My Twisted Writer Brain…, Uncategorized

What Does it Mean to Retreat?

It all started about a year ago.
An innocent conversation over coffee turned into a full-on, jump in with both feet, go-for-it, wth, plan to organize and host a writing retreat.

It seems rather redundant when you talk about writers needing to retreat because they’re already solitary in their work.

It seems rather redundant when you talk about writers needing to retreat because they’re already solitary in their work. But, the reality is that not everyone gets enough time alone to do as much as they want.

And, those who do work and live the solitary writer life often need a change of venue to spark ideas, push reset, or surround themselves with other like-minded people.

Planning a retreat is not easy. It’s a lot of leg work to pull it off properly but the first step is choosing a location, securing dates, naming the retreat, and then crossing your fingers that people will want to come.

Our retreat was at Chute Lake Lodge in the south Okanagan of British Columbia. It is very remote, quaint, and picturesque. We named the retreat Writing Wild, created a FaceBook page, and opened the registration. We were shocked when all available spots sold out in less than two weeks.

Wow…then the hard-core planning started.

Ask yourself–What does a retreat look like for you?

Re-Treat(n) An act of moving back or withdrawing especially from what is dangerous, difficult, or disagreeable

(n) a quiet and secluded place in which one can relax and rest

AKA: haven, resort, seclusion, refuge, withdrawal, pull back, isolation.

In our case, the cabins were rustic, we brought in a couple of facilitators to do workshops, meals were planned, and everything was included in the set price but also optional.

For some, a retreat is about shaking up their routine with a notion of sparking fresh ideas or letting their brain rest.

Others may see it as a vacation away from writing while others simply want a different spot to write and feed off the new energy around them.

My twisted writer brain still prefers the lone, silent type of retreat. The idea of not having to do anything except write decreases a lot of pressure for the creative in me.

If I don’t have to fix supper or talk to anyone except my characters then I’m quite satisfied and content.

Sometimes I retreat to my upstairs bedroom where I’ll put up a sign saying “Writer At Work“, or I’ll retreat to Starbucks and put on my headphones and tuck into a corner with my computer.

To me a retreat is like a state of mind and you can make it as big and elaborate as you can or you can just tuck in and close the door….ahhhh.

One time a friend of mine let me use her cabin for a week to do a rewrite of a manuscript. In that week of silence, I worked about fourteen hours a day and completed what I needed to do and then some. It was truly invigorating.

A retreat can be a week, a day, or a ten-minute meditation.

The thing to remember is that a retreat is personal.
There’s no right way or wrong way. It’s not a requirement, doesn’t need to cost money–it’s simply a tool in the box of writer tricks to help you out when needed. It can not only push you out of your comfort zone but also allow you to stretch the muse and find clarity where there was none before.

You are the best judge of what you need–go find it. I know you can–and will–when the time is right for you. xo

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