And They’re Off . . . Is a Retreat Right for You?

This is going to be a short post because I’m leaving for my retreat at Missouri’s Trout Lodge.  Friday Evening to Sunday afternoon spent with Charlesbridge editor Randi Rivers and just over 10 other writers.  Hurray for me!

What is the difference between a retreat and a workshop or conference?  Is it just the overnight stay?

To me, a workshop means writing exercises and hands on.  A conference features more speakers and less actual writing but there may be some.  Often there is a choice of sessions.   or retreat can include writing exercises, presentations and writing time.

But it depends on how your organizer uses the terms so read the details carefully. With the Missouri SCBWI, a retreat is a small overnight event.  That means almost 48 hours with an editor and no more than 15 other writers.  It is an intense learning experience with serious one-on-one time with the speaker.  You learn in the one-on-one session and the group sessions and then you go off and apply what you’ve just learned to your own work.  A lot of us rewrite what we worked over with the editor.  Sometimes we apply the lessons to something else as well.  Either way, we spend some serious time writing.  All in all, it is a real growth experience.  In part, it is because we figure in writing time.  Also, it small.  Finally, it is limited to SCBWI PAL members.

Is this the event for everyone?  Nope.  A new writer would probably be overwhelmed by the information and the intensity, but, having chatted with several other writers, all PAL members, who regularly attend, it is just this intensity that we crave to take our writing to the next level.

Whether you are an experienced writer or a new writer, there are writing events to meet most every need.  Before you sign up for an event, read the brochure.  It is just like studying a market to find the one that is right for you and your work.  Do your research, come prepared and, if you’ve chosen the right event, your hard work will pay off.


2 thoughts on “And They’re Off . . . Is a Retreat Right for You?

  1. You’ll love Randi! She’s so nice. I’ve emailed her questions since I met her at Chautauqua in 08 and she always answers me. 🙂 She loves getting postcards from writers, so I always send her one when I’m on a trip. 🙂

    Have a wonderful time!

    1. Sharon,
      Randi is definitely top notch! This is the second retreat with her that I attended and, again, I learned so much. Will blog about it later in the week. Right now, off to shower and then bed. I had a great time, but I always come home wiped out.

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