Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Writers Retreats

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!

YOUR TURN
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?

24 comments:

  1. Oh, Carol I wish I could go! I have ALWAYS wanted to go on a writer's retreat. And the fact you would be there? Ahhhh! It's killing me that I can't. :(

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  2. I've been to writer's conferences and I went to a Leadership retreat in Colorado--in winter. It was a lot of fun. My agency is having a writer's retreat in Monterey in October and I'm looking forward to that. Your retreat sounds great!

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  3. I'm hoping to attend - so please put me on your list! Meeting you, and the rest of the Oregon gang at the SCBWI event last October, was a blast! Although I would love to have the retreat include editors and agents; I would also enjoy attending just for the chance to rekindle my new friendships!
    Thanks, Carol!

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  4. Your retreat sounds like it'll be wonderful. I've never been to one, but I like the sound of open-mic to share our work in a different way. That would be lots of fun. And it goes without saying that any day I don't have to cook is a good thing!

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  5. Sounds awesome! I wish I could come there, but as you said, it would probably cost more to get there than the retreat itself. I hope it all goes the way you hope. You'll have to let us know all about it in October.

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  6. It sounds fantastic. I've been to conferences, but not to retreats. I'd love to go to one, whether they have contacts or not.

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  7. A writing retreat sounds like so much fun! I once rented a room in a north woods retreat center. Basically, they had a huge log cabin and you could rent an individual room. The only expectation was that you showed up for the meals and everyone chipped in to clear the table/dry dishes. With 8 people doing it, the chores didn't take long and soon I was back in my room, furiously writing.

    I can't wait to go back. Best of luck with your retreat planning!

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  8. Your retreat sounds great. I can't comment much about retreats now. I'm attending my first one in March. I am really looking forward to it. I've been to lots of conferences, though. Love them. I do like that conferences and/or retreats include editors, authors with lots of experience, and agents. Not for the connection potential, but for the opportunity to learn from those with more experience.

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  9. I think it might cost me a little too much to fly from Australia ;) Wish I could attend because it sounds brilliant.

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  10. It does sound wonderful... But I know of another retreat on offer in Queensland... Just a little closer for me. ;)

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  11. I would love to go a retreat or conference, but haven't yet. Too bad Oregon is a wee bit too out of my way. :(

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  12. I've organized my own self-imposed retreats: at cabins or hotels. But I think part of the fun of a big retreat is meeting and communing with other writers. I would definitely attend one without agents/editors, as long as there were people there, such as accomplished authors, who could talk about craft issues.

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  13. I'd love to go to a retreat - more than a conference. A conference sounds a bit overwhelming, perhaps even exhausting whereas a retreat sounds re-invigorating and relaxing and creative. Keep us posted about this event! I probably can't afford it now but who knows what will happen in the months to come...?

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  14. Sounds fabulous... sigh! I'd love to go on a retreat. I've been to loads of conferences, which are fun but very tiring. A retreat sounds right up my street!

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  15. ooo... I've never been on a writer's retreat, but they sound just divine. Jessica's doing that one in Ithaca. Imagine. Greece... :o) <3

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  16. I've never even met other writers face to face. I'm a bit too scared to try a conference alone, but a weekend retreat sounds brilliant! :D Good luck with the planning.

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  17. I'm going on my first-ever retreat in April - can't wait! Good luck with yours, it sounds like it will be a lot of fun!

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  18. I'm so excited for this retreat! And Carol, you are doing a fab job spearheading the planning committee.

    Callie Kingston

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  19. Retreat time—woo hoo! Have a great time getting recharged.

    We had one retreat in our writer's group and it was a BLAST! We went to a member's aunt's farm and stayed in the guest apartment, which was beautifully decorated and had it's own complete kitchen.

    For things to pack? Don't forget laptops, scratch paper, pencils, and chocolate. : )

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  20. Sounds awesome! I'm actually going on my first ever retreat in a couple of weeks, with a couple of writer friends. It's pretty informal. We just rented a house in the mountains driving distance away and are planning to hole ourselves up and write a ton. :)

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  21. Carol, I so admire the work and energy you've been putting into planning the retreat!

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  22. How nice that you get to do the retreat! I have never gone to one but I bet I would love it more than a conference:)

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  23. ooo send me the link for this Carol! I have vacation during that time and I fly for free... so at that affordable price, I'd be totally up for this!! pakazo77@gmail.com

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