Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Sue Fortin: Writing Retreat Alternatives

We are thrilled to welcome Sue to the blog today. Both of us love attending writing retreats and enjoy one day retreats as well as our weeks away to the Kent coast with fellow writers, where we drink wine, write and drink wine…  

Over to you, Sue.

Many a time I’ve clicked the ‘like’ button on someone’s Facebook status which says something along the lines of ‘Off to Devon for a writing retreat.’ or ‘Just back from a great writing retreat weekend.’ or ‘Can’t wait to meet up with the lovely [insert author’s name] for a writing retreat’. You may have
detected the common theme here of a writing retreat. Yes, I’d love to go on one and have wished it were me making those sort of status updates. Alas, family commitments, time and money all thoughtfully merging together to make it possible, is a rarity, if not an impossibility, for me.
However, it got me thinking of some possible alternatives to try instead.

Micro Retreat
Change in writing space – sometimes when I’m under a deadline or a bit distracted or have a specific goal for the day, I move from my desk and take my laptop to the dining table. It’s a very small difference in physical space but it can make a lot of difference in head space. It’s surprising how this small change can have a big impact.

Mini Retreat
Phone a friend, a relative, a neighbour – see if you can commandeer their spare room/table/study/office for a couple of hours or, better still, a whole day. When I visit my mum, I like to sit up in her spare bedroom which she has set up as an office. Like the Micro Retreat, it’s the change in space that helps. I can be away from distractions there, I don’t have to answer the house phone, the door or even have any housework calling me.

Day Retreat
Get together with some local writers and hire a village hall for the day. You could all bring a picnic lunch or something towards a group picnic, then allocate a table each and spend as much or as little of your day writing. Break it up nicely with said picnic. Set a word count or some sort of goal and then, at the end of the day or session, compare notes on how well you did.

Friends Retreat
Hire a cottage for the weekend with some friends. At off-peak times of the year, you can get accommodation at very reasonable rates. You could even just hire a mobile home or a lodge at a holiday park for a long weekend. You can set your own pace and goals between you. Or if you want to save some costs, maybe one of the group can put everyone up for a couple of nights. Everyone can chip in with food and drink to help keep costs down. In fact, I did this last year with The Romaniacs. We had a mini Sparkle weekend at Debbie Fuller-White’s in Shropshire. It was great fun and we did actually get some writing done. We enjoyed it so much, we’re doing it all again this year.

It’s an ambition of mine to hold a writing retreat over in France, where we have a second home, and it was this notion that inspired me to write my novella The French Retreat.


Sue, we love your ideas and France sounds ideal! Good luck with your book.

The RNA blog is brought to you by,

Elaine Everest & Natalie Kleinman

If you would like to write for the blog please contact us on elaineeverest@aol.com


Ros said...

Love the day retreat idea. That's do-able

Anonymous said...

Thank you to the RNA for hosting me on the blog - much appreciated.

Thank you also to Rosalind for your comment. I really like the idea of a day retreat too. Might see about organising one in the new year.

Unknown said...

A lovely blog post. Thank you, Sue.
We often have one day writing retreats at The Write Place. Writers bring their work and a plate of food to share. I provide hot drinks and biscuits plus disposable plates, cutlery etc. We simply write (or edit). I set an alarm for breaks and lunch.
Lunch is always fun as we get to chat about writing - and discover interesting food!
Next May four of us head to Ramsgate to write for the week in a rented cottage by the sea.