You've decided to get away for the weekend with some friends (or strangers!) for an awesome, writer's retreat experience. With enough planning, the right vibes and a safe, creative environment, this can be a life-changing experience that inspires your next piece of literary genius.
These are a few of our favorite tips on how to make your writers’ retreat a fun and fulfilling experience!
How to Host a Successful Writer's Retreat
Find an Inspirational Writer's Retreat Venue
A writer's retreat venue is all about a change of scenery and some space for your brain to create! Plan to get out of your usual habits and escape the daily norm to find your new inspiration. Set your writers group up for success by selecting an atmosphere where brains can run wild, without the usual distractions. We believe the best way to think differently, is to be somewhere different.
Pick a writer's retreat venue that is comfortable, so that you can really connect with your creativity. Something warm and rich with history. Historic Texas venues offer the perfect setting to transport your creative mind to a different time and place! You’ll want to make sure to choose a venue with enough common space for group activities, as well as some cozy nooks and crannies for independent writing time.
Historic homes have a tendency to offer lots of variety throughout the house that you just don't get anymore in newer builds. This can include the architecture, gorgeous wallpapers, wood and stone aesthetics and even flavorful decor from room to room. We recommend a writer's retreat venue with era-specific furniture, fireplace, brass antiques and color of money wallpapers that can send your brain into a creative overdrive.
Take Inspiration from Nature
The fact that some of the best poetry in the world is about nature should tell you something. Did you know Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars" was written while laying down in a garden?
Weather-permitting, take your group outside to do some journaling and adventuring. Pay attention to small details like the robin’s song, the little red berries on tree branches, or the shapes of different leaves. Challenge everyone to write at least one haiku inspired by something they see outside. Some of your notes can also help set the opening scene for your next fiction or nonfiction story.
Oftentimes, the hardest part is simply getting started. Find the motivation and the ideas by spending some time outside to clear your mind and awaken your senses. It's time to get focused on your next project.
Try some flash fiction
If you haven’t heard of flash fiction before, welcome to your new obsession! You can use this activity either to write stories that are publishable on their own, or to practice your fiction skills for writing longer stories. You’ll be surprised just how much of a compelling story you can convey in a short amount of words.
Flash fiction is 1,000 words or less, which offers the perfect chance to work those creative muscles and get warmed up to writing short fiction. Plus, there’s even a market for publishing these pieces! Check out these examples online to get an idea of storytelling with few words, and then try it out with your group during your writer's retreat.
Incorporate Words of Wisdom from Authors
All writers can think of some published literary works that inspired them to the craft. But what about the voices behind those works?
Engage in a thought-provoking activity at your writers’ retreat venue by giving participants an assignment to bring a quote, public statement or piece of advice from an author. Go around the circle and share everyone’s found words of wisdom. This will get the creative juices flowing and remind everyone that they are real writers, just like the authors they look up to. Check out some of these Stephen King quotes to start with.
Spend Some Time Reading
Becoming a great writer isn’t just about writing – it’s also about reading. In the words of Pablo Picasso, "Good artists borrow, great artists steal."
If you want to write for a travel magazine, bring a stack of them to dive into during the retreat. If you want to write poetry, bring a collection of the best poetry books. If you want to write horror, bring some of the classics and some modern works – you get the idea.
Take this opportunity to be get inspiration from the best, or brainstorm how you can challenge the norms and trends in your genre. To make it a more interactive group activity, take turns reading aloud to each other – just like in school! Who doesn’t love having someone read to them?
Workshop as a Group
Perhaps the most critical component of the writer's retreat is getting feedback from other writers on your work. Two eyes are better than one and several eyes are better than two. This can really take you to the next level by understanding your own words from the view of someone else you trust.
While much of the weekend can be unstructured time for inspiration, you should spend about one hour (set a timer!) with everyone writing independently in their own little areas. They can either continue a project they’ve been working on, or take some of their inspiration from the weekend and come up with something new and creative. After one hour of writing, pair up for some feedback, and then share some samples with the group and discuss what you’ve learned. This group workshop is really the bread and butter of the writers’ retreat! Optimal timing for the activity would be right in the middle of the retreat, after some activities and before others.
Remember to Leave Room for Fun
What would a writer's retreat be without some fun to top it all off? Try these book-inspired cocktails from Pinterest. Cook a big meal for everyone. Do some improvised storytelling around the fireplace. Play some board games and charades. Take some photos to inspire your story. After all, you can’t write the world's next relatable, bestselling story without integrating some fun!
Day-to-day monotony can be a creativity killer, but a writers’ retreat is just what you need to cure that writers’ block and find new inspiration. Be sure to thank your favorite historic Texas writer's retreat venue when you’re a famous author someday!
What are you waiting for? Grab some friends, bring some jazz and host your Roaring 20s Party at a historic Texas venue, today. How about the Olde House in Wylie, TX? Book now
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