Do you ever feel like running away to write? Wouldn’t it be fun to escape from it all, and simply have some quality time to write?
Writing retreats provide an excellent opportunity to dedicate some time to working on your book or manuscript. It’s all about location and environment and usually there is a healthy blend of relaxation, tutoring, encouragement, and constructive feedback. You may even establish some new friendships with other writers and artists.
Who Are Writer’s Retreats For?
Most retreats are open to writers at all stages of experience. A retreat can be especially good if:
- Your regular schedule doesn’t provide much time for writing
- You know you’d do more writing in an environment that’s ‘more conducive’ to writing.
- You love exotic travel and writing, and you would like to combine the two.
The Different Kinds of Writer’s Retreat
There are different kinds of writer’s retreat, from rustic cabins that can be rented by the month through to highly organized trips to exotic destinations.
While some writer’s retreats are organised as profit-making ventures, there are also many that are provided more as a service to the writing community. These include writing retreats organised by universities, arts councils and writers’ organisations. The organizers of these may expect you to give something back, for example they may want you to tend to the property, speak at a local community group, give a reading at the town library, or teach a writing class. Some universities also have ‘artist-in-residence’ positions where you will be provided with a good place to write in exchange for teaching a class.
Commercially organized trips usually have no such requirements. You’ll travel to a splendid location and should have plenty of time to write, usually together with a group of other writer and instructors on hand to provide mentoring and guidance.
So where are the most exotic retreats for writers? Here is a selection of upcoming retreats that you might like to consider.
The Writer’s Retreat of Your Dreams, in Bali, Vietnam & Laos, Greek Islands, or California
Laura Davis is leading a number of upcoming retreats to various exotic locations including Bali (16 – 31 July 2016), Vietnam & Laos (29 December 2015 – 14 January 2016), The Greek Islands of Crete and Santorini (17 May 2016 – 1 June 2016) and at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, USA (8 – 10 April 2016).
Literary Adventures, Spain
The Literary Consultancy, based in London, organizes writing retreats in a four-century old Spanish casa in the Alpujarras mountains. These retreats are overseen by published author and journalist Rebecca Adams and scheduled each autumn and spring (northern hemisphere seasons). I love the slogan on their website, “Literary Values in a Digital Age”.
Under the Volcano, Mexico
A 10-day retreat every January in Tepoztlán, Mexico. This retreat is intended for committed writers with projects underway. The program is open to poets, short story writers, novelists, journalists, librettists, memoirists and essayists, as well as those working on projects that challenge traditional genre lines. Fiction workshops are conducted in both English and Spanish.
Paris Writers Retreat, France
Story and manuscript development come alive at this acclaimed, professional workshop for authors of fiction, nonfiction, screenplays, plays and poetry. The Rohm Literary Agency offers two retreats each year in Paris. It is hosted by best-selling author and literary agent Wendy Goldman Rohmand with featured guests including other New York Times bestselling authors and literary agents.
Australian Writers Centre Overseas Writing Tours
The Australian Writers Centre organizes writer’s retreats and tours to locations such as Vietnam, Bali, Paris and Oxford. From food writing to life writing to fiction, you will be guided by respected published writers in emotive settings designed to get the creative juices flowing.
The Writers Lab in Skyros, Greece
This writer’s retreat on a Greek Island was described by The Guardian in 2008 as No. 1 of the World’s Five Best Writing Holidays. it is held every week from June to September each year and guided by award-winning published authors.
Vancouver School of Writing, Mexico
Two retreats are held for 7 days each in January and February near Manzanillo in Mexico, led by writing coach and author Kathrin Lake. The Vancouver School of Writing is down at the moment so the link above might not work immediately, but you can still get details from Kathrin’s website.
The Writers Journey in Bali, Bhutan, Burma, Fiji, Japan, Morocco, Thailand or Vietnam.
These writer’s retreats in various exotic locations are led by Jan Cornall, a writer, performer and teacher based in Sydney, Australia. Jan specializes in a technique she has developed called ‘meditative writing’. Her international writing retreats offer essential tools, methods and ongoing support for beginners and experienced, published and unpublished writers of all genres.
Women’s Freedom to Create Retreat in Costa Rica
This retreat for women will be held November 1-8th, 2015 at the Samasati Nature Reserve on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Gain confidence and hone your writing skills as you develop your own personal needs through self-care, relaxing massages, walking in the rain forest, yoga and meditation and good food.
Now who’s saving for their next trip!
What do you think about writer’s retreats?
If you have been on a retreat I’d love for you to share your experiences in the comments below.