One of my favorite things to do is attend a writer's retreat with my favorite author friends. All of the ladies I hang out with are so busy that we can't go somewhere over night for a real "retreat". We decided to have "mini retreats" where we escape our lives for a day and hang out with other authors.
I have been to big mini writer retreats where about a hundred people attended. The program was extremely detailed and I had to pay to attend. This was fun and I got to meet some great new authors. I learned a lot since the retreat had a well-known speaker.
My favorite kind though are the smaller retreats where we pick a house to meet at. We have somewhat of a plan for the day, we preplan our meals, and enjoy the day with our author friends while we work out writing issues. These types are great for brainstorming. I attended one of these last weekend.
Here are my top 4 tips for a successful mini-retreat:
1. Have a big lunch break! Food is important to replenish your energy. Also, by having a lunch break, we are able to talk about what's going on in our lives which lets us focus during the discussion times. The discussion rarely strays off task because we have this break. Also, we decide what type of food we are having. One time we had Mexican so everyone brought a dish that went well with the others. We also make sure everyone agrees on the food. This works well with our group because we always stay between 3-5 authors at the retreat.
2. Come prepared! This might seem stupid, but when you're in a hurry you just might forget pens and paper. That is exactly what I did last weekend. Luckily for me, everyone brings extra things so I ended up having the stuff I needed. Another thing you need to be prepared for is having material to work on. Everyone should feel like they've gotten something accomplished while they are there or they might not attend another one.
3. Time! We usually have our retreats from 9 am to 4 pm. This works great for us. Its also important to make sure everyone has time to go over what they need to talk about. Last weekend we were brainstorming. I had a very small idea (the characters weren't even named yet!) for a plot and it took a lot of time. Another author had very little time to go over her material and I felt bad. At another author retreat (it was much larger), I had to go last and they nearly forgot me!
4. Have fun!
Have any questions about retreats? Feel free to ask. Also, leave your tips as well! I just might try them at my next retreat!
Talk to you soon,