There are all kinds of writing retreats that happen all year in many different places around the word. They are usually charming locations that offer comfortable accommodations and beautiful views, mentors, workshops, social time to connect with fellow writers and, the one thing we covet the most – time to write. A writing retreat can sometimes be just the thing we need to focus our attention and get the work done – but it’s not something every writer can achieve.
It’s such a lovely thought, the idea of going away and tucking into a log cabin or a cozy B&B for a couple of weeks and just write. The concept of travelling to a new place can get our creative juices flowing. Who doesn’t want a new scene every now and then? The world is a playground, and there is so much to discover in it – including our own productivity. The intention to commit is the appeal behind the writing retreat.
I always dream of going on a writing retreat (what writer doesn’t) but real life often gets in the way – the timing is wrong, the dates don’t work, there’s a pandemic, or I simply don’t have the budget or freedom to go. However, I don’t need to miss out on that coveted promise for writing time. I can create my own.
Creating your own writing retreat can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be. You can base it on your time and budget. You can travel locally or internationally if that’s your pleasure. We don’t all have the means to travel to a mountain resort, a bungalow on the beach or a log cabin in the forest, but we can escape to a coffee shop, a park, a favourite bar, or a room in your home. Your own backyard can be just as effective as a winery in an exotic location (maybe more so, since you won’t be distracted by drinking all that good wine). Your writing retreat can cost as much or as little as you want, just as long as you bring your intention to write.
One day, I’ll attend on one of those abundant retreats with a host of other writers, and I’ll no doubt love it, but for now I’m content working with what I have.
A writing retreat isn’t about where I am. It’s about the time I give myself.
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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.