After ten astonishingly wonderful days at the Writing Away Retreat in Breckenridge, CO, I’m back in the real world—richer by several friends, a list of books to read, a pile of thoughts to pursue on writing and life, and a host of questions generated by late-night philosophical conversations in the hot tub.
I’m also poorer by many hours of sleep, which I hope to pay back ASAP. In my experience, sleep debt is not a good long-term investment.
So here I am, feeling a bit daunted by piles of laundry and bills and a poodle whose hair is WAY too shaggy, but at the same time filled to brimming with inspiration, encouragement, and renewed confidence that I’m on the right track writing-wise. Homecoming is sweet; I’ve been homesick for my family for the past week. And at the same time, I’m now homesick for my cozy writing spot by the fire and my new, wonderful friends.
Ultimately, that’s what a writing retreat can give you that a conference cannot: concentrated time with other people crazy and wonderful in the same ways you are. Nowhere else in my life have I met so many people I loved so much in such a short space of time: funny, irreverent Deb with her book proposal that will challenge readers to think and change; ever-cheerful Chris, with her amazing YA voice and cool plot twists; quiet Bryan, with his puckish hair and wit and a vortex in his apartment; clean-cut Brandon, with his habit of reading the first half of an amazing short story so you had to track him down later to discover what happened; innocent-looking Aaron who talks his (amazing) scenes out loud when he thinks no one is listening; and, of course, our wonderful host Cicily, who has an endless number of tales of jazz, interviews, and this crazy writing life.
Wow, and that’s not even CLOSE to everyone who left a major impact on my life. And I only mentioned my fellow writers, not the faculty, some of whom I know will be lifelong friends.
Save your money. Plan your time. Do something like this retreat . It will change your writing life forever—in an amazing way.