Writing holiday? Writing retreat?
Oh, it’s such a conundrum, what do we call our writing weeks?
I worry that writing holiday sounds too lightweight, too much fun, not enough sweat, grind and concentration on difficult stuff. Doubts might linger that maybe you won’t be pushed, won’t learn enough about developing yourself as a writer, won’t grow enough to justify the expense. And you probably already feel guilty about taking such a seemingly, self-indulgent holiday. Holiday has connotations of relaxation and enjoyment, of lazing in the sun, of laughter and of pampering. Of indulgence. Surely not on a writing course?
But ours are different.
Writing retreat can sound arty-farty and joyless. Visions of being marooned in a chilly mansion with un-comfy beds, chewing on mediocre vegetarian food with a group of humourless, well-read intellectuals, all totally convinced of their own brilliance. But tell your friends you’re going on a writing retreat and you sound serious. But will it be like school? And you were crap at English, Miss Boring told you so. And you can’t spell, your handwritings horrendous and you’ve never had anything published. Apart from that ranting email to the Guardian about Brexit.
But ours are different.
And if I add creative in the title – are you creative enough? Last time you tried to use your imagination, you couldn’t find it.
And if I add therapeutic- Good Lord, is it going to be like One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest or The Dead Poet’s Society?
Rest assured, my friends – our weeks are unique. They combine everything that is best about a holiday – relaxation, escape from reality, gorgeous location, lovingly and expertly prepared food from best locally-sourced ingredients, freshly cooked three times a day by someone else and no washing up, with everything that is best about a retreat – peaceful surroundings away from the hustle and bustle of normal life, time and space to be alone, mindfulness meditation to learn how to live in now and value every day, permission and encouragement to daydream, an opportunity to celebrate your past life, acknowledge your present and inspiration to imagine a new future.
And whether we call it a retreat or a holiday, you will blossom and grow. Nurtured and encouraged, you will experience the joy that your writing gives to others and the enormous physical and psychological benefits that you give to yourself, simply and honestly by writing it down. You will be a writer. Because I truly believe you already are.