Are writing retreats useful?

A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with a fellow Algonquin YR author about how we hate (read: are jealous of) writers who post their daily word counts online with numbers in the tens of thousands, and how they are surely lying liars who lie. Of course. They’re writers. They’re used to making stuff up. Then we commiserated on our own slow-going works in progress, suffering while we’re pulled from writing by everything else (work, kids, laundry…you know, the ushe).

Not long after that conversation, I discovered that a lot of writers I knew were taking time off for writing retreats. They all came back refreshed, singing the praises of the experience and how much they got done. Well I need to get things done. I have half a novel throwing me shade. So this weekend, I’m doing my first writing retreat. Three days in the woods where they claim there will be cell reception and internet access, but I kind of hope not.

I’m nervous. Being away from my family is never pleasant. Plus what if I don’t get anything done? Or the only thing I catch up on is sleep? Or the mosquitoes tap my arteries?

I guess I’ll see when I get there. I’ve already started thinking about what I should take to feel comfy (below). In the meantime, have any of you gone to a writing retreat? What was your experience?

retreat comfies2

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7 thoughts on “Are writing retreats useful?

  1. Allegro non tanto says:

    I’ve never gone to a writer’s retreat before, but it sounds like a little bit of heaven to me. I think you should just give yourself permission just TO BE for the weekend–no worries about how much writing you’ll get done. I for one, understand how difficult it is to carve some writing time out of our busy MOM/JOB/HOUSEWORK lives. It’s a small miracle we even get one sentence down. So it the words come, great. If not, well then, just have a wonderful time interacting with new people in a new place. Lucky you, Tracey! Have a blast.

  2. Tracey says:

    This one is not too far from me. Driving distance. And I’m not doing a full week as that was cost-prohibitive, so there may be some near you that you can do a bit more cheaply than the week-long ones.

  3. Heidi Chang says:

    I do think writing retreats can be expensive and so have not actually pursued the idea much. But then I always think what if I don’t like the other people on this retreat? Writing is isolating and if I end up with a bunch of people I can’t talk to can make it worse. Oh, jeez. I do wish you the best, Tracey! Yet somehow I can’t see this happening to you! Let me know how it goes. Good Luck👏!

    Sent from my iPod🌞

  4. Tracey says:

    Ha ha, you make a good point. Well, I can always bond with people on our mutual love of books. Though I really plan to isolate myself so that I can get a good chunk of work done. I don’t know how much time I’ll really spend chatting.

  5. Ann Guerrero Martinez says:

    Omgosh! I don’t even know what a writing retreat is lol, but I love to write! It’s been my passion since I was 11 yrs old and if someone wanted to send me some place to write, I’d go! I know you’ll do great and even spending time alone writing make up stories can be fun, so enjoy!

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