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6 Reasons Why You Should Attend A Writing Retreat

I’ve been running workshops and holding retreats for many years and I am excited to share my top 6 reasons a writing retreat could be just what you need to take your writing to the next level.

Part of what inspired me to create writing workshops and retreats was that I couldn’t find what I needed. Without a doubt, I learned and grew from every workshop and class I attended, but I was looking for smaller groups where we wrote more and talked less—so that’s what I designed.

My retreats in Tuscany and Martha’s Vineyard are small, and I encourage my students to write like crazy, and they are usually amazed by the work they produce.

If a writing retreat is the right next step, here are some reasons that might help you decide.

1. Leave the distractions behind

Getting away from the distractions of daily life is one of the prime benefits of attending a writing retreat. You are retreating from the demands of your everyday life—there are no meals to cook, no chores to do, no plans to make, no job to go to, and no one to answer to except yourself.

You already know how hard it can be to find time to write, and getting to your desk without being derailed by distractions (we all have a junk drawer that needs organizing or a dishwasher that needs unloading) is one of the biggest hurdles.

When you go on a retreat, distractions are minimized, and you can focus solely on your writing.

2. Clear your mind and find focus

Once you begin to relax, your mind will settle, and your writing will come into focus. In the space created by removing the distractions, you will reconnect with the writer you are, the one buried under the demands of daily life back home.

A structured retreat can be beneficial to those of us who are multitaskers. At a retreat, you will have just one “task” to focus on—your writing—when the mind is fully engaged with one objective only, connecting with the creative flow and writing fluidly and naturally is much easier.

3. Improve your writing skills

Not all retreats offer focused instruction; some simply take care of your needs and leave your days open for personal writing. There might be a gathering at some point each day when participants can share their work and discuss the craft. This type of retreat is best if you have a project underway and know how to structure your time.

If you are looking for inspiration, instruction, and support, look for a retreat that offers structured writing sessions that include discussion of the craft, provide writing prompts, and give feedback. This type of retreat is best for anyone who wants to start a writing project, jumpstart a stalled project, deepen an understanding of the craft, improve writing skills, and explore the creative process.

4. Find inspiration

Villa Castellare de’ Sernigi in Tuscany
Villa Castellare de’ Sernigi, Tuscany

The search for inspiration is one of the prime reasons writers attend writing retreats. We all run out of inspiration at times. Perhaps you don’t know what to write about, don’t like anything you write, or just don’t feel motivated—you aren’t necessarily blocked, just not inspired.

There’s nothing like a change of locale to get the juices flowing. If you can travel, then go for it! You will experience a stimulating shift in perspective, and your new surroundings will also be energizing.

Also, there’s nothing like being around a new group of people to activate the imagination—just make sure to find your tribe. Some retreats skew more toward younger writers, while others cater to an older crowd, and, of course, some are a mix of both. Look at the pictures on the retreat website to see what the gang looks like, and don’t be afraid to ask specific questions during the intake process.

5. Support and camaraderie

A writing retreat can be a fantastic place to find support, but as I’ve said above, you need to make the best match possible regarding gender and age. Everyone is there for the same reason, which creates a natural connection point, and the desire to support usually follows.

I’ve found that camaraderie flows naturally from the workshop sessions where the writers explore, share their work, and give supportive feedback. Most retreats integrate group meals and outings, which help create an ambiance of fellowship.

6. Individual attention

Kathryn Kay

Private coaching can be invaluable in helping you find your voice, hone your ideas, and get your writing on track. However, most retreats, especially large ones, cannot accommodate individual sessions with the instructor. If a private consultation is important to you, then make sure to ask if this is included.

About Kathryn Kay

Kathryn Kay, writing retreat host.
Kathryn Kay

Kathryn Kay is an author, editor, writing coach, and the founder of A Writer Within. She holds an MFA in creative writing and is the author of the novel The Gilder. As an experienced and innovative teacher, Kathryn has been offering writing workshops for 25 years. She knows what it’s like to start a writing project or be stuck in the middle of one without a clear way forward, and is an expert on how to structure a writing practice, prioritized ideas, set goals, and get the best words on the page. In 2017 her dream of holding writing retreats for women in Tuscany became a reality, and her retreat can be found on many of the “best retreats” lists, including The Write Life. Kathryn believes that freeing your writer within can lead to the writing life you’ve always wanted.

Find out more about A Writer Within Writing Retreats and connect with Kathryn on her website, Instagram, and Facebook.