Thursday, April 15, 2010

Writers Retreat--should I go?

It’s April, which means it’s time for my RWA chapter's annual Writing Retreat. Every year I ponder about the merit's.

What is a retreat? I wanted to know, I mean sure everyone say’s I’m going on a religious retreat, or a writing retreat or even a health retreat. I thought I knew what it meant.

I have a curious mind so I looked up the meaning. Imagine my surprise when I searched the Webster’s College Dictionary and found the first definition:
1.    the forced or strategic withdrawal of an army or an armed force before an enemy, or the withdrawing of a naval force from action.
I read further and found:
1.    a place of refuge, seclusion, or privacy: The library was his retreat.

That was more like it. Then I re-read the first one and reconsidered. Both are correct. Aren’t we forming a strategic withdrawal from our everyday lives in order to find a place of seclusion to write? It’s the perfect definition for our writing retreat.

So taking after Liz, I'm going to make a list of reasons to go on the retreat. Actually it's a Pro and Con list.

Cons - Reasons to stay home
1. I can write from home and it doesn't cost anything.
2. I can wear my jammies if I want.
3. I can access the internet.
4. I have my office with my desk top and all my available files.

Pros - Reasons to attend
1. Cost is minimal, only the room.
2. I can wear my jammies if I want.
3. I can access the internet.
4. I will have my laptop with my mini drive with all my files.
5. I have the solitude of the room to write.
6. No family demands.
7. No email—well if I'm good and do not log into the internet.
8. Retreat is at The Lodges in Deer Valley, there are the beautiful mountains to wander the paths and a hot tub to relax in, if I need time with nature to think or plot.
9. I have chapter members for support if I need a brainstorming session.
10. Workshop about goal setting and others to lend encouragement.

Okay, as you can see the Pros far outweigh the cons. And a couple are the same. So what do you think? If you had the opportunity would you take advantage?


Cassy Pickard said...

Mary: This is a very pertinent question- what is the value of the retreat? I go back and forth about going to one. I did attend the Seascape Writer's conference which was actually a writing/critiquing retreat run by Roberta Islieb, Hallie Ephron, and Susan Hubbard. It was very helpful. I have never gone to a total writing only retreat--but I sure am tempted.

Mary Martinez said...

Our chapter provides the dinner and a workshop--this year is on Goal setting--on Friday night. Then the rest of the weekend is up to you. One of the Board members is hosting a critique session in her suite on Saturday morning. But basically the weekend is for writing, brainstorming, etc. The Lodges has hotel rooms or suites. Four of us are sharing a 2 bedroom suite and we've divided up the kitchen duties for the weekend. Last year it was at a lodge in the middle of no where and the theme was more pajama party. While it was fun, I would never attend one like it again. I didn't reach my goal for the weekend so I was disappointed.

This year the retreat coordinator has really focused on 'writing'. So I have high hopes for accomplishing a lot. If I don't. Then next year, I'm not sure I'll spend the money.

Liz Lipperman said...

Interesting question, Mary.

My vote is a resounding YES! Even from monthly chapter meetings, I come home recharged and ready to write. Plus there's the camaraderie with my writer friends and the fun of meeting new ones. Yes, the workshops are sometimes awesome, but that's only gravy to me.

And the biggest PRO for me is that not once will I hear, "What's for lunch?"

Don't be surprised if you see me dropping in wearing my jammies, Mary. Just kidding!~!

Lindsay said...

If you don't you'll regret it later.
I'd love to be able to go to one someday.

Mary Martinez said...

Liz, Lindsay and Cassy,
You're all invited to drop in on our retreat! That would be a blast.

I am going, I leave tomorrow at 3pm. But next year I'll weigh how this year goes.

I need to get away from grandkids, family and friends even though I love them all. I need some ME time!

Kari Lee Townsend said...

I would love to go on a writers retreat, only I want to go on one with my closest cp's. same concept though. no family, no distractions, hot tub and great view, but a huge suite with my cp's right there with my in my jammies with wine and munchies. now THAT would rock!

Sigh....someday :-))

Cassy Pickard said...

I think the structure of having cp's or other writing types with you would help. Given my experience in Italy, by myself, I really had to become disciplined. There might be something to be said about having the peer pressure combined with the peer support.

Jen said...

I would definitely go! My writing group does a weekend retreat - well, we try for once a year, but it doesn't always work out that way. These are some of the best weekends of my life. No demands from anyone, we go to a lodge that includes delicious meals, and the scenery is gorgeous. All day to write. Well, we chat too, but I wouldn't miss one of these retreats for the world! If you can afford it, go!

Wolfgang A. Mozart said...

Take me with you!