Last weekend I participated in my very first writing retreat. My critique group put together a DIY retreat, with time for critiques, free writing, and presentations. I had a great time and came away feeling like I learned a lot. Here are a few reflections:
Getting to know your critique buddies is awesome
We spend so much time in our monthly critique meetings reading each other’s writing, and personal stuff comes second, which if you plan to be a professional writer is all fine and good. But I really loved getting to know more about my fellow writers’ personal lives, what challenges they face and how their life experiences have influenced their stories. Even though one of our members Skyped into our sessions, it still felt like she was there!
Writers have very different creative methods
I’m so entrenched in my own methods that it surprised me to see how others worked. Some liked talking through their plot problems, others liked to outline. I had plenty of company as a pantser, though!
Every writer’s journey is different
I’ve been on this journey for a very long time. I’ve known since 8th grade that I wanted to be a writer. It was really interesting to hear from writers who discovered their dream of being a writer much later in life. We all had different goals, as well. While many of us are seeking to be traditionally published, others are considering self-publishing. That is one aspect of a writing career that I love: that it is available as a career at any point in your life.
There’s never enough time
In all of the sessions we had throughout the weekend, we kept running out of time. Let’s face it: we writers could talk about our writing forever! Especially when there are others around with similar interests and a willingness to listen!
Leaving charged and energized
My weekend gave me so much to think about. I have my own personal resolutions and projects for the year planned out, and I also have a big group project in the works! (You will hear more about this later). I also left the weekend with a full manuscript critique partner which I think will be hugely helpful with my backlog of messy middle and end-less manuscripts.
Have you ever attended a writing retreat, DIY or otherwise? What was your experience?