The challenges of everyday life invariably mean that the time a writer can devote to writing can sometimes be limited. Just when the writer is at a critical stage in their process, something from their other commitments distracts them long enough for the writing moment to pass them by.
These daily and weekly distractions can draw out the process of finishing a manuscript far beyond any schedule the writer had first envisaged. Consequently, they lose momentum with their work.
Fortunately, there are ways of bringing focus back to the work itself and leaving the distractions of life behind.
One such outlet is the writers' retreat. Although it can vary in location and certainly in price, it can be a sanctuary for the writing process. Without any outside pressures and in some cases, even communication with the outside world, a writer can immerse themselves in story. Whenever a writer is able to do this, their manuscript will always benefit. Not only will they be able to focus on a retreat, but also the Tutor or industry professional will keep them focused throughout. As a result the writer will feel invigorated from the writing process itself.
They will also be surrounded by like-minded writers who will be a wall of support for each other. Some writers even make life-long friends, while others agree to become the critique partner for the other after they leave the retreat.
All of this means that even just a few days away in a writers' retreat can see the writer reaping positive benefits for years.
10 Reasons to Attend
- 1. Story Focus - By forcing a writer to think only of their story during the retreat, it enables them to give it their undivided attention. Free from the distractions of home, or work, a writer can deliberate and develop the key elements of their story.
- 2. Honing the Voice - When writing, it is critical that the writer's voice flows through every chapter. The only way to achieve this is through continuity. Skipping weeks or even months between chapters can see one's voice change. A retreat helps clarify one's voice through repeated group readings and editing sessions.
- 3. Networking - Most writing retreats are either run by industry professionals, or feature them as guest tutors. The very people that a writer wants to impress and send their manuscript to can also be the same people that help them write it. This in itself is invaluable to every aspiring writer and remains one of the biggest pulling factors of any writing retreat.
- 4. Digital Detox - Society is overloaded with digital devices and apps that drain so much energy and time from a writer. Placing oneself in isolation with just the words of story and like-minded individuals for company can alleviate strained eyes and headaches.
- 5. Erase Bad Habits - Writing in isolation is inevitable but can also be detrimental. When there is no one to offer guidance on style and substance, a writer can develop bad habits that are littered through their manuscript. It takes an extensive rewrite to remove the bad habits, so having someone with the expertise to spot these habits and eradicate them early, saves considerable time for a writer. But even more importantly, it makes them a better writer.
- 6. CP Exchange - The value of a critique partner is such that it might just be the difference in achieving a publication dream, and seeing one fade away. A fellow writer offering constant feedback in exchange for the same with their manuscript helps both persevere. But for those wary of pursuing this avenue, meeting potential critique partners at a writers' retreat is a good way of getting an introduction to the process. By meeting a potential CP face-to-face a writer can establish trust that an online environment can rarely offer.
- 7. Inspiration - With so many creatives in a confined space, it more often than not, leads to sparks of inspiration for nearly every writer. Ideas can be bounced around between the writers and industry professionals that lead to even better ideas. Just one of these will either improve a writer's manuscript, or give them the inspiration for another.
- 8. A Welcome Confidence Boost - Either the isolation of writing, or the hurt of rejection, can dent a writer's confidence. A low self-esteem is not conducive to good writing. A reader wants to see confident writing. The tutors and guest speakers at a writers' retreat will always do their best to lift the spirits of every writer at the retreat. They are there to help them and to boost their confidence so that they can persevere confidently with their manuscript.
- 9. Location - The actual location of the writers' retreat could be somewhere that a writer has always longed to visit. So the opportunity to combine that visit with some quality time spent writing can be a geographical pull that is hard to ignore.
- 10. Dedication Demonstration - The majority of writers' retreats require a sizeable sum to attend. Paying the fee when it would be easier to use the money for a new computer shows commitment to the cause. Furthermore, the tight deadlines of publishing contracts must be adhered to, so when a literary agent or publisher can watch a writer at first-hand working hard on their manuscript, it elevates that aspiring writer to one they will monitor closely after the retreat.