Four Definitions for needing a Writing Retreat

How does one define a writing retreat and why should one go to one? What are they exactly? When it comes to writing retreats I like to consider the definitions of the word “retreat.”

  • Military definition of retreat: Falling back because you aren’t making any progress to a superior enemy. Yup. For many of us that fits for our writing. We are on the front lines of life, just handling stuff, with overwhelming odds. The enemy is our hectic lives filled with too much to do. You need a break from this battle because nothing is getting done on our writing front. Time to retreat.
  • Spiritual definition of retreat: A temporary sanctuary or haven away from everyday distractions to meditate and get in touch with your higher self either alone or with others who have the same purpose. Again, works well for a writing retreat, especially if you think of writing as part of your higher creative self and a way to get to deeper reflections about your life and yourself. This gives time for the “writer within” work.

Now let’s try another couple of other definitions for fun, breaking it down using the word “treat” and “re”, given that “re” always means again.

  • Medical definition of re-treat:  To treat: Applying medicine to something in need of healing. Most of us write alone and isolated and when something is not working we either can’t figure it out by ourselves, or we don’t even know its not working. In short, as writers we need others. Beta readers and editors may be essential people, but too late in the process. What you need in mid-process is others, but not just any others. A writing retreat with other writers in the same situation, asking for  perspective, and all of you are on the same level playing field, gives you that much needed, yet safe input. If there is also an experienced facilitator or coach (a writing doctor), so much the better.  This is why we need to re-treat. To ensure your peak writing health stays that way.
  • Special time definition of re-treat: To treat: An event that is out of the ordinary that gives you great pleasure. If you have been to a well-run writing retreat you know what a joy it can be to bond with others who get you. To “treat” yourself to some time to be fully creative and make a break through. It is a treat and it is something you should periodically re-treat yourself to.

What happens at retreats is dependent on how they are structured. Some just provide the space or accommodation away. Some provide space, accommodation and all or some meals.  Some provide an experienced instructor teaching classes and giving exercises. A few rare ones provide one-on-one coaching. Some provide it all plus outings. What they are is a way to have an intense creative experience with others like yourself. Take it from the people who go to writing retreats. Assembled below are the varied feedback of writers who have participated at various writing retreats all over the world…

Below are some feedback from writers at writing retreats all over the world:

…Comments from writing retreat participants:

This is what happened, there was no time to edit, criticize or second-guess myself. Without trying, the ideas started to pour out of me. I was shocked! I looked at what I had just written, it was good and I was funny too. 

Why did I come back? It was a mix of this amazing place that is conducive to creativity and the people that I’d met. I knew I was coming back again to meet more wonderful people… and I have.

It is a gift to oneself. The coach’s knowledge was generously shared. I was impressed with the considerable amount of individual time each writer is given. This is the best of writing worlds as you can relax at the house (seems to concentrate the creative juices), or mingle with like-minded and fun writers from all over the globe.  It doesn’t matter what state your manuscript is at, there will be benefits. Give yourself a gift and book in.

Sometimes it takes traveling to a different country to find those who feel like a special family. I was so grateful for the space and peace to be creative.

The prompts broke through my 3 year writing block and I’ve been writing ever since.

The coach’s approach tapped into what was happening inside me at a deeper level that was different from what my mind was saying. She gave me my writer’s voice that was longing for expression.

After the retreat my writing has become a top priority. I’m writing regularly and more authentically than ever before. I couldn’t be happier.

Where I felt vulnerable in exposing my insecurities as a writer, she made me feel safe and encouraged me to go further. She sees the strength(s) in each writer and shows how each of us can get even better! It has been the best writing retreat ever and I’ve been coming to it for a few years now and never want to miss it.

With a book in-process, I wanted to supercharge my writing skills, and following a great coach for five days certainly achieved that. The night before we left, we toasted our coach and lamented leaving our great group of writers.

This writing retreat is a must for anyone needing to take time away from their daily routine to reassess their writing, whether it be in non-fiction, poetry or novels. Our coach created a supportive, nurturing environment while challenging each participant to explore their work in a deeper and more meaningful way, both in group work and individual coaching sessions. Highly recommended.

I guess the upshot is you will never know what you are going to experience if you don’t make time for it. If you want to treat yourself, it is experience, not money or things, that becomes the value to your life and the value to your writing.

ONLY $200 deposit to reserve your spot for Victoria, BC, Canada, Ross Bay WRITING RETREAT, July 7-13th, 2019

Call 604-706-2388  or email MORE INFORMATION about this retreat CLICK HERE!

Click link below to put your deposit DOWN now.




3 thoughts on “Four Definitions for needing a Writing Retreat

  1. Read it with great interest . I had gone to a writing retreat in Italy and enjoyed the course . It gave me insights into my own work which I did not know existed. I would also like to know if there are any other slotted retreat dates other than July 7-13 th in Vancouver please ? Like in September or October 2019 Regards N Pillai

    On Tue, 14 May 2019 at 2:43 AM, VSW: Vancouver & Victoria Schools of Writing wrote:

    > vswwriting posted: “How does one define a writing retreat and why should > one go to one? What are they exactly? When it comes to writing retreats I > like to consider the definitions of the word “retreat.” Military definition > of retreat: Falling back because you aren’t mak” >


    1. We are planning some exciting course series –once a monht –next year 2020 Summer and Fall next year in Victoria, BC all by local successful authors!, but not the remainder of this year. Our coaches/teaches are busy with writing coaching and their own projects. Keep you posted.


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