Writer’s Retreat Review
Last November the London Writers Society hosted a writing retreat. For a very modest sum members of the group could rent a cabin on the shores of Lake Huron and write away. Unfortunately for a myriad of reasons, I was not able to take advantage of this fantastic offer. So what do you do when the impending doom of Christmas screws up your life? You make it right, that’s what, you go out and make it right.
My writing comrade Roxanne and I did just that the first weekend in March. I have never gone somewhere before with the express purpose of writing, so I was very curious about a few things: would I be able to write outside of my office? If I could, would a change of environment influence my work in any way, and if so, would it be for the better?
Thus we made the trek to Port Stanley in the dregs of winter. Here’s the lowdown on our little adventure.
Port Stanley is a beach town on the shores of Lake Erie, so in the winter it is dead as a doornail. We arrived late Friday afternoon and checked into our hotel. My room was called Maritime Memories, and had a very quaint wood stove and a beautiful view of the harbour. We got settled, had dinner next door and then got to work on our various projects. Since I am so happily immersed in my manuscript, I figured I wouldn’t mess with a good thing. I brought chapter 20 to work on with the hope that I would finish the entire thing.
The most surprising thing for me was that I actually did work. We met for meals to discuss our progress, but we did leave each other alone to write. We had come there to write, after all, and we did. It was very nice to be in a quiet room, alone with my manuscript. I relaxed quickly and got to work. I even stayed up past my bedtime.
Saturday morning we met for breakfast, worked for the morning and then had lunch together at a cool little diner. We had the town to ourselves, so we browsed some shops and walked down to the beach.
It’s an interesting thing to have a town to yourselves. We walked Little Beach, which might have been our beach. Afterward we returned to the blessed warmth of the inn, some tea, some conversation, and back to work.
We had a particularly lovely meal at the Kettle Creek Inn and then worked again through Saturday night. I have only wonderful things to say about the second bed in my room that I turned into an office. You can never really have too many pillows.
We met again Sunday morning, worked a bit and then finished off the retreat with a great lunch at Me and Suzie’s. The time passed very quickly, and far too soon we were heading back to London and a reality that is overrated.
It was a great trip, and though I didn’t entirely finish chapter 20, I accomplished a lot more than I suspected I might. I also answered every question I had about the value of a writing retreat. Not only would I go again, I will, and I also now know that I would pay to possibly attend a professional writing retreat.
Writers are often procrastination prone and this retreat was great for combating that. Literally all I had to do was write, so that’s what I did.
The lack of distraction and total quiet was very relaxing and helped focus. Going to a summer town in the dead of winter ensured peace and also made our stay a breeze. We got off-season rates, great service since there were no other customers and the best tables at every restaurant. We stayed for two nights, but next year I think we’ll do three. I could have done one more lazy day of bed writing before I got restless. The writing retreat was definitely worth the time and the money. Every writer should give it a try at least once. Roxanne also enjoyed it and found it productive. I think one of the keys to our success was that we were accountable to each other at mealtimes, but left each other alone to work in between. As well as being my friend, Roxanne is a local writer and historian. You can check out her blog here.
- The Perfect Retreat (write-2-be.com)
- Retreat not Retreating (dragonflydithers.wordpress.com)
- Link of the Day: A Writer’s Getaway (palmtreesbarefeet.wordpress.com)