Write on, Wednesday: Writing Retreats

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By Leslie Lindsay

firesideLast week, I was at a writing retreat. With a warm fire roaring in the distance, a gentle snow cascading from the gray sky, my laptop propped on my lap, and the ideas a-flowin’, it was a slice of glorious heaven. Oh, wait. It wasn’t.

Instead, I was laid up on the couch with a laptop and a bum knee. Not quite the romance and mystique I was going for, but well…there was snow.    [not my actual fireplace…image retrieved from http://ecoopportunity.net/2012/02/fireside-chat-leadership-from-the-top-in-the-green-economy-2/fireside/ on 2.18.14]

If you’ve ever dreamed of attending a writing retreat, you’re not alone. Some 200 retreats exist across the U.S. They range in size, scope, and practice and also vary in your overall goals. Do you want to steal away to the Montana mountains where you can write your heart out in rustic setting, or would you rather head over to Monterrey or Sausalito, California where you could be a writer-in-resident in the warm sun?  Do you want to partake in the prestigious Iowa Writer’s Workshop (MFA program)? It all depends on you,  your time, your resources, and sometimes your skill.

However, if you want the poor man’s guide to a writing retreat, try something local–as in your own house. Okay, I know, not what you were thinking. But why not? If you work an outside job, why not schedule some time off, sequester yourself to the confines of a home office, or get thy self to the library. Read. Write. Read about writing. Make some serious progress. Let the rest of the world take care of itself. Even the world at home. Someone else can unload the dishwasher and run the vacuum, right? And so what if they don’t? The crumbs and dirty dishes will be there when your ‘retreat’ is over.

Okay, so that idea doesn’t work for you.  How about checking into a budget-style hotel for a weekend, even a night? I’ve done it before when on deadline and made some serious headway. I’ve also packed my bags for a crafting retreat right.  Sure, the crafts of choice for this place were more along the lines of sewing, knitting, cross-stitch, and scrapbooking, but hey–we say writing is as much a craft as an art, right?

Another lovely retreat is the Write-by-the-Lake Retreat in in Madison, Wisconsin. It’s hosted by the University’s continuing education department and I can’t say enough nice things about it!  From the delightful lakefront locale to the dynamite instructors, this place rocks. In fact, I’m headed back this June. Registration is now open.

If you’re looking for a retreat, residency, or other writing get-a-way, check out these resources:

[image source: http://writebythewater.com/ retrieved on 1.29.14]

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