the importance of writing retreats

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I’ve recently returned from AROHO‘s women’s writing retreat at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico.  I came back to the woods of New Hampshire, my toddler, my puppy, and my partner weeks ago, but I am still half in the desert, and half with the 100 other women as we communicate via social media and emails, trying to maintain the interconnectedness we felt at the ranch.  

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I want to use this post to stress the importance of writing retreats for every writer.  Right now.  If you are a writer, please go online and look for a writing retreat.  Apply to dozens that offer scholarships or free residencies.  AROHO’s retreat was packed with so many presentations, readings, and workshops that it was hard for me to get much actual writing done there, but the AROHO women are working hard to provide all of us with so much stimulation, that I wasn’t disappointed by any means.  They always have a literary agent attend their retreats, which is an invaluable thing to writers who do not yet have agents.  She answered all of our questions and offered genuine, caring advice to anyone who approached her.  

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Other retreats and residencies do not have so much interaction.  But they also may not have agents attend or presentations that change your entire life or work as a writer.  AROHO changes me, every time.  I’ve only attended two retreats of theirs, but each one gave me gifts I could never have found in books or online.  Gifts that have enriched my writing and my life immensely.  

And because I am writing fervently right now, I am finding my blogging-self lost for words.  So, writers, I urge you to GO.  

Research what YOU as a writer NEED RIGHT NOW to get your words on the page more freely.  Expand your concept of what you deserve as a writer—because writers, I think, can often sacrifice their writing for their family or their pets, even.  Your writing is calling.  And I firmly believe all writers need at least 1-2 weeks, or longer, per year to be in a place where they can write without thinking of anything else, not food, or anyone else in their lives.  You can make your own retreat if you know of someone with a log cabin, or a small apartment, or anything you can rent or care for while you stay there ALONE and WRITE.  

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Wishing everyone the best of luck in finding solitude…and writing to their heart’s content.

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