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Jun 08

Ingredients for a Successful Writers Retreat

How to have a successful writers (writers’? writer’s?) retreat, if you’re me:

Cabin-in-the-Woods

Ours wasn’t quite this upscale, but you get the idea!

  1. A low-distraction location. My author friend and I rented an AirBnB with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, and a living room—perfect for us, because it was exactly what we needed and no more. Bonus: it was decorated with tons and tons of books. Of course, the Internet is still a distraction, but that’s true anywhere.
  2. Comfy furniture. Ergonomic furniture is nice, but hard to transport, so comfy for the laptops is the next best thing.
  3. Caffeine. Lots of caffeine. And herbal tea for the evenings.
  4. Music. My friend has a Sonos speaker which we both hooked up to and it was playing basically anytime we were there and awake. It was really convenient that we could each control the music and the volume, based on whoever had a preference. (Let’s be honest, that was usually me.) She also had headphones in case we wanted different moods at the same time.
  5. A goal. She had a goal of “write as many words as possible” (she already had a scene-by-scene outline ready). I had just gotten edits back from a freelance editor and I wanted to “make progress,” but I would’ve been less distractable if I’d had a more specific goal. Also it turns out that editing is just time-consuming.
  6. Maggie Stiefvater, if you can! We organized the retreat around a workshop she was giving with Court Stevens, which turned out to be amazing in itself, but also gave us an excuse to meet other writers (who already liked the presenters, so we automatically had something in common). Let me assure you that Maggie and Court are just as fantastic in person as they are on Twitter.

Stat of the weekend: We wrote a combined 19,000 words! (Spoiler alert: I wrote 0. But I did actually make progress.)

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