This type of event is perfect when what you want is a shot of inspiration and information. And there are many permutations of the above. Summer retreats are also a chance to spend time in a deluxe location—Lake Tahoe, Southampton, Big Sur, Mendocino—you get the drift.
There are so, so many to choose from! You’ll discover this when you Google retreats. And they occur throughout the year. If you’re considering one, find out who the presenting writers are, and whether they’re a good fit for what you’re working on. You may prefer a smallish one, or perhaps a huge one, like the LA SCBWI summer conference, where you can blend in and pick and choose which breakout groups to attend. It doesn’t hurt that there’s a spa and two swimming pools out there.
So, Happy, Happy July Fourth! Have you ever attended a writing retreat? How was it? If not, what kind of retreat or conference would you look for? How are you celebrating the holiday? Getting any writing done?