In the spring of 2018 I was searching for retreats where I could hone my writing even more. I had been steadily attending The Loft classes, and the book was progressing, but I wanted more.
Of course I Googled “Writing Retreats” and a plethora of hits came up. I was excited for about three minutes. Then I began to calculate the total cost of some of these retreats.
There were some “local” offerings, but they were weeklong and over $1000. The cool ones were in country homes in places like Tuscany or Ireland or the quaint countryside of England. Then there were the writer/extreme adventurer types—write while you climb a mountain, or escape to the Himalayans.
The inexpensive ones were offered a writing locale but little else. I wanted a retreat that I would learn from the other attendees.
Thus Retreat2Write was born. I have a lovely lake home on a northern Minnesota lake. I’m watching the geese with their goslings paddling behind them right now. Yesterday I saw a Sand Hill Crane glide out along the creek that runs along the house. Last night I watched three Netflix movies in a row (sad, I know.) So, I had the place. All I needed was the program, people, and promotions to fill the seats.
Originally I scheduled four Retreat2Write workshops, but ended up with one. Life got in the way. The format/program revolved around working alone, and then coming together to share, eat, drink and laugh. My book club said I needed to have a Mindfulness component. And I wanted a tangible result of the work—so I decided everyone who attended would contribute to an anthology that would be published on Amazon.
Our inaugural Retreat2Write was a smashing success. Fun, mentally stimulating, a great mix of guests and creative perspectives. The weather, true to Minnesota’s reputation, was COLD. It was held the first week of October, normally my favorite time of year at the lake, but this year we woke to snow.
We all wrote down random thoughts on slips of paper that became our writing prompts for the weekend. And the mindfulness exercises became a must-have prior to each writing session.
The workshop ran from Thursday night to Sunday noon. We had plenty of time to write and share. Saturday night became improv night, where we narrated, acted, and laughed at ourselves and our work. Through the week we made some discoveries about our work and ourselves. We spent time on basic marketing principles—product, placement, promotion, pricing, production. We thought about our writing goals, and we wrote it all down!
This year I will be hosting two retreats, both in the fall. To me there’s something magical about northern Minnesota in the fall, knowing that the deepfreeze is coming, the days are not so short, but not long like in June. The colors of my world burst forth in yellows, golds, and reds. It is perfect inspiration. That and a glass of wine and the picture is complete.