Advancing on Retreats

Whenever I hear that someone went on a writer’s retreat or stayed at a writing colony, part of me wants to ask “But how did you manage it? Don’t you have to hoard money and vacation days?” Obviously, some retreats are expensive and require a fair amount of time off, but that doesn’t mean all retreats have to be that way. The Writers Alley has some great suggestions about how to create your own awesome, inexpensive retreat.

I like the idea of going somewhere to write. It forces you to focus on your work and means you can’t make excuses like, “I should probably get this load of laundry in,” or “But it’s the perfect time for a nap!”

A couple of things to remember about super cheap “retreats” at, say, a coffee shop or the library:

  • If you’re somewhere that is first and foremost a food service location, make sure to buy something. And if you’re there for a while, buy something else. Don’t be that person who gets a small coffee and takes over a table for five hours.
  • Be aware of where the outlets are. Claim them and don’t let them go.
  • Bring someone with you. That way, if you need to leave your stuff and use the restroom, you don’t have to rely on strangers/hope your stuff doesn’t get stolen/take everything with you.

If going to a coffee shop or the library is part of your usual writing routine, try to mix up the setting. Head somewhere totally new (even if it’s another coffee shop or library). The change of setting might help you focus more or expand your creative outlook.

Also, I really want to check out The Porches (which is pretty close to Charlottesville, VA, one of my favorite places in the world) for a not-super-expensive actual writing retreat. And how cool would it be to write in a treehouse?

This summer, Walt and I have planned a vacation/writing retreat in the mountains of Pennsylvania. I’ll let you know how it goes. (Hopefully productively, with a good dash of relaxation in there, too.)

Have you ever created your own writing retreat?

(H/T Debbie Ohi)(image: adrian, acediscovery)

0 thoughts on “Advancing on Retreats

  1. Alanna says:

    Neat idea! I’ve been reading lately that the easiest way to break bad habits is to do it on vacation, when you’re not surrounded by the cues of your normal routine — I bet this includes procrastination habits! So a writing retreat, even a short/nearby one, sounds like a wonderful idea! Maybe I should do that for one of my papers! (Of course, I travel so much these days that traveling is just part of my routine, but you never know…)

    Have a great time in Pennsylvania!

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