The Season for Writing Retreats


With the smell of autumn in the air, I am tempted to hole up in a cabin somewhere and spend my days sipping hot liquids and burying myself in my manuscript.

A friend of mine has come up with a great way to make this dream of reality. Every winter she and several of her other writing friends meet at a cabin in Maine where they spend a long weekend tucked away. She then returns refreshed with renewed passion for writing and thousands of words added to whatever project she is working on at the time. (The group met through blogging originally, which is further proof that this format is a great way for writers to make connections with one another.)

Though I am always less productive when around other people, I appreciate the way that fellowship can add to a writer’s craft. After all, many of us have a tendency to get trapped in our own heads, and sometimes it can take being around other people to drag us out of them again. Writing retreats, even casual ones among friends, are a great way to make sure that we remain connected to other writers and the rest of the world.

For now though, the closest I’ll get to that hidden cabin is curling up on my couch with my laptop and hot cider. Maybe next year I’ll plan better to ensure I have a mountainous excursion.

Have other people discovered good ways to have a writing retreat somewhere? I’m curious to know where people go and whether or not they think these havens are worth it. (And if you have any beautiful locales you think are particularly inspirational, I’d love to hear about those as well!)



Image Attribution: Photography by Jason Koxvold, Studio Padron, Accessed 18 October 2016, http://www.dezeen.com/2016/09/04/studio-padron-hemmelig-rom-secluded-library-woods-new-york-state/


44 thoughts on “The Season for Writing Retreats

  1. If there is a will there is a way! Of course in The Artist’s Way Julia Cameron suggest giving ourselves mini retreats, artist dates, to fill the well, when longer periods to write or create just are not happening.

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  2. I love the idea of a log cabin. I live alone (apart from my guide dog Trigger) so have solitude for writing. However the idea of writing in a wholly different environment, espically a country location, certainly appeals to me. I live in the suburbs of London (Upper Norwood) and find even visiting my family in Liverpool acts as a bit of a retreat (the different environment). For example I wrote this while sitting in my mum’s Liverpool garden, https://newauthoronline.com/2016/05/30/composed-more-or-less-in-realtime-while-sitting-in-a-garden/ something which would not have happened had I stayed in London,
    . Kevin

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  3. I wish I had some elaborate story to tell, but alas, I’m stuck at home in my “office” where I slave away. I do, however, have some benefits. I live on a small but picturesque lake with 580 feet of waterfront (and good fishing!); and the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains are a half hour drive away. On crisp, clear days you can see them in the distance, ridgeline upon ridgeline as they grow higher from our South Carolina vantagepoint and on into the far eastern edge of Georgia and western North Carolina. So, I can’t really complain. 🙂

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    1. I have to admit that I’m jealous! Though I’m not sure I would get much work done if I lived lakefront and mountain adjacent. Too many temptations. I’m glad that you’ve created such a lovely home office for yourself. I’m sure your work benefits from it.


  4. I wish I could get away to a cabin in Maine. Heck. I just want to get to somewhere with snow! ^.^ I’m very jealous of the writers who get to go on this retreat. Though, I too am like you: people distract me. I am the epitome of a solitary writer, which means we’ll just have to use a really big cabin so each writer gets their own room, but then there are common spaces for writers to have discussions when they’re feeling stuck. And we can all eat nice, warm, yummy meals together. ^.^ Thoughts? hee hee!

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  5. Ooh, I’m thinking a nice, thick, medium-rare ribeye, double-stuffed baked potato, and a glass of Kendall-Jackson Cabernet Sauvignon. And afterward, my feet propped up before a crackling fireplace as I sip a glass of single malt Scotch and contemplate the 5,000 words I cranked out that day on my next mystery. Ahh, dream on! 🙂

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  6. I sometimes do my own mini-retreats where I take myself somewhere local for a 3 day weekend. But last year I went on a 3 week retreat at La Muse, in the south-west of France. It was AMAZING. The most beautiful place run by wonderful people. I was incredibly productive there, and had fantastic conversations with other writers & creatives. It was a big trip for me (I’m from Australia so a 24 hour flight + train travel) but so worth it.I’m planning to return in another 2 years. Cannot recommend this place highly enough!

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  7. One summer I stayed at a B&B on Vancouver Island near the ocean. Part of the day, I went hiking with a lovely woman from Germany, then I stayed up and wrote most of the night. I went there to research the area for a historical novel I was writing and it worked. I wrote a first draft in about a month. There’s something about being away and being cared for that nourishes the soul.

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  8. Oh I just love this building and its location – so cosy, warm and inviting! Once I went on a writing course over a weekend and found it hugely stimulating and inspiring. Much as I thought there might be more chatter than writing this was not the case and I came away refreshed brimming with new ideas. Overall I think my writing retreat is by myself, snuggled up somewhere warm in the house, by my desk, wrapped up in a fleece – yes, even in summer!

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  9. I’ve read about a few retreats where people are hooked up all day and then only need at dinner. Such retreats often include all types of artists. I went to a retreat myself once, but it wasn’t very organized and I didn’t get much done.

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  10. Oh man, I wish like crazy I had money to do a writing retreat (and that one looks nice!). I can barely pay my bills and the closest I get is my occasional day with a few good hours of work at a coffee shop (and I have to be totally in the zone to avoid distractions). But there is something about the fall that screams go hole yourself up somewhere peaceful and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and a piece of pumpkin pie while you write with a nice blanket over your legs in a comfy chair and desk set.
    Okay, first stories I sell will go to saving up for a week-long writing retreat…after bills (grumble, grumble…). I wish I was at one now…then I could get over this migraine in peace and let the thoughts flow onto paper when I’m better.

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