Nov 16, 2015
Welcome to Episode 028 of Write Now. I've returned from my
annual writing retreat and we've got some catching up to do.
Should I take a writing retreat?
I've spoken with a lot of writers over the years about the merits of a writers' retreat. And the question of Should I? isn't really fair to ask, since the answer has been a resounding Yes! from all surveyed.
Perhaps a better question to ask is: How do I keep the good effects of a short-term writing retreat going throughout the year?
Takin' it to the woods.
I know the woods aren't for everyone, but they're where it's at for me. And this year, I witnessed a lot of cool stuff, including a tiny snake, a toad that sat on my foot, and something mysterious howling in the night.
But best of all, I found stillness and silence. I had time to process my thoughts (and time to even have thoughts in the first place). I ate when I was hungry and slept when I was tired, and read and wrote whenever the urge struck me -- which, in this environment, was often.
You don't need to escape to a one-person cabin in the middle of nowhere to have a great writing retreat. I mean, I do because I am the introvert's introvert. But you can do whatever speaks to you -- whether it's taking a weekend at a hotel, bed & breakfast, or retreat center, a week at a friend's loft in Chicago, or simply a couple hours barricaded in your basement away from your kids.
Read. Write. But most importantly, listen. Get back in touch
with who you are as a person and as a writer. And don't expect to
have your life changed (though that might happen), but rather
leave yourself open to finding meaning in even the most mundane
Book of the week.
During my retreat/hermitage, I read several books. But my absolute favorite was Charles Yu's How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe.
It's the story of the man who invented time travel and mysteriously disappeared, and his son, a time machine repairman who tries to find him.
I've said it before and I'll say it again -- I'm a huge sci-fi nut. But even if you aren't, chances are you may still enjoy this book. It's a quick read, full of wit and humor and deep human feeling.
It's also incredibly accessible -- Yu writes with plain language so that even talk of the space-time continuum and matters of physics are easily understood. There's none of the "parsecs" and "terraforming" and characters with a thousand apostrophes in their names (U'Zorge'drr) that can turn people off to sci-fi. Just a really interesting story about a father and a son, and a nonexistent but ontologically valid dog named Ed.
Keep up-to-date with my book-related adventures on
What do you think?
Have you ever taken a writing retreat? What are the benefits you've taken away? And has your writing life changed at all because of it?
Submit your own thoughts or questions on my contact
page, or simply email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com.
I can't wait to hear from you!
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