What is a writing retreat?

Getting away…

Writing is a solitary occupation. Most of the time, we sit at our desks and the most exciting stuff we do is research stuff on the internet. When does a wild flower bloom in the UK. (Hint, it won’t the same time everywhere.) What butterflies lay their eggs on nettles? What plant will kill you… Fun stuff like that.

Once a year, though, a group of us get together for a writing retreat. Targets are set over breakfast. We retire to our chosen spot to write for the day and then get together over dinner, a glass (or two) of wine; a wind down when we talk about how we’ve done, brain storm plot problems and generally relax.

After a couple of years staying at an Oast House in Kent, we decided to head to the Lake District. This was our destination.


Then came lockdown. The booking was put on hold, once, twice… In desperation, like the rest of the world, we turned to Zoom.

There were advantages. It was free. No expensive or time consuming travelling involved.

Image by Elle Katie from Pixabay

We met up every evening to discuss what we’d done, with a glass of something cheering on the side and it was hugely productive.

But there were none of the endless writing talks over dinner, or trips to the pub. Talking with people who understood.


The joy, though, was that following our week of nightly zooms, we decided to carry on. Some of us chat every evening. All of us gather at the end of the week to talk about what we’re doing, share news, triumphs and brainstorming over plots, titles and a dozen other things. A true support group.

Image by www_slon_pics from Pixabay

This was our tribe, cheering on those who were flagging (mostly me) and gritting teeth behind a smile for those who can write thousands of words a day. Joking. I know my word count limit; when it’s reached, my brain buffers and I need a night’s sleep so that more words can refill it.


Last year, when the world had opened up, my hip replacement took precedence, so I missed it.

This year, with a fully functioning hip — bless the NHS — it’s all systems go.

Time to cram all that I need into my suitcase (with the good biscuits), load up my laptop and head for the hills.


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