Four-and-a-half years ago I attended my first Writers’ Retreat: best part of a week at the Garsdale Retreat in the Yorkshire Dales and on the edge of the Pennines. It proved to be a rewarding and productive experience, and one which – in many ways – succeeded in being something of a launchpad in terms of me taking my writing seriously.
Many thens of thousands of words have flowed under the authorial bridge since then, all leading to the production of a number of novels and short stories, and some volumes of poetry. And not only have I attended other retreats since 2017, I have also started mentoring at them and hope to have three or four such gigs during 2022.
In a little over two weeks I am going back to Garsdale for another chance to be selfish (from a writing perspective), hoping to be inspired (by the environment and company), and certain to be spoiled by the hospitality of Hamish and Rebecca – and Rebecca’s wonderful food!
In many ways it will an important few days, giving me the chance both to ‘re-baseline’ where I am as a writer (and now a publisher too!) as well as the opportunity to try and judge how far I’ve come in the last 53 months or so.
When looking back at the post I wrote the day before my 2017 visit (quoted below), it’s interesting to note how much still rings true today…
Tomorrow afternoon I go away to my very first “Writers’ Retreat”. A week in a remote Pennines location with like-minded folk; four full days with nothing to get in the way of writing – and walking, talking, reading, and taking photographs.
Perhaps it’s long overdue, I don’t know. But I can confess to being a little nervous.
Not about the writing, per se – although the prospect of having all that time to dedicate to it, maybe up to 8 hours per days, is daunting enough. After all, is it possible / desirable to try and fill every available moment trying to be creative? Somehow I doubt it.
It’s more about the environment and the company; and by company I don’t mean the other writers on the Retreat with me, but rather myself. How will I perform as company for me – if that makes sense?!
I go away with a kind of plan in terms of what I’d like to be working on, but fully expect to come back with something I hadn’t foreseen – which is fine of course. Success will, I suppose, be the production of something, progressing something already in-train, and whatever it is being of sufficient quality. Success may end up being other things too, of course: a great photo, new friends, finding answers to questions I didn’t realise that needed to be addressed…
Exciting stuff.To advance, Retreat..! Writing Retreat – Day 1 Writing Retreat – Day 2 Writing Retreat – Day 3 Writing Retreat – Day 4 (last)