Skip to content

When Not to Attend A Writing Retreat

If you’ve read my blog posts or any part of my website, you know I’m all in on writing retreats. I believe they’re the fastest way for you to achieve your writing and publishing (self or trad) goals.

Knowing my thoughts about writing retreats, it may surprise you that there are times I recommend you don’t attend one.

You don’t know why you’re going

If you don’t have at least a general idea of why you want to attend a writing retreat, save your time and money until you do.

This isn’t to say you need to have extremely detailed goals for your writing output, although you could. The point is to know what you hope to get out of the writing retreat before going. For instance, do you want to gain clarity on an idea, hear feedback from fellow writers, or use a one-on-one session with the instructor to get your story back on track?

Take time to dig deep and decide what you want to happen at a writing retreat to help your writing goals, then search for retreats that fit your specific needs.

You think it’s a magic bullet to publishing

Yes, a writing retreat can help you reach your writing and publishing goals faster, but you have to be realistic about what stage you’re in for your WIP.

Whether you’re in the idea phase, ready for final edits, or somewhere in between, a writing retreat will help you leapfrog towards your publishing goals. However, the earlier in the process you are, the less likely you’ll leave a retreat with a publishing ready manuscript.

Use the week or two of dedicated time at a writing retreat to make as much progress as possible towards your goals.

You don’t have the money for a writing retreat

If you have to max out a credit card or know that paying for a writing retreat will cause you financial issues, please don’t spend money to attend one.

If you try to convince yourself it’s an investment, make a spreadsheet and assess how long it will take you to pay off the costs from any earnings from your book. There are many free to low-cost resources to help you uplevel your writing until you can afford to attend a writing retreat.