Are you a writer? Then yes, yes you can, IF you want to. But the amount you spend is up to you, and I’m not just talking about the money. The amount of time is important, is it for an evening, a day, two days, a week or more? Most people think of ‘retreat’ as more than an evening. Perhaps a long weekend is envisioned, or a trip to the Matterhorn to be inspired by the view to write! But it doesn’t have to be. You can gain a lot in a few hours if you have the right mind set, and unfortunately I know several people who spent a month’s salary on a hyped up event and walked away disappointed and unfulfilled.
There is a LOT to think about when you are deciding to attend a writing retreat. That being said, please allow me to reassure you – you have options and choices and a wealth of information to ponder – and every bit of it should be a joy and not a headache. The amount of effort is important too – will this be a financial hardship? Will it involve more than the actual retreat, is there airfare, hotel accommodations, and a car rental to consider?
If you are getting stressed out in this kind of decision making, take a breath and walk away, but deciding if you want to attend a retreat is easier than you think. There are a multitude of them on the web to be sure, but you might be surprised to find many of them locally too. If you’ve followed Touched By Words, you know I’ve shared retreats I’ve attended myself, as well as support in my local library as well as in my favorite Harley Davidson classroom. (See – you might be surprised where you find writers!)
Okay – so what is my point? My point is you do not need to stress out about retreats. You can create a simple, lovely space to write. If you enjoy being outside – by all means – go outside! If it’s raining, find a quiet spot in your apartment, house or room, light a candle, choose music if you’d like, or wrap yourself in silence and a cozy blanket. You can pick up a notebook from the grocery store, or colorful pens at the office supply store- it’s your choice YOU are in control. Place a small bouquet of flowers or a single blossom or a lush plant near by– yes it can be to inspire or simply be a place to rest your eyes from the page. You do not need a bucket full of money to spend on a writing, or you can plan to attend one, save up and do your homework, read reviews, take a chance and explore what is out there. I did and I’ll always treasure the experience. Yet remember what you are ultimately doing, why you want to go, what you hope to gain, the point is to write! Write what you want, when you want, or when you can. Get it on the page stop planning to get it on the page and do it, work on it, nurture it, plow through it, do what it takes to get it out of your head and onto the paper. Of course, you can change it, add to it, erase it, but write it!
I know people who go to writing retreats and never write again. Really? Why are you going? Is it to begin? To meet others who write? To have your work critiqued? To share an idea? To get ideas? To finish your book, poem, essay, etc? Those are wonderful reasons! Or maybe you have no idea what you want and hope the retreat shows you a path. Then all I would say is to choose carefully and dive in to what the experience can offer.
There are lots and lots of reasons to write, and you can do it anywhere you wish and spend as much or as little money as you wish – but it comes down to the written word. Putting thought to page – to record what is burning inside you to get out. I do not want you to think you need something out side of you to accomplish. It’s, inside of you – your experience, your word choice, your story -it is all yours!
Now – go write!