Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Gearing Up for a Writer’s Retreat

My face-to-face critique group and I are headed into the mountains for a four-day writer’s retreat at the end of the month. We’ve rented an 8-person cabin in a West Virginia state park and hope to get tons of writing done.

My list of writerly “to dos” is growing as the days go by.

Initially, my goal was to write 3,000 or more (no less!) words per day for each day we’re there. It doesn’t sound like much, but we can’t check in until four and must leave by ten, so it’s not really four full days. Maybe I should break the word count down hourly…

But now I’m toying with adding some “housekeeping” and “task” stuff to the list, like re-formatting some stories — whose rights have reverted back to me –for publishing on Amazon, Nook and Smashwords. Or updating the bibliography on my Web site. I could kill a full day doing that.

This retreat is different than our last. For one, we won’t be staying in a monastery.

This means (first and foremost) that we’ll be able to talk to each other. It’s tough for a bunch of writer friends not to discuss their work, but we managed. This time we’ll be able to chatter all we want. So I’m hoping not only for some writing time, but some critique time.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go away and bring back some polished writing?

I’ve starting packing my boxes to take with me, and making lists of things not to forget.

For writing, I’m taking both my novel work in progress and two short stories I’ve started. I’d like to finish the shorts and grow the novel by a third, but I’ll be happy if I can add 12k of words total.

Before I go, I’ll clean off the desk and empty out the mailbox. I’m sure there’s at least a dozen things I’ll add to the list.

If you’re interested in how I’ll go about preparing for a writer’s retreat (and ranking how I’ll choose items to work on), read this post I made before the last retreat. (There’s no sense re-inventing the wheel.)

Anybody else out there take trips with their critique group? I’d love to hear how you pull it all together. Do you schedule the time or just wing it? Do you do free-writing exercises, or only work on stuff you hope to market? Inquiring minds want to know!