This blog may only innumerate 7 benefits of writing retreats, but I can assure you that in my case those benefits have been innumerable. I attended my first writing retreat when my kids were ages 2, 4, 11 and 13. Raising four children should be reason enough to run away to write, but allow me to elaborate on what I saw as benefits and what participants have said about the retreats I now host.
1. The to-do list is left behind
Let’s face it, we all have busy everyday lives. The responsibilities are endless. When we leave behind the litany of things to do in order to focus on our writing we can actually concentrate and be more productive than we would have been responding to the cries of “Hunny, where are my keys?” and “Mom, Jordan licked my cookie!” At a writing retreat, your only demands are writing and relaxing.
2. Unwinding Begets Creativity
Unwinding and relaxing is a huge component of the writing retreats I host because stress is scientifically proven to dampen your creativity. Being able to start your day with a walk in nature sets the tone for your writing session, and then you can un-cramp your hands and shoulders in the Nordic Spa to be primed for the next day.Unwinding and relaxing is a huge component of the writing retreats I host because stress is scientifically proven to damped your creativity. Click To Tweet
3. Community and Accountability
Writing is a lonesome endeavor. Having fellow writers around to commiserate with and to help us celebrate our wins is a treat compared to being at home alone with our incessant inner critic. At the writing retreat you can hold each other accountable for your word count each day, and then create alliances for after you leave.
4. Fanning the Flames
I have this weird belief that writers actually like to write, and we are usually quite passionate about what we are writing. Sometimes that passion wanes when our writing time keeps getting interrupted by life. Spending time away at a retreat gets us to dive deeply enough back into our projects that the passion is there to sustain us long after we leave.
5. Expert Advice
Some retreats involve authors in residence, and some merely offer the opportunity to check in with each other for advice at the end of each day. At the retreats I host, I offer workshops every day with breakfast and lunch and cover topics such as story structure, the publishing journey, book marketing, and how to maintain your writing habits after you get back home. My retreat participants also get time one-on-one with me to talk out any of their snags.
6. New Surroundings
Why not add a little exploration of new terrains when you unplug from everyday life to write? Depending on the location, and your schedule, you might choose to add some tourism to your trip before or after your retreat. I am quite biased to hiking trips in the Rocky Mountains.
7. Getting a Solid Start or Spectacular Finish
I finished my first novel during my first writing retreat and got a solid outline and first three chapters of my last non-fiction book during my last retreat. No matter where you are in your process, your time away can get you to finally start that book you’ve been meaning to write for years, or finally finish that book you’ve neglected for months.