Dream Retreats

I’ve mentioned my writing routine; 500 words per morning and 2-3 hour-long blocks during the week to edit or other writing activities. I do most of my writing during these morning sessions. And, frankly, it’s the time I have, with a non-writing full-time job and family. Of course, I dream of more.

Hugh Howey spoke about this approach. He said it was alright, but he found he discards the first five hundred words of the day… treats them almost as warmup. My experience varies; sometimes, if I know what I want to say, it can manifest quickly. Also, I do 750 words per day with morning pages which clears the mind for writing and serves as a warmup. Regardless, some days it feels like it takes a few hundred words to get things going.

One of the pandemic mini-vacations we took last year was to a cabin in the Catskills, the week before Christmas. The kids were remote learning, and carved out a few days from work. I treated it as a mini-writing holiday and set aside more time to write in the morning and made sure each afternoon included a block of editing. This focus, combined with staying somewhere new, payed off immediately. I wrote Wasted Crisis, edited Crystal Grove, generated more ideas and had fewer blockers. Ever since that trip, I’ve been yearning for a writing retreat.

I’ve never been on a retreat of any sort; the closest I came was a 2-week baseball camp when I was 14. There are two choices; a formal, instructor-led retreat with workshops and other people or a solo adventure. I’ve researched on both.

I looked for local (within driving distance) and “dream” scenarios. I’m only looking at one’s that are more open, not the writer-in-residence thing, with rigorous applications and acceptance criteria. Not yet! Most request samples but it as long as you pony up the fees, you are set. I can use the mentoring and feedback, and I’d love to interact with other struggling writers. From a distance, there looks like a lot of upside… workshops, lessons, critiques, reading other’s work, etc. Especially for someone who needs help.

I’d need a WIP or something to work with before joining a formal writers’ retreat. My albatross, Crystal Grove, would be an excellent candidate if I could join one now.

Read Part 2

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