When I started to pen this blog, we’d been on our writing retreat in Spain for less than 24 hours. And we’d already seen a shift in our clients.
Two were here last year, and came back for a top up. One wanted to leave with a first draft completed. The other wanted uninterrupted time for quality writing. A third has had a goal for writing a book for quite a while. Despite putting time in her diary for writing, it simply hasn’t been happening.
If you think about it, you could go on a holiday and write. And this works for some people. But it doesn’t work for everyone.
So, what’s the difference between going on holiday and going on a writing retreat?
Firstly, everything over here is taken care of for you. The writing retreat package is fully inclusive once you arrive in Spain, and all you need to do is book your flight.
You don’t need to worry about how to navigate to our venue, hidden away in the tiny village of Benaocaz in the Andalucian Mountains. You don’t have to fret about whether your Spanish is good enough, where to book a meal, where to go shopping, or the rules of driving on the wrong side of the road!
You arrive to our group and welcoming taxi driver, a fully stocked fridge, and our local guide, Rebecca, who speaks fluent Spanish and intimately knows the local area and people.
Now perhaps none of this worries you too much. You might be thinking…. Well I can organise this all myself. And yes you could. But what happens next?
The problem is that when everything is taken care of for you, all you need to do is write.
And that’s where it’s easy to get stuck. If you don’t have support to talk through your stuff with someone who understands, then it’s easy to get distracted or down tools and do something else instead.
And if you’re on holiday with someone else who wants to do something other than write, then it’s easy to feel conflict with what you’re doing. And then you wouldn’t end your break with any words down on paper, would you?
Now don’t get me wrong, holidaying works for some people. Azmina Jiwa, a Librotas client loves going on holiday and she regularly goes away to write. But it’s easier to go on holiday to write when you know what you’re writing! She also came on last year’s writing retreat and has been getting one-to-one support to write and publish her book (and we’re in the final stages!)
The benefits of a writing retreat
I believe that to achieve success, i.e. write a brilliant book, you need to know what you’re writing, are confident and clear in how you do you, and know how and when you write at your best.
On our walk on the first morning, one of our clients uncovered a belief that could potentially limit her writing. Big time. And without support to get out of it, she could easily have stayed stuck. The reason we always start with a walk is because it gets the brain cogs whirring and it’s a safe place to converse with companions, share stories, and discuss ideas.
Once we’d returned to our apartment, we asked our clients what they wanted from the day. And during that day, our clients got support to overcome writers block, had feedback on their writing and an action plan for the next steps, coaching to stay on track, the chance to ask questions on different parts of the writing, publishing and marketing process, and we asked them how they were getting on at regular intervals.
Whilst I focus on the structure and process of writing, publishing and marketing a great book, Sheryl helps our clients to get clarity of how they do what they do and the confidence to make it happen – and get over anything that may be holding them back.
And on a holiday, you wouldn’t get any of this.
The magic of coming on a writing retreat
You wouldn’t experience the magic of coming on one of our retreats: the time and space to reconnect with yourself, your life and your business, and the chance to breathe and get off the treadmill of day to day life. It’s not all about the writing!
You wouldn’t have a plan of what to next, new habits and ideas of how to progress your ideas forward.
And you wouldn’t be able to develop lasting relationships with people who get you. When you’re in a community of writers, there’s a common language and a common goal. I always love the wisdom that simply pops up when it’s least expected and the insights that all of us have.
All of this is probably why every year at least one person comes back for a second time. They love their time in the mountains. They relish the experience and exploration. And they want help, support and encouragement on their journey of being a writer. Finally, they want to connect with the person they are and who they really want to become.
We love the transformations that we see in our clients: when they find their voice, break through some of the stuff that holds them back from getting started and finished, and realise the true purpose for their business and their books.
Now you might be wondering whether our clients achieved what they intended.
The lady who wanted her first draft realised that she wasn’t far off when she arrived with 60 pages of manuscript. The retreat gave her time to reflect on her structure, her goal and get valuable feedback on what she’s already written.
Our client who wanted uninterrupted time to write realised that her book needed to take a different trajectory. Through the creative writing process, she used her time to reconnect with the emotion of her writing and how she wanted it to impact on her reader.
And the third wrote her first couple of chapters and left with a clear structure for a book and a plan to make it happen!
You can check out two of the testimonials at www.writingretreats.co.uk.
Join us for the next writing retreat in Spain in 2019
We’ve confirmed the dates for our next writing retreat in 2019. To find out more and book your place with a small deposit, please click here.