Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ten Benefits of Going on a Writers' Retreat

While writers need solitude for honing their craft, going on a writers' retreat provides an opportunity to immerse in an intensive, uplifting and focused writing experience.

When I got an email from the Illinois chapter of The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) inviting writers to get lost in the tranquility of nature and find your Words in the Woods at a June retreat, I couldn't resist applying.

And, yes, I'm very glad I went to the Words in the Woods 2012: Moving your Story Forward retreat. Here are ten benefits I and other writers experienced in just one long weekend, Friday, June 22 to Sunday, June 24 at Villa Maria in Springfield, IL:

Face-to-face critiques with an editor, agent or writer
Alexandra Penfold, "Ty" King, Marissa Moss

Front-row seats to listen and learn from guest speakers: editor Alexandra Penfold (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers), agent Kristy “Ty” King (Writers House), and author/illustrator/publisher Marissa Moss

Workshops on creating characters and developing vivid settings and plots for page-turning middle-grade and young adult novels, as well as picture books

Speaker panels on revision, marketing and career-development

Manuscript exchanges and camaraderie with other writers sharing stories and ideas in a cozy environment
Lake Springfield, our backyard

Open mic time to read stories and works-in-progress

Lovely natural treasures such as the Lincoln Trail and Lake Springfield right in our backyard

Delicious meals and freedom from time spent cooking and caring for family members

Singing by the campfire under a starry sky

And, yes, even dancing in pjs at a pajama party 
What a wonderful event! If you have the opportunity
to go on a writers' retreat, take it.

A heartfelt thank you to the Words in the Woods retreat committee (Louann Brown, John Bowen, Anastasia Ely, Sara Latta and Alice McGinty) for awarding me the Becky Mabry “Go for It” Words in the Woods scholarship covering full tuition, a professional critique and room and board. Thank you!

Thank you, Illinois SCBWI, for bringing in such high-caliber publishing professionals.

Now I am inspired to write, write, write!
Have you been on a writers' retreat? Like them? Don't like them? Know of any great ones? Please share your experiences below in comments. 

Pajama Party art goes hog wild
Quiet writing time in the library

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