Writing Getaways and Retreats!

Day 7 – “G” Getaways and Retreats

Who doesn’t love a good writing retreat? There is nothing better than a weekend getaway, taking with you your writing materials and books, notebooks and utensils, with the primary goal of busting out a few chapters, getting some intense researching completed, or plotting and outlining away. Weekend (or if you’re lucky, week long) getaways can be immensely beneficial in polishing off a first draft, getting a serious round of edits in, or giving your novel the motivational kick in the ass it needs to get going.

Working on my novel at a weekend writing retreat at the Oregon Coast, a stunning lake as my inspirational view!
Working on my novel at a weekend writing retreat at the Oregon Coast with an inspirational lake view!

The most productive writing retreat I’ve participated in to date was this past November as part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I detailed this getaway in a previous blog post (Writing Retreat = Success) and still look back on that weekend with longing; longing to be back in that glorious cabin. No TV, no social media, no distractions, with the lake view on one side and the ocean view on the other to motivate me to write, write, write!

Obviously the most productive getaways are ones that are longer in duration, but what if you can’t find the time to carve out a week long retreat, or even a weekend? What if funds are tight that month and you aren’t able to justify the cost of a cabin? Take an afternoon and go curl up in a coffee shop somewhere. Find a nice cozy nook at the library. Work on jazzing up your writing space at home to create an area that screams to your inner creative gremlin. Getaways can be “staying in” retreats, you just need to eliminate distractions, and close yourself off to anything and anyone that hinders productivity.

(Random side note… I used the term “creative gremlin” previously and I’m in love with this phrase I’ve coined. It is such a fitting way to describe my inner creative muse, has stuck around, and I’m certain will make future appearances. 😉 )

What kinds of writing getaways have you gone on? Do you have any hot spots you like to frequent, or do you set aside a weekend at home and do a writing retreat in? Do you have any retreat-related routines to ensure maximum productivity?

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13 thoughts on “Writing Getaways and Retreats!

  1. Right now its Starbucks. I sometimes find writing in a cafe a kind of retreat. It provides a break from writing at home. Like you, I also love the northwest coast, anywhere from Washington to Big Sur. I have a comfortable 22 foot van that makes a great get-a-way cabin, where ever I happen to be. –Curt

      1. Have you read Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down to the Bones, Christina. It’s an excellent book. Anyway, she does most of her writing in cafes. –Curt

  2. I have several coffee shops I frequent when I need to focus and crank out the word count. Most of my work is based on magazine article and not my own personal work. I am taking a week long writing class in early June on Madeline Island in Wisconsin-super excited! Have fun writing! I am jealous!

    1. You’re jealous?! I’m jealous! That is next on my writing-related bucket list: to attend a longer writing workshop/retreat. I’ve been to shorter, day-long workshops, but really want to try an longer one. Can’t wait to hear about your experiences!! 🙂

  3. I would love to do something like a writing retreat. Alas, I’ve got 5 young kids and I think my husband would have an aneurism if I left him home alone with them that long.

  4. You have me dreaming of getting away. For now, coffee shops have to do. I have several I visit, although I haven’t been in a while. I’m always surprised by how much I get written. One of my favorite things is sending my husband and son to the in-laws and getting some writing done in that time.

  5. I’m not sure I dare admit this…. leaving aside we have a cottage in the countryside and near the coast set up as a writers and Textiliste’s (for my wife) retreat (when the dog doesn’t demands long sea and country walks) I’ve been lucky enough to do two week long retreats with an organisation called Arvon here in the UK – they provide both tutored and untutored weeks set in idyllic parts of the country in houses formally owned by some of the greats – poet Ted Hughes, playwright John Osborne to name two. They were so beneficial to get me going and then continuing through my first drafts. As you rightly say, best way to get a lot done.

  6. I once went on a retreat in an old onsen/beach town in Japan. It was glorious, but unfortunately, not so much personal writing got completed, as I was in the middle of a writing workshop. I’d love to do it again, though. Good suggestion about the library. I haven’t visited Kyoto’s main library yet, and I should!

    Alex Hurst, A Fantasy Author in Kyoto
    A-Z Blogging in April Participant

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