Oh my, blog reading people, do I have something to tell you about (finally, since it’s been approximately forever since I last wrote). This weekend, I went on a writing retreat. Not one of those fancy, pay us a small fortune so we can distract you with gimmicky stuff, ones you’ll find if you do an internet search for “Writing Retreats.” No, no. It was just me, Anya, and Kristi, two of my amazing critique partners, renting a place on Vashon and writing our little hearts out.
It was fun and productive and I feel like you need to plan one, now. Just do it!
The Snapdragon Retreat (as we named it, because we have fun, inside jokes, as should you and whomever you pick to go on your retreat with) was a first for all of us. All three of us had dreams of attending a retreat, even check our goals for this year. But after scrunching our noses up at some of the prices and locations (meaning far away, not that they were gross) of the ones we found on the internet, we decided to plan our own.
We stuffed ourselves into Krisit’s van along with snacks, plotting boards, computers, chocolate, and lots of wine. Then we drove the just-a-hop-and-a-skip over to Vashon Island. Now, if you decide to plan your own, here’s my first bit of advice. Choose somewhere close that merely feels far away. When we were scouting locations, some of the possible places were hours and hours away. Now we realize that driving that long would’ve taken serious writing time away from us. It was perfect that we got there quickly and were ready to start our productiveness early in the day.
We tried to balance a lot of intense writing (I mean, we set timers and had ear-buds in, intense) time with some breaks for talking, brainstorming, and eating.
Here’s my second recommendation. Find some place with off-the-hook food, because after an especially focused two hour writing sprint, you are fried and there’s nothing better than an awesome meal to recharge your brain batteries. Great coffee and pastries also seem like a do-I-even-need-to-mention-it must.
Kristi and I both ALMOST finished our manuscripts as we were already quite far along and Anya doubled her word count as she was in the beginning phases of her new book. Each of us came out with about eleven to thirteen thousand words written over the weekend. Awesome, right?!!
So there you go. A do-it-yourself writing retreat CAN and IS a great use of your time and money. Plus, it was a heck of a lot of fun. What would yours look like if you planned one? Or, have you already tried this? I’d love to hear how it went for you and what you would recommend based on your experience.
Oh, and one last thing…
My friend, Kristi, one of the ones I went with, well, her book came out today. TODAY! So here’s a “Happy Book Birthday” shout out to Kristi Rose. You should go buy her debut novel, The Girl He Knows, now. =)