by Lynne Fellows
Imagine a whole week – or even longer – dedicated to writing.
No distractions. 100% time for you to focus on those stories within you.
Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?
Why not combine it with a gorgeous venue and like-minded people, plus the chance to improve your skills?
I’m talking about a writer’s retreat.
As writers, it’s not always easy to concentrate on what we love to do most: write. Daily responsibilities steal our time, clog up our mind, and all too often leave us exhausted and unable to even write our own name.
If only we could switch off long enough from those everyday monotonies and obligations…
Hold that thought!
Writer’s retreats are happening all around the world right now. Whether you want to dive into winter at an Icelandic retreat or take an early summer vacation to Georgia, Italy, or Ireland (among others) and combine creativity with European culture.
If you’re US-based, perhaps something a little closer to home appeals. Massachusetts, Colorado, Canada, or even Argentina all have retreats!
Or maybe you fancy going long-haul with a trip to India or Vietnam, mixing writing with meditation so you can really switch off.
I can’t name them all without this turning into a travel log, but I’ve picked a few of my favourites.
Buckle up and join me as I go writing around the world.
Iceland - Learn Icelander sagas and the storytelling of the Hero’s Journey.
Intimate workshops and lectures as well as geothermal hot springs are on offer here.
Choose one of three exclusive full-day outings into the Icelandic countryside, and a literary walking tour of Reykjavík.
At the same time, they’re launching - new for 2020 - the Readers Retreat too for avid readers. That’s gets a bonus point from me.
Tuscany - Connect with your muse in timeless Tuscany
Spend a week in a villa set in the hills above San Gimignano on a wine estate surrounded by verdant rolling hills, olive groves, and vineyards where wild flowers and herbs will assault your senses and summon your creative spirit.
Enjoy the private grounds with two swimming pools as well as abundant indoor and outdoor areas for writing, engaging discussions, and relaxing.
India - India calls. The Himalayas beckon.
Sometimes, it takes a complete change of pace to shake up your writing. Leave your comfort zone and head for India.
While it includes a trip to the Taj Mahal, you spend most of your time in the peaceful, inspiring Himalayas.
In this calm, rural setting, experienced mentors and like-minded peers nourish your writing as does the popcorn on Kitschy Bollywood film night!
Short outings and wilderness hikes enrich your experience while leaving you enough time to write.
Yoga completes the experience with sessions offered every morning and evening for you to choose from.
Ireland – Be more story focused with a Work-in-Progress Fiction Masterclass.
If you want to polish and complete your novel and dig deeper into the language of story, then this Work-in-Progress Masterclass is for you.
Focus on your novel, immerse yourself in your story, and engage in Private Story Sessions, Group Writing Workshops, and Supportive Writing Discussions with plenty of time to write.
Luxurious private rooms with a writing desk, gourmet food, and special individual attention is assured.
USA – Writing at Stump Sprouts
(Okay, so I admit, it was the name that caught my eye initially, but the content proved more than worthy)
This is a four-day, three-night retreat at Stump Sprouts Guest Lodge in Hawley, Massachusetts.
The lodge sits on a high meadow with inspiring views of the surrounding hills and the lower valley. Close at hand are organic vegetable gardens and perennial flowers, and just beyond you will find 450 acres of wild lands networked with hiking trails.
Beginning writers will be find the encouragement and safety they need to let authentic voices emerge.
For writers who understand their artistic process, this is an opportunity to achieve a different tone or experiment with a new aspect of craft.
Georgia – Escape. Explore. Write.
Nurture your creativity, develop your work-in-progress or jumpstart your writing project in one of the world's most gorgeous and inspiring places - Tbilisi, Georgia.
The six-day writing retreat is designed to feed your soul, renew your creativity, and allow you to gain a sense of support and community.
You'll get invaluable advice from world-renowned authors. Topics include: plotting and structuring your novel; turning life into story; creating compelling characters, and getting your work published.
Argentina – A Writer’s Paradise.
Escape the northern hemisphere for a week surrounded by the gorgeous foothills of the Andes mountains where you’ll treat yourself like the literary genius you are. You'll learn from intensive workshops, get lots of writing done, and chill at your own private apartment in bustling city centre.
This retreat is for writers who are struggling to finish their first book or figuring out what exactly they want for their writing lives. If you’re serious about your writing goals, this retreat is for you.
I’ve come to the end of my list, and am shamelessly daydreaming about these far-off lands.
If only … well, I can dream, can’t I?
There are so many more retreats to consider. Maybe there’s one local to you, or one you can recommend. We’d love to hear from you.