Retreats in Two Styles

Posted On July 28, 2023

Photo by Michele Venne

A week after the in-person writer’s retreat, and I’ve noticed a few things. First, I’m still just as resistant to write when I have other tasks to do as I was before the retreat. Second, the comparisonitis has faded. Mostly. On Sunday morning, I attended a Freewriting session. It was exactly what I had spent over seven years doing in three different writer’s groups! I was so excited! It’s like walking into a college class and actually having a clue about the content. We had time to do two prompts. I extended my first story with the second prompt. I received two compliments that, if I felt more secure, wouldn’t have made me smile so big. The first was, “Your descriptions are amazing. I could totally ‘see’ the house and the crime scene.” The second was, “You need to finish that because I want to know what happens.” And third, even though I didn’t totally connect with even one person, I’m reminded that I have done this before by myself, and I can continue this publishing path alone, too.

The second retreat is online. It doesn’t talk about craft or marketing or optimizing Amazon pages. It’s about the writer-self. It has an introduction, a five-minute meditation, a reflection, and some writing prompts. This retreat focuses on how I feel about writing and how I define success. I find I’m looking at my career in a different light. I’m about a fourth of the way through, and I looking forward to spending time each day on this retreat.

The organization who did the in-person retreat isn’t planning one for next year. Instead, they want to bring in a presenter for an all-day workshop. I had the idea of adding a second day. It would be worth it for those who live far away to come for the weekend. From what I saw, the participants got the most out of a space for doing writing sprints, a brainstorming session (getting help on where they’re stuck in their manuscript), and freewriting. I might make that as a suggestion at the next meeting.

Two retreats with very different deliveries. The focus of one was on craft, marketing, and networking. The focus of the other is on the care of the writer-self. Both encourage reflection. I’ve learned something from each. And I suppose that’s the point. Have you attended a conference in-person? How did it go? Have you made it through a webinar? Which do you prefer?

Written by Michele Venne

Writer of immersive and intriguing stories.

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