When Retreat Is Good For The Soul

by Kelly Boyce

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:

Pam Callow hard at work collaging her debut release, Damaged.

The group hard at work. Lilly Cain did a presentation on how to use color to inspire your writing. There were crayons and everything!

On our way to dinner at the lodge!

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?

Kelly Boyce
The Outlaw Bride
Carina Press, April 2011


  1. It sounds terrific, Kelly. Wish I could be there

  2. Par-tay! Par-tay! I mean, work and renew, work and renew. Oh what the heck - I DO mean Par-tay!

  3. I am so looking forward to this, Kelly! Can't wait! Bring on the brainstorming and the mini-quiches.

  4. I wish I could go... miss the retreats! They really are good for the soul. Can't believe you found that collaging photo .
    Have a wonderful time, all!

  5. Looks like fun, Kelly. Love the pictures. Have a great time at this year's retreat.

  6. Oh that sounds wonderful! I've never been and I'm not sure I ever would because writer hubby and I guard our time together so closely. We have our own retreats. :) But I would love to go on your writer retreat virtually so please update us.

  7. How wonderful! I'd love to do that one day. ;) What a great group you have. I truly believe that the support you get from peers is the best kind.

    have fun!

  8. Have fun!!! I am so going to miss this year! The creative energy from that weekend kept me going for months. Have a great time girls!


  9. So wish I could go this year, but I couldn't take any more time away from the kids after being away for a week for the day job - they would think I abandoned them! But I sill will be envying you there! Enjoy!

  10. What an awesome trip. I would love to do something like that. To get away for a weekend to write and brainstorm sounds fabulous.

    Have a great time!


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