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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

WRITER’S RETREAT SURVIVAL GUIDE


Can you imagine an entire weekend spent away from family, work, and other obligations? A writer’s retreat can be a welcoming time to explore your ideas and develop your stories. However, your first retreat can be a bit intimidating. When I spent an entire weekend inside an Edmonton Chapters on BookTelevision’s show, 3-Day Novel Contest, I had no idea what to expect—the reality soon became clear: an overwhelming mix of exhaustion, inspiration, delirium, anxiety, and finally, depression when it was over. I first met children’s author, Marty Chan, on this particular show and we have remained in contact over the last seven years.

Marty, along with two other best-selling authors, Sigmund Brouwer and Natasha Deen will be facilitating the 2014 Writer’s Weekend in Strawberry Creek Lodge, Alberta. If you’ve ever considered attending a writer’s retreat to learn more about the business of writing, querying, and industry trends, keep on reading. Marty, Sigmund, and Natasha offer their expertise on how to get the most out of a writer’s retreat!


What are three things writers should do to fully benefit from a writer’s retreat?

Natasha: That’s a great question!  I’ll take one of those three things and say it’s a *great* chance to meet other writers, as your fellow authors are an amazing resource for knowledge, skill-building, and support.

 

Sigmund: Try to separate yourself from your writing. This is sometimes difficult, because all of us as authors put ourselves into our writing. But if you can, step aside and realize that writing suggestions are directed at words on paper and not at you on a personal level. This way, you’ll enjoy the process of elevating your craft.

 

Marty: Bring your ideas; leave your worries. Often, writers may bring along the stress of work or family. The retreat is your time to be a writer. Be selfish and take the time for you, and leave everything else until Monday.

What are the most common mistakes writers make at retreats and how can they avoid them?

 

Sigmund: I think the biggest mistake is being afraid of making mistakes. A retreat is a place to explore yourself and your writing and your stories. On a journey like this, something that might seem like a mistake will often turn out to be a great way to learn something valuable.

 

Marty: Put your measuring stick away. The retreat is not a competition to see who can write the most pages. Give yourself the time to explore your story. For some, that will translate into pages. For others, it will translate into ideas. Avoid comparing your progress to anyone other than yourself.


Natasha: I think it can be intimidating to walk into a weekend when you may not know many (or any!) of the other attendees, so it’s easy to stay on the sidelines, and not participate.  Don’t do this! Retreats are your chance to network, get information, and have fun! Get in there and throw some elbows (uh, okay, not literally, but you know what I mean).

What advice do you have for writers who are considering going on a retreat for the first time?

 

Marty: Ask questions of everyone. This is your chance to learn from everyone about every aspect of writing from process to routine to business. You’ll be amazed at the variety of answers, and you will be relieved there is no one right way to succeed.


Natasha: You may get a ton of writing down, or you may only get a sentence. That’s okay. The point is to put in the effort and as long as you do that, then it’ll be a successful weekend.

Sigmund: Remember that everyone is so worried about what other people think of themselves, that you don’t need to be self-conscious and worry about what they are thinking of you.

What can writers expect at the 2014 Writer’s Weekend in Strawberry Creek Lodge? How can they best prepare for this weekend?


Natasha: I’m going to say it’s an environment that will be relaxed but energized, where writers can have their questions answered and learn about the industry. As for preparation, come ready to laugh and have a good time, and come away with solid tips for building your novel and breaking into the publishing industry.

 

Sigmund: Along with renewed inspiration, writers will learn the simple and powerful key to creating a great story, and get the inside scoop on the business of publishing.

Marty: We want everyone to have the opportunity to work on their manuscripts as well as learn about the craft and business of writing, but we also understand that everyone has their own needs and goals. Take charge of the weekend and make it your own. This is your time to get what you need as a writer. If it’s time to write, we won’t be offended if you skip out on a session. If you want to see how other writers work, you’re welcome to join in. Above all else, use the time to get what you want done.

What are some of the highlights of this particular retreat?

 

Marty: Personally, I’m looking forward to the panel talks about the industry. Every time I listen to other writers talk about the business, I learn something new.

 

Sigmund: First, much fun in a relaxed atmosphere. Second, great advice from three authors who want to see the participants succeed as writers.

Natasha
: Well, Marty’s been working on his magic tricks and he promised he’d make Sigmund disappear…

 

There you have it—a survival guide from the best-selling writers and experts themselves. What are you waiting for? Learn more and register for the 2014 Writer’s Weekend (July 18-20), located at Strawberry Creek Lodge, Alberta.

Escape the world and write!

 

http://www.natashadeen.com/writers-weekend/

 



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