Six things I want from a writer's retreat

I’m heading off to my first-ever writers’ retreat at Crom Castle, Northern Ireland in March. In 19 days, to be precise.

Am I excited? Hell yeah!

I’m also working very hard to convince my husband that this is not going to be a holiday since a) I’m co-running the retreat as part-owner of Serenity Press, b) I’m working at the London Book Fair for three full days straight after the retreat, and c) see a) and b). He’s not convinced.

It might have something to do with the fact that it’s in Ireland and we live in Western Australia. And the inside of the castle looks like this:


And this:

Or maybe it’s because guests include Deborah Burrows, Juliet Marillier, and Sheila O’Flanagan (she’s staying for one night and I’ll be interviewing her).

Or it could be the gala dinner …


Anyway, my (new) suitcase is out (still empty), my passport is ready, I’ve written a packing list and I may have bought a few new clothes (I’m going to London, after all). For someone who chose to raise a family before travelling, this is a BIG deal. Of course, it’s work.

But aside from the work aspect (which involves running activities, a school visit, a meet and greet event, interviewing, and being on call at the castle), what do I hope to achieve out of going to a writers’ retreat? Lots!

  1. Time – time to write with a clear head. I’m looking forward to some time to write without the responsibilities and distractions of home.
  2. Encouragement – With other people around who “get” what it means to be a writer, there’s plenty of scope for all-round encouragement. No matter how experienced we are as writers, a little pick-me-up never goes astray.
  3. Inspiration – I want to be inspired by the setting as much as the people around me. I want to meet people who challenge and motivate me to do better, to keep going.
  4. Learning – By being part of a group, I’m hoping to learn from others, whether through feedback or critiques, through sharing work and ideas, through listening and trying new things. I have so much to learn!
  5. New experiences – I want to enrich my life experiences so I can be a better writer. What better way than to visit a different country? To read to children in an Irish school (I’ll be doing that)? To stretching my boundaries in a trade fair that will attract tens of thousands of people.
  6. Networks – By meeting new people in an unfamiliar setting and establishing a rapport, I’m hoping to build my network of writer friends and readers. Where better but at a meet and greet with Irish readers?

Only 19 days to go …

If you want to join us, there is still time – check out all the information here.




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