I’ve been on a writing retreat!
Unfortunately it wasn’t a week in a glamorous, sunny location but two nights in a Premier Inn on an industrial estate near Warwick. It was an experiment with a writer friend to see if 48 hours away from domestic distractions would enhance our productivity and propel us into the heart of our plots.
We worked in two and a half hour chunks before meeting up for tea and homemade cake or a 30 minute walk round the block or breakfast or dinner. This method kept us well fed and there was always a break to look forward to. I found that after two hours my concentration was waning and I was ready for some company and chat (and cake!)
Did it work?
My companion was doing NaNoWriMo. On arrival she was behind on her daily word count, when we left she was ahead, as well as having done some character sketches.
I was trying to pull together a very wobbly first draft. Prolonged writing time on the retreat enabled me to see the plot as a whole and get some editing done. In our breaks we did a lot of writing talk and my writer friend gave me a new idea to increase the tension within my story. I spent time working out how to weave this into my existing chapters.
Yes, the retreat worked and was worthwhile. But we both agreed that we couldn’t maintain that level of work/concentration beyond a weekend. So a whole week writing in the sun would probably be wasted on me (if it’s sunny I’d rather be in the pool or sightseeing!) but another weekend on an industrial estate is something I’d consider …
#1 by lynnforthauthor on December 5, 2019 - 11:45 am
Thanks Sally …very honest and an interesting idea for a writing retreat. And a lot cheaper way of doing it, I would think.
#2 by Sally Jenkins on December 5, 2019 - 12:55 pm
Yes, Lynn, I think the further in advance you book the cheaper it is. And you could save more by not having the hotel breakfast.
#3 by juliathorley on December 5, 2019 - 12:56 pm
It sounds as though this was a successful experiment. I’ve just signed up for a five-day retreat, with three hours a day focus on the writing and the rest to do with as I choose, and walks and yoga on offer. There is a very real chance I shall just sleep for five days.
#4 by Sally Jenkins on December 5, 2019 - 12:59 pm
I like the sound of mixing writing with walking/yoga,Julia, – I think some movement after long periods at a desk is essential!