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May 5, 2021

            The subject of writing retreats came up the other day on the forums.

            Is this something that you might consider?

            Would a retreat be the perfect way to get away from it all? Would this be a chance to spark your creative flow? Could this be the chance to be finally able to concentrate without distractions and write? Bla bla bla.

            It’s time to look into the ins and outs of a writing retreat.


            I guess the main purpose to get away for a retreat is to self-isolate, more than likely in nature somewhere, a quiet place away from distractions so one can write.

            Another possibility is to be able to hang for a certain amount of time with other writers and chew the fat, maybe to include a certain number of voluntary classes.

            The setting may be inspirational. The retreat itself may either be in a beautiful setting, or be one used by other famous writers in the past. It could also be an infamous setting made to inspire one’s writing.

            The whole point is to inspire you to write, maybe even start or complete that novel you’ve been piddling at for a long time.


            Inevitably, these retreats usually come down to cost. For the most part, they ain’t cheap. If someone is going to go through the trouble to put on a quality event, it’s going to cost you. What you must decide is if it’s worth it. Look at the payoff versus whether you may just want to get away for a week or month or more.


            Has this event ever been done before? Look into the history of this retreat. Does it have reviews or anecdotes from past participants? Has it been successful? Are there a lot of distractions? Is weather, or maybe the participants or staff conducive (or not) to good writing?


            Would isolating yourself for a certain amount of time, away from family, friends, job, or whatever, really make any difference in your writing? Would the isolation itself be a distraction? Or, would that be the magic formula you need to get that spark back you’ve been missing?


            I can’t write this article without giving my own take, my own biases, which I’ve saved for last.

            Whenever I see these writing retreats come up, I cringe.

            For some reason, I think of the old days and the very literary writers of old. Back in the day, making a living was a lot more vague. People lived off inheritances, or had much different ways of making due. Taking a week, month, year out of life for a retreat was no great interruption to complete that “great classic” because many of these writers were either already rich, were sponsored, or did something on the side to earn their keep.

            Me, on the other hand, would be stifled by being isolated away from my life. Not to mention, having to dole out my precious vacation time for things far more useful for me. Besides, I do just fine writing on my own, and not having to rely on forced isolation when all I have to do is self-isolate at my choosing, WITHOUT taking vacation, or losing any time away from my regular life.

            I need my life and distractions for my inspiration. That, right there, precludes me from every wanting to go on one of these retreats, regardless of any other positive or negative reasons.

            In fact, isolation for a set period to write would do the exact opposite of inspiring me to write. It would stifle my creativity.


            Writing retreats can be a good thing if you need or can afford them.

            Not for me, but it’s entirely up to you. Hope this helps you make a more informed decision.

            Happy writing!

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