When Retreat Is Good For The Soul
Every year at about this time, my RWA chapter, Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada, holds a Writers' Retreat for its members at White Point Beach. We rent a cottage and usually 8-10 members attend. We bring food (and wine!), our computers, notebooks, whatever we're working on at the time and whatever we want to work on down the road.
When I first started attending the retreat about 7 years ago, we spent the retreat covering one topic. We did one retreat on Donald Maass' Writing the Breakout Novel. Another one was on Writing a First Draft in 30 Days. Then we started breaking it down into four educational sessions. Eventually we tacked on a brainstorming session on the last day that went over like gangbusters. Now the format is a little less structured. More time writing, less sessions, brainstorming remains. There are traditions, of course. We always bring a movie to watch one night. Saturday night is dinner at White Point Beach Lodge Restaurant. And someone always brings mini quiches for breakfast.
It's always fun to see what shape the retreat will take each year. I haven't missed one in seven years and I intend to keep it that way. The day I drive home from the annual retreat is the day I start looking forward to the next one.
There is something to be said about getting a group of writers together for several days. You come away from the weekend inspired, revved up, and ready to go. Everyone gets something out of it and we all look forward to going again the next year. This year's retreat starts tomorrow. So I have packing to do. And, as part of our Friday night fun, we are all taking pictures of our characters. Then we have to guess which character belongs to which writer - a Whose Muse is Whose.
Here are some pictures from the last few retreats:
Julia Smith and I enjoying a glass of vino.
One of the brainstorming groups in action!
How about you? Have you ever attended a Writers' Retreat, and if so, what did you take away from it?
The Outlaw Bride
Carina Press, April 2011