Posts Tagged ‘Writing Retreats’

Of Writing Retreats and Workshops

November 6, 2012

 At a writing retreat, our group met in the evening around a crackling fire trading stories and advice about writing and the publishing world.  Since the rustic building at Asilomar wasn’t completely ours, another couple we didn’t know came inside to go to their room.  But they stopped and sat on the stairs, encouraged by our animated and unique conversation. 

The woman listened for a while and then chimed in that she, too, wrote children’s books and used to be a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. 

Used to be?” asked one of us.  “Why did you stop being involved?

“The workshops were all about writing,” she said.  “I know how to write. I just want to be published!” 

Did she ever get published?  I bet you can guess the answer to that one. 

Writing Prompts:

 1.  Search out a writing workshop (online, at a bookstore, library, adult ed, community college, recreation department, etc.) to help your writing grow. 

2.  Attend author events when you can.  Listening to other authors discuss their work and how they write are inspiring and can show us how we can use their methods in our work.

3.  Find a writing partner and meet in person or online to talk about writing or do a writing prompt together. 

4.  Take yourself out for an artist’s date.  Attend a concert, art show, walk in nature, and see a play or movie.  Expand your universe!


California College of the Arts is offering an MFA in COMICS!

Of Writing Retreats and Relaxation

August 17, 2011

This past weekend I spent a luxurious time at Westminster House in Alamo, California, participating in a writing retreat that produced words, wisdom, friendship, great dining and lots of peace in nature.  We communed with deer, a fox, quail, and even a Labradoodle who wandered into our open door to share his friendly attitude. 

Built in the 1920s, Westminster’s main house’s lovely redwood-walled rooms and cozy fireplace charm reminded me of  a Julia Morgan design, with cheerful flowered wallpaper in the bedrooms invoking a time when life was slow-paced and reflective. 

Our group stayed at the carriage house, complete with upstairs bedrooms and bathrooms and  horse stall bedrooms downstairs, made comfortable  with its horse shoe western-theme.  I swear I heard a horse neigh  . . .

Our group focused on writing, while others who are there quilt, pray, hike or hold family reunions. 

Why seek a writing retreat?

A change of scenery can refresh your whole attitude and may spark your creativity.  Just being around other writers who are enthusiastic about the process, love reading, and think verbs are cool, does something to your inspiration.  

Then there’s the no phones or door bells ringing,  or messages you must deliver to family members.  No Internet (or hopefully not) and only a bell notifying you it’s meal time, which you don’t have to provide.  The laundry buzzer doesn’t go off, dusty tabletops don’t beckon you to clean, and nothing requires your attention but the manuscript in front of you. 

What more can a writer desire?

If you haven’t booked a writer’s retreat, I urge you to try it.  You can go at it alone, with a friend, or your writer’s group.  After one success, you’ll become addicted and you’ll return for others. 

What should you bring to a retreat?

For work, bring one or more of your projects and perhaps some writing exercises for fun.  A writing game or questions to inspire conversation during a group break could be good too.   Snacks and drinks are an option, although with the delicious array Westminster provided, we were never hungry.

I brought my favorite writing tool:  The Synonym Finder by J. I. Rodale, along with a book in case I decided to read. This particular retreat had the option of staying over night or just being there during the day.   Whatever and where ever  you choose,  you’ll appreciate the relaxation.   And with relaxing, comes the freeing sensation which allows you to write more deeply.  Go for it!     Westminster Retreat  

Photos show the carriage house

June 20, 2010

The Sylvia Beach Hotel’s Dr. Seuss room is a delightful mixture of childlike fun, primary colors, and of course, SEUSS!  We stayed next to it in Agatha Christie (larger room facing the ocean) but if I were coming up to this Oregon B&B by myself I’d book this one for writing inspiration.

Above this furry-footed bed is this sign:

There is a lovely desk for illustrators and writers:

And a chair for reading and playing with the stuffed Seuss animals:

Writing Prompt: 
1. Use Dr. Seuss to inspire your writing.  Write rhyme.  Read Dr. Seuss to get you in the mood of course!
2.  You have every writer’s fantasy.  You are allowed a month at a retreat.  You can go anywhere you want to go.  You may bring any reading and writing projects with you.  What will you work on?  What are your writing goals?
3.  What’s stopping you from starting those writing goals NOW?  Remember Anne Lamott’s advice in Bird by Bird.  Just write a little bit at a time.  Don’t look at the huge book, article, paper, or website.  Just try writing a paragraph per day or whatever YOU can manage. 
4.  Give yourself a goal.  Cut back on television, surfing the web, socializing, or all of the above.  Give yourself 20 minutes a day to write ANYTHING. 
5.  Check off the days on the calendar when you stick to your plan.  Pretty soon you’ll develop a writing routine.  THEN you can call yourself a writer!