The husband and I have been talking about running a writers’ retreat for a while now.
We have our reasons. My reasons are not necessarily the same as his.
I like staying in really groovy buildings, mostly those owned by the Landmark Trust, and lots of them are too big for us to justify visiting them a deux, as it were. So, if we were to choose one of those for a writers’ retreat, how cool would that be? I also like a lot of the writers I know, but don’t get to socialise with them as much as I’d like, because... well... because we’re all busy people.
We do socialise, mostly by having people down to stay, but that generally means they have to travel a fair distance, and there’s only so much room at the house. We could throw a bigger party if we just all stayed together, couldn’t we? And, we could do it more centrally, too.
You might be beginning to wonder why on Earth we’d bother having a writers’ retreat at all. Why not just have a big old weekend party and invite whoever?
Well, there are reasons for that, too.
We don’t do down time. We don’t really stop or rest. We have to justify everything, and, you know what? We actually like to work, and we love the stimulus of new environments in which to work. We also like talking about work, and sharing what we’re doing, and we love the company of other writers.
There is no greater buzz than sitting in a room full of almost-like minds, throwing ideas around, riffing off one another. It’s a thrill... And writers are talkers, in my experience. When we party, we do it with our mouths and our minds. We don’t turn up the music and cavort about the place, we sit on our backsides with glasses in our hands, gesturing and talking non-stop.
It was date night last night, and it ended with the husband and me sitting side-by-side with our laptops open, looking at possible venues for our first ever writers’ retreat to take place some time at the end of November or the beginning of December. It looks as if we might actually do it. We’ve got a beautiful building in mind, and a long list of guests. We’ve got some ideas about how we’d like to structure the weekend, what it’ll cost, and what we might all expect from the experience, including a fair amount of mucking in with the self-catering element.
I’ll be very interested to see who takes us up on our invitation, and it’ll be even more interesting to see which writers have what expectations of a retreat. I’ve never been on one, but I’ve never attended a writers’ group or sat in a creative writing class, either, so what the hell do I know?
I have been thinking about this a good deal, and I think I know what I’d be interested in doing, and why, and I think I know the sort of writers I’d be interested in spending some time with, both professionally and socially.
I suspect this is going be quite a learning curve, though, for the husband and me, and for any writer who has the bottle to join us on our proposed adventure. I do hope we get enough interest to actually have a crack at this.
I’ll keep you posted.