Last week we discussed the importance and usefulness of writers’ retreats in fostering creativity, increasing word counts, and forming valuable social connections with other authors, but what if you envision planning your own? That’s a total possibility, and Midnight Publishing is going to provide you with a list of steps to take toward scheduling the perfect writers’ retreat for yourself and your fellow writer friends.
How to Plan the Ideal Writers’ Retreat in Five Easy Steps:
1. Identify Your Goals
First and foremost, it’s necessary to identify the ultimate goals of your retreat (and possibly consult those who you’ll be inviting) so you can choose accordingly. If this is going to be a more collaborative retreat with a lot of critiquing, brainstorming, and feedback, then that will significantly impact the kind of retreat attendees can expect. On the flipside, some retreats are known to focus almost solely on private writing time, which also dictates the style of the experience (some retreats instigate “silent hours” that cannot be broken by music or cell phone use!).
2. Select the Location
For some, this may be the easiest decision, while others could struggle on picking just one place! Depending on budgeting, the locations of the other attendees and the time of year of the retreat, the world truly is your playground when selecting the retreat’s destination! International locales are always a top choice for their historical value, beauty, and the marrying of a “vacation” with work, but keep in mind how much additional planning is required for such a setting. The easiest choice would be a “staycation”—a retreat held in your city or near it that focuses more on breaking the routine of daily life and providing writing time than exploring a new destination. The best of both options could be a retreat based somewhere in the United States, but that still offers gorgeous surroundings and possibilities to explore.
3. Schedule Accommodations
Once you’ve decided on a destination and length of time for your writers’ retreat, accommodations including travel, rooms, and food must all be accounted for. Oftentimes if you secure a group of attendees early on, Airbnb options and blocked-room hotel discounts can significantly lower the overall price. You’ll have to decide which meals are included in the retreat (if any), and where they’d come from, perhaps the hotel offers breakfast, and dinner can be scheduled at various restaurants that offer prix fixe menus.
4. Decide How Attendees Will Pay
The more official retreats in existence offer flat rates that include travel, workshops, hotel stays, food, and more, and that’s certainly an option for you. If you want to put together a fairly structured retreat and can secure discounted rates for various activities at a group price, it’s a great idea to present potential attendees with the total amount and do the scheduling behind the scenes. Options like PayPal and Venmo are easy ways to have them send you the funds electronically, but if attendees are not all close friends, be sure to instigate a nonrefundable payment policy after a certain point. If you’d rather provide attendees with suggestions for accommodations but allow them the flexibility to book their own flights and rooms, then a retreat schedule and a suggested list of choices would suffice.
5. Design the Retreat’s Schedule
Finally, you’ll want to design the retreat’s overall schedule of activities. These would most likely include free time for writing, quiet hours, beta-reading feedback and critiques, as well as other non-writing options like cooking classes, yoga/exercise, meditation, wine tours, etc. Consult your attendees if desired, and be sure to once again factor in the overall goals of the writers’ retreat in general.
Midnight Publishing is a Phoenix-based editing, writing, and marketing company that has been working with authors and entrepreneurs for nearly a decade to facilitate their writing dreams all the way to publication. Been to a writers’ retreat and have a finished manuscript that needs editing, reorganizing or marketing? Our award-winning staff is the perfect choice for you! Contact us today for a free sample edit and spot on our schedule!