By Annie Cronin Romano
Two weekends ago, I went on a writing retreat with three of the four members of my writing group. It had been 20 months since our last one, and planning this one had been a challenge. From nailing down a weekend when all four of us could go (obviously we didn’t succeed there) to finding an affordable, comfortable place to work distraction-free, there were several obstacles to overcome. But it was important to us, as a group, to do this. Why do this? You ask. Good question.
1. There are no “home life” distractions. No one feels compelled to do the laundry, or clean the bathrooms, or rake the yard. Your kids can’t suddenly ask for a ride to the movies. It’s just you and your writing.
2. There are no (or far fewer) time constraints. You don’t have to stop writing in fifteen minutes to prepare dinner for the family or do the grocery shopping. This unrestricted time can free up your creativity and get the ideas flowing.
3. You’re not alone. There’s a group mentality to help maintain focus. You’re all there together for one purpose. I’m a fairly disciplined person, but even I admit that I would be tempted to lounge around, sleep late, read a book, or surf the web if it was just me on a writing weekend. Sure, I’d write. Just maybe not as intensely as I do with others around me who are focused on their work. Having fellow writers with you creates an accountability you might not have if you’re alone.
4. Even the breaks are productive. When we get up to make tea, grab a snack, or just stretch for a few minutes, we often use that time to bounce ideas off each other. We ask each other questions about plot, word choice, and characterization. When writing alone, that’s not possible. But when you’re with fellow writers, you can tap into each other’s writing strengths and knowledge.
All the members of my writing group write fairly consistently at home. But we recognize that doing this intense write-in retreat really helps us get a significant amount of writing accomplished. A group writing retreat can rejuvenate your writing, whether you use it to brainstorm story ideas, plot a novel, revise a story, or free write to move your creativity into high gear. So round up some writing colleagues and organize a retreat of your own. And let 24 Carrot Writing know how it goes!
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