Tag Archives: Writing circle

Writer’s Retreat. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

When I signed up for my writer’s retreat, I was looking forward to a weekend away from the chaos of my life.

I had a vision of a sleepy little cabin and absolute quiet, with 7 others as focused as I was.

Boy, was I in for a surprise.

My husband warned me, “There’s probably going to be alcohol.”

“No,” I said.  “These are grown women, not a bunch of kids.  We are all going there to write.”

He smiled and shook his head.  Geez, I hate it when he’s right.

When I got there, I went to the kitchen to put my stuff in the refrigerator, and found the table covered with enough liquor to fuel a small public bar.  Ummm… there are only eight of us, right?

There were a few other people there, and they were chatting.  That’s okay.  We were getting to know each other.  But of course, they would eventually stop to write, right?  Ugh.  No.

Eventually I left, and went to my room to try to write.  It was too uncomfortable, though.  So I went back to the kitchen and set up at the table, cranking my headphones to drown them out.

“It’s okay,”  I thought.  “Tomorrow, everyone will have this out of their system, and they will start writing.

Imagine my surprise when they started pouring alcohol into their orange juice at breakfast.

Thank goodness, someone thought up “quiet time.”  They set up an alarm clock and no one could talk for hour stints.  My problem is that I just get going by the time the hour is up.  If I had more silence, I would be flying.

In truth, I think only one other person there was as devoted to writing as I was.  Two were half-devoted.  Two more were kind-of interested in writing, and two people were only there to socialize and drink.  One of which I don’t even think turned on her computer.

Not quite the creative atmosphere my naïve little mind had hoped for.

The good thing was, I completed my first draft.  The bad thing was, I only completed my first draft.  I was hoping to get a few edits in as well.

I am looking at this as a learning experience.

#1 Ask questions first.  See what other’s hopes for the retreat are.  If everyone isn’t on the same page, you might not be happy with the results.

#2 Don’t go into an unknown situation with goals that you HAVE TO achieve.  The Unknowns will drag you down.

Now, honestly, this is completely my fault for not knowing
what I was getting into.  This retreat happens twice a year.  This is just what they do.  No harm, no foul.  It was just not what I expected.

Would I go again?  Yes, probably, but I wouldn’t want to work on something important that I was up against a deadline with, because there was not as much writing time as I’d hoped for.

I might also watch to see who else is going, depending on how much work I really wanted to get done.

I mean, I like these people.  They are nice, we had a good time.    The problem is that I was there to write… and some people were there for different reasons.

My mistake…