I know, I know, a residential writing retreat costs a lot of money but then you are getting board and lodging as well as tuition and even excursions, aren’t you? And they don’t come cheap. Still, it’s a hefty investment, so I thought I would ask a few folk who had attended writing holidays themselves to see whether they thought it was worth the investment. Let’s hear what they have to say:
Life Story Writing in Spain
A few months ago, Monique attended a retreat led by Brenda van Es down in Spain. Brenda, who’s events are led in Dutch, helps memoir-writers to come up with a plot for their work.
“With a laptop full of text I sat down with my fellow writers on the porch of the romantic villa in Spain, only to find out that I had overlooked an essential part of writing a book,” shares Monique. “I missed a solid structure. In my enthusiasm and impatience I had started writing before having a sound base to fall back on. I needed to ask myself why I was writing the book and who I was writing it for to start with. I soon realized I had to start all over again, but now needed to tell my story the other way round. Frustration all over. Should I throw all my written text in the bin? Sharing our emotions and experience within the group slowly brought me back to my true self. I started to enjoy writing again and with the realistic feedback we gave each other we all worked towards an individual writing plan that could support us on the long road towards our book that flirts with us, daring it to be written.”
A Paradise Retreat in Nova Scotia
Barb, a Canadian, recently attended her third Paradise Writers’ Retreat led by author, editor and publisher, Anne O’Connell. I too have attended three of Anne’s retreats in Phuket.
“Anne’s writing retreats are an excellent balance of inspiration, self discovery and practical tips,” says Barb. “There is lots of group time to share and receive feedback, as well as individual time to practice new techniques which can be applied to ongoing or future writing.”
Last November, Janice also attended Anne’s retreat.
“I had the opportunity to attend my first writer’s retreat this past fall. It was the Fourth Annual Paradise Retreat held at the Ocean Stone Resort on the south shore of Nova Scotia,” Janice begins. “Part of what made this experience stand out was the choice of venue, which was spectacular. Listening to and viewing the rolling waves of the ocean was the perfect choice to get the creative juices flowing. I had found myself at a standstill with my writing and needed a change of environment in order to jumpstart one of my novels, of which I have several in the outline process.
So there you have it. Now it is up to you to make up your mind whether a retreat will provide you with just the boost and bonding you are looking for. Would it kick start your writing? If so, maybe you should give it a go?
During 2018 I am running my Writing Me-Treats in The Hague in March, Charente, France in May and Devon in July. I have also been invited back to Lois and Bill’s beautiful Watermill in Tuscany to run my Write Life Story workshop over a full week not once but twice this summer. Sadly, the September one is full but there are still places in August.
Over the years I have tried a variety of learning methods in order to improve my writing skills and knowledge. They range in price from, well, nothing, to more than £1000 and I admit that can seem rather steep. But how effective are they and which provide the best value for money? In this blog I will give you my lowdown on seven different ways to learn. The costs I have used are based on my own experience living in Europe but can vary widely.
SEVEN OF THE BEST WAYS TO LEARN TO BE A BETTER WRITER
1) FREE – Join an online writers’ circle.
3) £10-20 – Go to hear a writer speak at a literary conference
6) £250-£500 – Attend a weekend workshop.
author, journalist, teacher and poet
'Sharing what I know to help others to grow.'
Jo Parfitt has published 31 books, helped more than 100 authors get into print and more than 1,000 to begin writing. She's an inspiring, compassionate and encouraging teacher.
Jo has run Summertime Publishing since 1997. She has lived abroad for almost 30 years – in France, Dubai, Oman, Norway, the Netherlands, Brunei and Malaysia. She specialises in inspiring others who write about expatriate issues.
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