Hayden's Ferry Review


The Value of Writing Retreats

Sometimes there are just too many distractions in our daily lives. The kids are screaming, if you have them. Bills pile up as if they reproduced asexually. Repairs and housework loom around every corner. The only way to fix all of this is to actually face it, but that’s not what this post is going to advocate. Nope, in fact you should do the exact opposite by packing your bags and hitting the road for a writing retreat.

Granted, some writing retreats can be expensive. But they are worth every penny. Also consider that when you attend a writing retreat or a conference, if you consider yourself a professional writer then it counts as a tax write-off, so you get every penny back. Go ahead, ask your accountant or consult the tax laws and you’ll see I’m write (whether you believe me or not you should still do this since you’ll probably find out other ways to get money back for being a writer!). And the difference between a retreat and a conference? You get actual work done on a retreat and come home feeling refreshed.

There are any number of retreats; for women, for Christian writers, for yoga practitioners, for Southern writers, for African-American writers, for genre writers, for Jewish writers—the list goes on and on. If you have a writing need, chances are you’ll find a retreat to fill it. The point is to be able to escape the daily grind long enough to find your center again. You need to get away from the noise of the city and all the distractions and the smells that get in the way of your writing process. Take away the white noise that drowns out your writing voice. You don’t even have to attend a formal retreat, you can easily put together a camping trip with your friends to this effect. Or, if that’s still too distracting, find an out of the way Bed & Breakfast and go there on your own—“forget” your phone and tell no one where you’re going (though it’s probably a good idea to say that you’re going!). Ultimately, you’re responsible for doing your own writing and there’s no one to respond to it, but if you can get your blood pressure down and the corners of your mouth up because your pen is moving, do it.

Here’s a list of some retreats you might want to consider, though of course the list can go on and on:

Taos Writing Workshop and Yoga Retreat
—is what it sounds like. Divide your time between meditative exercises and concentrating on your writing project. “Moving writers from the center to the page.”

La Muse Inn—the best way to see France. They rent their rooms by the month and every single day is devoted to independent creations. You’ll live and work with other writers, painters, sculptors, and whoever else needs a retreat to a small village in the south a France. The rent? About the same as a normal apartment here, so keep your eye on cheap tickets and this is actually possible to do!

The Writers Retreat Workshop—since 1987. This is a yearly retreat that changes its location every year. It’s everything you could ask for in a chance to get away and be with other writers.

Hedgebrook—women authoring change. This is a retreat for women authors seeking to rejuvenate and connect with other women writers.

Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Workshop—not a retreat, necessarily, but it’ll do. This year saw Neil Gaiman as one of the facilitators. Need I say more?