I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, I would love to go on a writing retreat. Twice a year, MJ Compton get’s to do jus that, and she is here to tell us about it.
I am a firm believer in writing retreats. I’ve been going on retreat twice a year for a decade or so. The weekend-long event started out at a friend’s house while her husband and children were away over the Martin Luther King Day weekend. Eventually, we moved our action to Homewood Suites (we tried several different suite-type facilities, but found Homewood to be the best). After one of our core members moved away, we invited another author friend to join us. We held one or two more retreats at Homewood before the new member mentioned her mother’s country house in the woods about 4 hours away. Her mom would let us use it for free in exchange for dinner one night. We decided to try it.
And we haven’t looked back. The four drive? Perfect for brainstorming.
Over the years, our process has evolved to what works best for us.
Meal plan: Everyone is on their own for breakfast.
We each sign up for a meal—lunch or dinner. That person is in charge of menu, all prep, serving, and clean up for her meal. Then she is done. Lunch on the final day is always leftovers.
We sometimes have to tweak the meal agenda depending on the number days and number of people attending. This past August, lunch was a salad & sandwich bar, with all of us working together for set up and cleanup. Frequently, our summer retreat coincides with a nearby festival, so we attend that and eat there before enjoying fireworks over the lake. Except for fireworks night, every night is movie night (we bring our own DVDs with us).
Besides eating and watching movies, we write. I have never had an unproductive time on retreat. I average 20 pages a day of new material or cut through revisions like a hot knife through soft butter. Of course, the lack of Internet access helps
August means we sit on the deck and write. Bliss! In January, we curl up around the fire with our laptops. Cozy!
I think every author deserves a writing retreat at least once a year.
I completely agree. Just like every mom deserves a mommy retreat every once in a while! Check out MJ’s books to see how productive her retreats are for her!