When I was trying to decide if I should attend the Aspen Summer Words Writing Retreat—before I’d even been accepted—several fellow writers encouraged me to go. At the time, I asked if I should save my money and spend five days at home writing, and they (my “encouragers”) referred to the retreat as a gift. They were so right.
Attending a writing retreat isn’t cheap, though many of them offer scholarships and/or other financial assistance, some based on need and some based on merit. If you (1) get in and (2) can afford it, you should go. No question. It’s worth it.
Let me repeat that: writing retreats are worth it.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d been in workshops, so I understood the format and how they work. What I didn’t realize was how inspiring and encouraging it is to be surrounded by writers, including the faculty, guest speakers and fellow students. From the bestselling author who spoke to a room of 400 people to the talented classmate who’s just learning about the business of publishing, we all shared that love of writing, that inescapable urge to capture our words on the page.
There’s no way I could have created that kind of experience by spending five days in my house, no matter how many hours per day I wrote. At the retreat, I had the luxury of focusing on my manuscript, writing and rewriting and immersing myself in the world of words. I’ve never been so exhausted and re-energized, all at the same time.
In future posts, I plan to share more of what I learned and how pre-planning helped me make the most of it. For now, if you’re thinking about attending a retreat—whether it’s in the next few months or next year—I strongly encourage you to do it. Give yourself that gift.
Do you have specific questions about writing retreats? Ask away in the comments. If I can’t answer your question, it’s possible another reader can. Are you thinking about a retreat? Have you been to one you’d recommend? Please share in the comments.