The past week I've volunteered to head up a retreat for writer and illustrators near Salem, Oregon. I've been busy thinking of the ten billion details that make up a retreat. Ours will be held October 19-21st. You're welcome to attend! Just let me know in the comments, and I'll send you a registration link in July. The cost will be $185 for 6 meals and 2 nights. For those of you out of state, it would most likely cost you more to fly or drive out here than attend! I wish you all could come so we could meet in person. (Photo: Aldersgate Retreat Center, Turner, Oregon. Likely spot for our 2012 retreat!)
Retreats are often different from conferences. They usually are held in a more informal setting, like the coast or the mountains. We can wear jeans and comfortable shoes! We don't have to cook for ourselves! We can take a hike down a trail or take in the scenery on our breaks! Those are great incentives right there. Retreats can also involve more personal workshops and individual critiques; there is usually a smaller ratio of professionals to writers.
Retreats are meant to inspire and recharge a writer's creative batteries. It's great to interact with others who share our passions in a setting that gets us away from the bustle and demands of everyday life.
Retreats also can encourage us to be more professional with our writing, to take our work to the next higher level. This can turn a writing "hobby" into something more serious. We can be encouraged to try for agent representation or publication.
Our Oregon retreat will feature: local speakers, an open mike session to share our writing, critique group sessions, a Saturday night party (possibly costume), door prizes donated by members, time to unwind and just write, warm-up writing prompts, member book sales, and we're aiming to feature critiques from published authors and agents.
So yeah. Since I was busy organizing this retreat, I didn't have time to write up a "real" blogpost. But I'm curious as to your experiences, to help me plan, so chime in below!
Have you ever gone on a retreat? How about a conference?
Do you have any suggestions for things to be sure to include in "my" retreat?
Would you still attend a retreat if it did NOT feature any editor or agent contact?
What is your favorite part of a retreat or a conference--socializing/networking, critiques with other writers, not having to cook for yourself, a chance to pitch to an editor or an agent, etc?