A Room of One’s Own
Have you ever been on a writing retreat? What would your ideal writing retreat look like?
How blissful would it be to be in a lovely place with blazing fast wifi, comfy chairs and ample views, with nothing to think about but your work? It would be awesome to have plenty of time only for writing, researching, even reading inspiring works, be they novels or books on writing craft.
I have a lovely present from my folks for this weighty birthday coming up, and I want to spend it wisely. My ideal scene would be two weeks in Italy, one week cycling from gorgeous vista to gorgeous vista, and another week in an Italian town I hadn’t yet visited, maybe Torino, or Palermo, or Pesaro.
But alas, airfare to Europe is so costly these days! I was thinking of doing a bike trip in California wine country instead, and then the idea of a week-long writing retreat popped into my head.
I started Googling, and although there are many sites with long lists of writer’s retreats and conferences, I’m having trouble finding just the right fit.
Some look too airy-fairy, too crunchy and loose in structure. Others look like conferences. Others look like someone’s chance to fleece the bewildered. Some are just too pricey.
My Ideal Writing Retreat – A Checklist
- Pretty Location, prefer seaside
- Highly structured schedule
- Free reliable fast wifi
- Cute and comfortable lodgings with views, air conditioning and comfy chairs, nice desk setups
- Food delivery to lodgings
- Crit sessions with industry professionals, established writer, editor or agent once per day.
- No bias against genre fiction or literary elitism of any kind! (Seriously, is 1984 not literature? Because it’s Science Fiction, people! Insert rant here.)
- Terrain that’s great for walking, running and biking.
- Organized morning and evening hikes, runs and bike rides
- A nice variety of attendees, like maybe 50 or so
- A lap pool with lots of lanes would be awesome!
- Daily yoga sessions in morning and evening
- Organic locally sourced and yet very yummy food
- Nighttime networking activities
- Karaoke, maybe?
- Both genders, because humanity has that, and I write about humans. Okay, those humans, some of them can do magic and turn into animals, but they are still humans.
- Communal dinner and encouragement to meet new folks and chat over a meal daily
- Within 5 hours driving of Los Angeles
Doe such a thing exist? You tell me. I haven’t found it yet. Am I asking for too much?
Writing Retreats I’m Considering, Somewhat
Here are a few I found:
Is this one all girls? Is it all about writing a self-help books? Shouldn’t the site quickly answer such questions? An inability to communicate key info does not give me great confidence in the quality of the retreat. That’s not cool. What’s the opposite of a sausage fest? I don’t want it, whatever it is. The location is perfect, though.
The text on this site worries me, although the location can’t be beat. And all this talk of Steinbeck, whose work I love, makes me think the literary bias thing might be at play. Read the poem they put on their page and, umm, tell me what you think.
Dude, you have a whole bunch of words, some fair to middling poetry about Carmel, and a picture of an inn’s courtyard. I can book me an inn. What I want is a retreat.
Help Me Find a Good One
What am I saying? None of these is just right. What do you think, dear readers? Please share your expertise and experience with me!
Please feel free to leave questions or comments.