Lately I’ve become intrigued by the idea of a creative writing retreat.
I’ve been feeling a bit fried creatively. Maybe it’s the mid-winter doldrums. Maybe it’s just having too many projects on my plate at one time.
But the thought of getting away and clearing my mind of everything and rediscovering my inspiration sounds more appealing all the time, so I interviewed Mark Labrow, founder of World Retreats, to get his take on the idea.
Trisha: Why might a writer consider a writing retreat?
Mark: In all honestly the writing process is a tricky one, coming easier to some than others. Most writers need a heavy dose of discipline and routine to unlock their creative minds and prefer to be segregated, away from distractions while they craft their next article or chapter. Others like to be out in public surrounded by people, catching fleeting moments of conversation and jotting, secretive notes in their dog eared notebook. Either way, writing is, on the whole, an individual pursuit.
That’s where writing courses and, in particular, writing retreats have begun to have their day in the sun. A writing retreat gives writers an inspirational respite from themselves. A chance to interact with the people around them, share ideas and receive much needed feedback and insight into the work they are creating.
~ Mark Labrow, World Retreats
T: What are some tangible benefits of a writing retreat?
M: Creative writing retreats are a great way for the amateur or semi professional writer to extend their practice. The blend of structured writing activity, free time to develop ideas, collaborative cross fertilization and constructive tutor and group feedback can be a world away from the dusty, half lit spare bedroom that most writers refer to as their office.
On top of the opportunity to write, retreat holidays also give the space for writers to be inspired by the unique setting, be that a quaint cottage in Devon, England or a sun drenched, rural landscape in Catalonia, the chance to see, hear and breathe another culture undoubtedly adds richness and depth to a writer’s work, especially for travel writers.
The lure of this kind of holiday becomes even more tempting when you consider that, if you want to, all your energy can be poured into your work or new creation, without the normal distractions of childcare, housework and other day to day chores.
Retreat holidays in general are increasing in popularity, allowing individuals to explore their passions, usually in stunning surroundings with people who share a common interest, allowing them to network with others in their field and build lasting, mutually supportive relationships that outlive the retreat break and spill over into their everyday lives.
T: What else can writers expect to find on a writing retreat?
M: Retreat holidays provide comfortable, sometimes luxurious accommodation, healthy, local food and all associated activities included in the price (some places even throw in airport transfers), meaning you can relax, slow down or even stop and give inspiration a chance to find you.
T: And what can a writer expect to come away with?
M: Writing is a passion and after a 2009 filled with financial doom and gloom our passions are even more important than ever. It’s our passions that keep us motivated, provide us with inspiration and, for some, may even begin to pay the bills. 2010 is the start of a new decade, the start of a decade where our home life and work will blur even more than before. It’s important that we take the time to nurture our passions, to develop our talents and to connect to others in our field, not merely with social networking but with social interaction.
When you participate in a writing holiday, you’ll experience a new culture, be inspired in the presence of others and potentially find that final push that allows you to turn your dream of writing professionally into a reality.
Thank you Mark, for taking time to answer my questions…I’m definitely going to give this some serious consideration!
Have you been on a writing retreat? Share your experience!