Hey there, awesome readers!
I was at a writer’s retreat last week. Lead by Linda Sivertsen, host of The Beautiful Writers Podcast, Linda organizes this retreat a few times a year in one of the most charming towns I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting, California’s Carmel-by-the-Sea.
How was my week? I thought you’d never ask.
It. Was. Awesome.
I got to meet five incredible women – all brave, talented, each on a mission (including our gracious host). And because we were there to hang out together, we shared more with each other than I share with Jed in a month (don’t tell him that).
You may be asking yourself, “Why would you share pieces of yourself with complete strangers?”
And I have an answer.
First of all, stranger or not, no one is “complete”. And as incomplete beings, the more we listen to each other and share of ourselves, the more we help each other find the missing pieces. It’s like our lives – and ourSELVES – are one big unfinished puzzle and the only way we can figure it all out is by listening and sharing.
Another reason that it was so easy to share with these women is because the retreat provided a safe place to just be ourselves … our true, authentic, peculiar selves. Writers are a special blend of ingredients. Never mind sugar and spice and everything nice. Writers are a badass concoction of reflective and raw and look at this flaw!
Introverts, extroverts, observers, and thinkers, the act of putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) seems to be the only way we can get relief from our own thoughts. Whether we’re writing about real facts or imaginary characters, one thing is clear and that is that our minds are made up.
In other words, writers need to write. It’s one of the few vocations that’s driven by a force that’s both silent and deep. You never hear of a plumber that’s driven to fix pipes or a dentist that lives for the thrill of filling cavities. Most people go on vacation to leave their work and trade tools behind. Writers go on vacation with their laptops or journals. (Usually both.) And of course, our thinking minds are always with us, whether we’re sitting at our desks, hiking on a mountain, or lying on a beach.
Possibly because we get this, writers love other writers. Put us in a room together and we truly appreciate each other’s work, way of thinking, and even our quirks. Whether those quirks are in the way that we see the world or in a relentless focus to get our words out, there is a solidarity that exists between wordsmiths of all kinds. And as hard as writing can be at times, the friendships come easy.
A note to my bestie: You will always be my bestie. There’s no replacing the time or experiences we’ve shared over the years! Plus the fact that you’re just so damn awesome.
You may be wondering, “but is a writer’s retreat really worth the investment?” Translated, you’re asking if I’m a better writer for going to Linda’s retreat?
Probably not. But I am more confident with a better sense of direction (thanks to Linda’s savvy guidance), and that alone makes me write from a place of self-assurance. This is some of the stuff I came home with at the end of my week in charming Carmel-by-the-Sea.
And the way I see it, an investment in myself is always worth it.
I went with questions. I went with a need to connect with other writers. I went with a hunger for validation. Writing, as you may know, is a solitary vocation. And when you connect with others on a similar path, you find kindred spirits. You find magic.
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Janet Mary Cobb says
I have done many retreats in my life – but never one specifically for writers — perhaps it will go on my next 101 Things in 1001 days beginning in 2021. Thanks for the encouragement!
Mona Andrei says
I highly recommend it. As my first, it is definitely not my last 🙂
A big “food for thought” here. I have never gone to a retreat. I’m not a ‘group of people” type of person. But I know a needlework expert who went on needlework retreats for years and she said it was so much fun. So I will think about it.
Mona Andrei says
Hi Alana! To be honest, I’m not a ‘group of people’ type person either. I’m a creature of habit that likes to write solo, in my writing bubble. That said, this really was magical. The sharing … the learning … the inspiration … The dynamic of the group was truly a gift. I know that there are different types of writer’s retreats; something to consider while checking into them 🙂
S. Renee says
Loved this article, Mona. Very inspirational. Keep writing.
Mona Andrei says
Thanks so much, S. Renee!