What Is a Writers' Retreat, Anyway?
That isn't necessarily what other writers think of as retreats, though. A writer friend once told me she didn't see the point of going away to be with other people and then work and not be with them. I've also heard a writer discussing a retreat she attended at which writers worked together on a couch while either instant messaging or tweeting each other. The writer telling this story had a good time.
Additionally, many writers' retreats have programs and events scheduled for most of the day. They're like mini-conferences for limited numbers of people often in a remote, scenic area. My guess is that the big difference between a conference and these kinds of retreats is the size and the number of programs offered each hour--one at a retreat versus multiple at a conference. At any rate, many retreats appear to be about something other than actually working.
How To Get The Best Bang For Your Time
Choose Carefully. I contacted the Falling Leaves staff to see if there would be any writing time during the weekend before applying. In addition, this is a master class retreat. While there are four presentations from editors, those presentations are related to the manuscripts we submitted in order to be accepted, and we've had to prepare for them. This could end up being like some kind of monastic study experience. I'll actually be bringing two projects to work on.
Create Objectives. I had three original objectives for the retreat when applying.
- Getting away from Gail Universe and enter another for a couple of days.
Now, I have far more experience obsessing about time and how I'm using it than I do with writers' retreats, but the way I feel right now, it's unlikely I would take the time to go to a writers' retreat that is primarily presentations without a specific work project involved.
But we will see how I feel about the time involved for writers' retreats next week. At the very least, I'm expecting to meet my objective of getting away from Gail Universe for a couple of days.