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Top 5 Perks of a Writing Retreat

by Carol Burnside / Annie Rayburn

Author headshot of Carol Burnside, aka Annie RayburnWhile you’re reading this, I’m at a writing retreat, so my replies may be infrequent. The reason? Duh. I’m busy writing. That’s what these retreats are all about. Fortunately, we get more than a pile of pages from them, or at least I do. Perhaps it’s because I live in a writing desert far from like-minded people?

Whatever the case, going on a writing retreat to me is like ice cream to a kid on a hot summer day. Dadgum it, now I’m hungry for the cold stuff, but I digress. Here are my top five perks of attending a writing retreat.

1. Since this is the whole point, I guess more pages has to be at the top.

2. At a close second for me is: Connecting with other writers

3. Just squeaking in below that is brainstorming! This is one of my favorite things to do. State the premise of a story to the group and let the ideas fly. You might be surprised at the story you get or the plot holes that are revealed, saving you hours of hard work.

4. The combined enthusiasm gets you out of the slump. Whether you’ve been stuck on one scene, wrapping up The End, or have been in a writing funk for awhile, a retreat with others will jump start you again. Guaranteed. Even if it’s that you feel obligated to type something because others are working so hard. Once you’ve begun, the characters start talking again and off you go!

5. Last on this list, but certainly not the last of the perks, is finding your mojo. This is different for everyone. It could be as nice as getting away from the ratrace long enough to hear your characters talking or as impactful as simply taking a deep breath from the stresses of life.

So, that’s my top five. Have you been on a writing retreat or a mini vacation that did you a world of good? What perks did you see from the experience? One lucky commenter will win an e-copy of my Annie Rayburn short story, INSIGHT.

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Mary Preston - October 2, 2012 - 4:17 am

Enjoy!!

If that is the correct word.

Marilyn Baron - October 2, 2012 - 6:12 am

I went on a writing retreat at the beach with my daughter, my sister and my daughter’s friend and writing partner. My sister and I had recently written a women’s fiction called The Edger and during this retreat we started writing a musical. We made a lot of progress on the play and have since finished it and are currently marketing it. In addition to writing, we swam, went out to eat and relaxed. It was a very productive retreat. Carol, your post was very inspirational.

Pam Asberry - October 2, 2012 - 10:15 am

I have never been on a writing retreat but I can see how it would be useful and fun! Hope you have a blast, Carol!

Michaela Rhua - October 2, 2012 - 12:03 pm

Enjoyed reading the article. I have never been on a writing retreat but always thought I would like to go one day. I know what you mean about brainstorming bringing out plot holes and building on.

Thanks for sharing.

Michaela Rhua - October 2, 2012 - 12:06 pm

Great post. I have always wanted to go on a writing retreat. I know what you mean about having time to brainstorm plot ideas.
Thanks for sharing.

Susan Carlisle - October 2, 2012 - 12:13 pm

I get more done during a writing retreat than I ever get done at home. I love going to them.

Carol Burnside - October 2, 2012 - 12:14 pm

Mary: It’s absolutely correct. I’m enjoying the heck out of my retreat time!

Marilyn: I remember your post about the retreat. Isn’t it nice that they’re productive, invigorating AND relaxing???

Pam: You gotta try it, girlfriend!

Carol Burnside - October 2, 2012 - 12:18 pm

Me too, Susan. There’s just something about a different place, different routine that helps the words flow.

Carol Burnside - October 2, 2012 - 12:19 pm

Thanks for commenting Michaela. If you ever get the chance to go on one, do it. Or better yet, get a few friends together and host one yourself. :)

Sandy Elzie - October 2, 2012 - 4:31 pm

Hi Carol,
I’ve been to several writing retreats and I totally agree that it’s a fantastic arena to brainstorm, connect w/ other writers and, of course, get a lot of words on the computer screen. Like Susan, I get more done on a retreat than when I’m at home…after all, I don’t have to put on laundry or answer the pesky phone when I’m not at home. (g)

Actually, I think your top five about cover why I love writing retreats, but maybe I’d add that it’s always a blast to encourage other writers (and be encouraged) and have them get all excited after that brainstorming session.

Thanks for sharing and Welcome back to Georgia!

Maxine - October 2, 2012 - 5:21 pm

Oh, my goodness, writing retreats are the best!! I get work done. I don’t go to the kitchen as often;) and I come away excited and raring to keep at it. But when you come home and there’s laundry, errands, etc. Well, it sure makes the NEXT Write-In something you do not want to miss! Enjoyed it Carol.

Carol Burnside - October 2, 2012 - 6:35 pm

Hey, Sandy. Welcome back from your trip! It’s great being away from all the everyday stuff, isn’t it?

Carol Burnside - October 2, 2012 - 6:35 pm

I have to agree with you Maxine. Nice to have the anticipation factor too. :D

Sia Huff - October 2, 2012 - 7:39 pm

Good for you, Carol. I couldn’t agree more. I love writing retreats. I feel invigorated afterward. Have fun and happy brainstorming.

Carol Burnside - October 3, 2012 - 2:26 pm

Thanks, Sia. We worked hard on the brainstorming yesterday.

Paula - October 5, 2012 - 11:28 pm

Thanks for the reminders, Carol! I love writing retreats – it’s a great opportunity to forget all the peripheral stuff in your life and refocus on your story. And being with others who totally get that too is a bonus :-)

Carol Burnside - October 6, 2012 - 12:01 am

Can’t argue with anything you said, Paula. Thanks for stopping by!

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