I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: writing retreats are the bee’s knees. Especially retreats organized on as professionally high a level as the Writing Excuses cruises.
You have almost no choice but to level up in your writing game by the end of a week of workshops, critique and guided writing sessions, dinners with famous authors and one-on-one Q-&-A opportunities. (More on all crafty cruise capers in the next post!)
But improving the craft isn’t the only way a writer may level up during such a retreat. There is another, more personal component than even our own writing, that adds to the magic of writing retreats.
For the length of the retreat, we world-wary (and sometimes -weary) writers may actually turn into social butterflies.
Writers can seem like a strange bunch to outsiders.
We have this urge to write down stories, other people’s stories. We do this by ourselves, in self-imposed solitude that most of us prefer over spending time with other people.
Many of us write these stories in the safety of our writing dens, instead of going out and experiencing them for ourselves.
We often prefer to socialize with the unreal characters in our heads rather than going through the stress of meeting up with real people.
On the 2017 Writing Excuses Retreat, 120 writers jumped over their own shadows and broke these patterns for seven days.
Well, except for the one where we come across as a strange bunch.
Introverts turn into (semi) social butterflies
On this cruise, we were those people with the strange yellow badges around their necks.
The ones who got the special designated areas cordoned off with rope and “private event” signs.
The ones who dressed up in costumes for the formal dinner nights.
The ones who congregated around tables and in cozy corners all over the ship, but just stared into their laptops for hours.
The ones who overcame their introverted natures to hang out at night, playing games, laughing, talking and finagling drinks from the cruise crew, long after all the bars on the ship had closed.
Wait, where was I going with this?
(No, it wasn’t that we proved the cliché of the drunkard-writers right…)
This is for all you writers who’ve never gone to a writing reatreat – or haven’t found their writing group – because you’re too afraid of leaving the house, or feel stressed and anxious about meeting a whole bunch of strangers:
Many of the 120 people who participated on this retreat felt the exact same way – including many of the instructors!
In fact, it’s such a prevalent “condition” among writers, that one of the first workshops addressed that very issue: Fear and Writing, taught by the wonderful Emma Newman.
We all know that fear, to some degree.
But the people who gathered up the courage to come to the Writing Excuses Retreat in spite of their fears, found something to make it all worth it.
Something that every person yearns for but often can’t find or experience without leaving their comfort zone.
We found our tribe.
The #WXR Tribe.
The Writer Tribe.