I’m Going on a Writing Retreat!

For the first time in many years, I’m going on a writing retreat that is more than a day and a half—I’ll be gone for 5 days! I’m very excited and really nervous.

  • What if I don’t get anything done?
  • What if nothing I write is good enough?
  • What if I waste this time when I could be home with my family?

I could go on and on but I won’t. Because…

  • What if I get a ton of writing done?
  • What if all of my writing is good enough?
  • What if I use this time wisely and deliberately while I’m away from my family?

I think those are better questions. I think I’ll answer those questions.

If I get a ton of writing done, it will set me up for a productive writing year. If all of my writing is good enough, then I know I will be practicing my craft and improving my writing skills. If I use this time wisely and deliberately, I will go home feeling that I’ve accomplished something and knowing that I can find other times during the year to write.

Okay, now I’m really getting excited.

This writing retreat is designed by me; And I’m going to design a writing retreat that totally works for me.

I’m lucky enough to have a place to go for almost a week with a good friend (who is also a writer) and I will write until my behind gets numb, then I will either go swimming (in the lap pool!!) or go running until I’m exhausted and sweaty. Then I’ll shower and repeat. At this point in my life, that is my idea of a great writing retreat.

Other than my journal and my computer with my novel drafts on it, I will also bring a few books—of course!

I also have the latest copy of Writer’s Digest to read.

Morning pages are on the agenda, as well as taking a good look at my current work-in-progress before I dive in and just start writing.

Whatever comes of this week, I know I am making a big commitment to myself as a writer by taking this week away from my daily life and devoting it to that thing I keep saying is very important to me.

Wish me happy writing!

How can you commit to your writing this year? Is there half an hour or half a day that you can dedicate to writing this week or next?

Diane MacKinnon, MD, Master Certified Life CoachDiane MacKinnon: is a writer, blogger, mother, stepmother, family physician, and life coach. I wanted to start this blog post like a game of “Going on a Picnic.” Remember that one? “I’m going on a writing retreat and I’m bringing an apple, a bunch of books, a candle, a doodle pad, an e-book, a fountain pen, a gum eraser, a hoodie, an iPad, a journal, a kettle for tea, a love of learning, a mountain of M&M’s, a notebook, an open mind, a planner, a quagmire for my protagonist to get out of, a realistic sense of what I can accomplish in 5 days, a sense of humor, a talent for playing with words, unlimited time, variables to play with, wit, x-ray vision to see into my draft, yogurt, and zeal for my writing!”

56 thoughts on “I’m Going on a Writing Retreat!

    • Hi Susan,
      Hmm, I hadn’t thought about that! My husband always gets so much done when I’m away, so I can’t imagine what he’ll get done in 5 days!

      Thanks for the encouragement!


  1. Like your style Diane, the conference sounds terrific, would love to do one but, alas, I’m tethered to my recording studio narrating audiobooks. I write early morning and record during the day, it’s a good combination and mutually supportive! Enjoy the conference, we’ll look for you on the best seller lists!

    • Hi hahnco1st,
      Your schedule sounds great! I really wish I could write more in the morning, but my son is definitely a morning person (like me!) and he’s already up before dawn–I’ve tried getting up at 4, but it makes the end of the day so painful that I gave it up. Now I’ll have 5 whole days to write, write, write in the mornings!

      Thanks for the encouragement!


    • Hey Sandra,
      Don’t we all ask ourselves those lousy negative questions? At least I’m aware of them now and I can choose to ask better questions, which is a big help.

      Maybe you need to plan your own writing retreat! Evan a few hours at a cafe can be a retreat, but having a whole day is even better!

      Best wishes!


    • Hey Lisa,
      I’m planning on making a big pot of sauce and meatballs and sausage and bringing it with me. I was planning to make it to leave for my husband and son but I thought it would be even better to take it with me. My husband says I can only take half, though!

      (And what’s wrong with M&M’s and tea? Writer’s have lived on less!)


  2. That sounds wonderful. All writers should do this, even if it’s just for an afternoon in a coffee shop or local park. I go to my sister’s house twice a week for four or more hours. Good luck. I hope you get a lot of writing done.

    • Hi literaryliason,
      Thanks for the good wishes! You are very lucky to get to go on your own writing retreat twice a week AND to get to spend time with your sister. My sisters are my best friends but I don’t see them often enough!


  3. Sounds wonderful! Are you going to a re,treat center or doing a create-your-own-retreat situation? Either way, I look forward to hearing how it went!

    • Hi deebeider,
      This is a creat-your-own-retreat situation. I’ve done structured writing retreats before (and would love to again) but right now I just want to be able to do whatever I want to do when I want to do it. Hopefully I will want to write, write, write!

      Thanks for the support!


    • Hi jotz,
      I’m really trying to give myself permission to go and see what happens. I’m not giving myself a word count or page count, just hoping to get a lot done.

      Thanks for the good wishes!


    • Hi Eden,
      I notice from your profile that you’re a mother of four–a 5 day retreat must seem like a dream, yes? It took me six months to plan this time away–maybe you can come up with a few hours at some point? Then make it recurring, because sometimes doing it once makes it seem like it’ll never happen again so you end up coming back discouraged rather than encouraged (at least, that’s been my experience.)

      Thanks for the support!


      • I actually have managed to steal away a couple of nights at a nearby convent that offers hermitages, but a five day retreat is, alas, at this point a dream. But someday……. 🙂

  4. It sounds like a very exciting opportunity, I wish I could have the same. As a new blogger, I would like to have a similar opportunity to share with friends about the ways to improve writing.

    Enjoy your retreat!

  5. Hi Diane, I know you will reach your goals, I can tell. I envy you being able to get away for a week. I settle for getting up early and writing or thinking or organizing for an hour before the day starts. Thank you, Silent

  6. Diane,

    What a lovely treat. I know that within a day, you will begin to hear that writer’s voice of yours loud and clear.



  7. All the best, sure it will be fun, fun, fun. Would you care to share where? Have been looking for a writers retreat, haven’t come up with the right one yet.

  8. I have no doubt you will get a ton out of it and come away filled with motivation for the year. I did a writing retreat a very long time ago. I didn’t have kids then so it really was a long time, and I learned so much.

  9. Have to say I consistently find retreats way more productive than writing conferences. I’m slowly learning that lesson. By productive I mean not just in getting writing done, but also in reestablishing enthusiasm and confidence and helping me feel like a writer. Conferences don’t always do that, but retreats do. And have you read ‘Between the Lines’ by Jessica Page Morrell? That’s one of my personal favorites. Have fun on your retreat and I look forward to hearing how it went.

  10. Great! Hope you enjoyed it. These books are brilliant and on my shelf too! Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg
    The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron

    Don’t forget the last weekend of October (25/26th) sees INKSPILL – the FREE online writing retreat over on my blog. Find out more in September.

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