Creating a Successful Writer's Retreat


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The dream of escaping daily life for a creative retreat is common to us artist types. Yet not everyone has tons of time or money to slip off to the beach. Not a problem. Creative retreats are easy to plan close to home. Here's how.

Rent a cabin or hotel room or borrow a friend’s house to devote time and space to your writing. I did this a few years ago with some writing friends and it was a blast. We all enjoyed connecting with our writing and with each other. Having an entire weekend to be in writing community was bliss. Here are a few tips to create your own writing retreat with your friends.

1. Start with a group meeting. Discuss what you want to get out of the weekend, what you are able to give, and what you want from the others. Be clear about needs around space and time.

2. Make meal prep easy and collaborative. Decide beforehand who will cook what and how you will share meals.

3. Start each day with each person writing their dreams in their journal. Come together after breakfast and read your dreams to each other. Discuss how your dream life impacts your writing life.

4. Do lots of free writing. Have the participants bring some fun prompts – objects, music, phrases.

5. Give time each day for alone time – meditating, reading, walking, journaling.

6. Bring some element of the sacred in – start the weekend by drawing a tarot or angel card. Make time for prayer or meditation, or whatever spiritual practice guides you. Use this to guide your course and set an intention for the weekend.

7. Write a collaborative story. Start with a storytelling prompt Once upon a time. . . Each person adds an element: C says – our character is a female over 40. M says she’s in Paris D says – she’s just lost her husband. You have character, setting and conflict. Write for 40 minutes and see what different stories you have created.

8. Or, pass your notebooks around. Start a story and at each ten minutes pass your notebooks. Each time a different person gives a line that will lead the story in a different direction.

9. Do something fun on Saturday night. Watch a movie, tell stories, play charades, do pedicures or facials. Play a game or just relax and be together. Honor someone if they need space and time alone – trust that they can take care of themselves and aren’t retreating because they are upset.

10. Make plans (or not) for how to continue the community that you have created.

Cynthia Morris started writing regularly in 1994 and just can't stop. She has written performance pieces, plays, essays, poetry, newspaper columns, marketing copy, blog entries, hundreds of e-zine articles, and, dearest to her heart, a historical novel set in Paris. When not writing, Cynthia coaches individuals and groups to their own creative exuberance. Information about Cynthia's creativity tours in France, her e-books, e-zines and book, Create Your Writer's Life: A Guide to Writing with Joy and Ease, can all be found at her web home,


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