I am going on my annual writing retreat to The Porches in July. I actually got my draft done and uploaded. Now, I need to finish the book list (2 books left to read). And then I’ll critique the work of other writers attending.

Last year’s Memorial Day trip was magic, as was my second trip later in the year. I am hoping to rekindle that magic this year.

So what’s a writers’ retreat you ask? It is often a solitary writer retreating to a quiet, serene place to have concentrated writing time. And we do that.

The way we have arranged our time at The Porches includes writing time, workshop time, and community/free time.

Earlier this year we selected a list of books to be read to help foster focused discussions about craft and style. We’re reading:

 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot

Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte

A Room of One’s Own Virginia Woolf

A Place of My Own Michael Pollan 

The Beak of the Finch Jonathan Weiner (not available on Kindle)

What’s the Matter with Kansas.

Good Omens and Wyrd Sisters, Terry Pratchett

The list draws from several styles and should foster some healthy discussion. Each writer submits up to twenty pages to be workshopped.

I plan a return trip to The Porches in the fall, probably October. Interested parties should email me, so I can get that under way. And we’ll need to talk books and stuff. The Porches has five beds.

I am also in the beginning stages of planning a retreat to Ireland next spring or summer. This retreat will need many more writers than I gather up for The Porches. To make it affordable, I will need twenty committed writers (I think). I am waiting to hear back from the castle—yes, I did say castle. Right now, it looks like cost for this trip (the castle and airfare) will run between $1000 and $1200. But I don’t know that yet. Interested parties should email me. And of course, there’s food and field trips to consider. With twenty people, it is possible—probable—that we will divide into groups by genre. The only way to make this trip doable is to fill every bed. I am looking at Ballyhannon Castle in County Clare, Ireland. Lots more to consider for this trip. So, Tanagers? MWW-ers? Not-Bobbers? SWAG-ers? 


4 thoughts on “Retreating

  1. Sounds like a terrific amount of fun, however, half of my life is dedicated to living in England, and when I’m there, I am full on with my partner and our life in Oxford. There are so many beautiful castles and estates to lease in the British Isles. A couple of my artist friends run art workshops in a castle in Spain and a Maas in France. So many possibilities Mel. Best luck with the venture and if there’s anything I can do to help from E I’ll be very happy to.

  2. fascinating; i’ll look at those books; of course some i know; i’d love to hear the gist of everyone’s take on the various writing styles. My ancestors are from Killarney, so Ireland sounds great, but not now! hugs and creative juices joy.

  3. My most intensely productive writing times have been at retreat centers. I love Hambidge, in the mountains of north Georgia. No phones, internet in the main house only, no cell service unless you drive into the nearest little town, about four miles away. It’s a beautiful place conducive to churning out pages and pages; there’s nothing like solitude and protected time. The Porches sounds terrific, too!

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