Why You Should Attend A Writer’s Retreat

After I wake up, one of the first things that I do every morning is check my email. Today I found an interesting message in my inbox from Rebecca Little, a friend of mine and fellow graduate of Beloit College‘s creative writing program.

Becca had just returned from a writer’s retreat in the Pacific Northwest. In her email, she expounded on how much fun it had been and that I should attend it next year. I’m planning on doing so.

We all know that writing isn’t confined to any particular space (although there are some writers who swear they can only write in a library, a coffee shop…or in their mother’s basement), nor does a writer even need to be around other writers to write something sharp (In fact, a friend of mine, Russell Jaffe, yet another Beloit creative writing alum, joked with me about how deep down all writers hate other writers. I’ll leave it to you to weigh the validity of that claim…) Still, while attending a writer’s retreat is not a must-do, it certainly presents a wonderful opportunity for an aspiring writer looking to plunge deeper into the literary game.

Here are a few reasons to consider attending a writer’s retreat:

1. To meet other writers. Okay, being around other writers doesn’t guarantee that you’ll make any new friendships, and you may even end up proving Russell right and dislike more than a few writers at the retreat; however, the possibility of establishing friendships with serious writers is quite likely. Developing friendships with other writers is important in so many ways, including: for purposes of networking, to learn from each other, to share “war stories,” and to help keep you sane in a world where, if you’re a writer, most people will assume you must be certified.

2. To learn from established writers. Writing retreats present a wonderful opportunity to learn from experienced, successful writers, and possibly even network with them. Who knows, one good contact may be the tipping point to launching your writing career.

3. To get away from the grind. Your life, most likely, has so many obligations beyond your writing. A vacation away from all your responsibilities to focus on your passion is a wonderful opportunity. Not only will you be immersed in a literary environment, but you’ll enjoy the beauty of a traditional vacation. What could be better?

Have you ever attended a writer’s retreat? What was your experience like?

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