Writing Retreats: What Will You Learn And Achieve At A Creative Writing Retreat?
Good writing sounds like someone speaking in a voice truer than the voice they use for gossip and scolding – it sounds like someone in particular, talking to someone they love about something they know well.
Learning to write well means understanding the balance been a kind of fierce attentiveness and a wild, reckless abandon in your thoughts and your words. Finding this balance can be tricky in the chaos of the modern world and escape to a writing retreat somewhere tranquil can be just the thing.
In creative writing, as well as poetry and memoir writing, what you write about is often of far less importance than the voice. How you do the telling is what the reader remembers, it’s what the reader falls into and looses themselves within. Plot and topic and setting are naturally important, but it’s the voice that lasts.
It has been said that we keep on reading a book that we’re enjoying not because we want to learn what happens next, but because the spell cast by the writer’s voice keeps us enthralled.
Learning to write well means finding the ability to write as if you are talking – but not the everyday you – the you from way down deep. Your own voice needs to come from within you and then its naturalness and honesty will shine through. But many writers struggle to find their own voice and struggle even harder to get that voice down on paper. Developing the writer’s tool-bag of techniques such as sentence craft and rhythm will help your natural voice come through and at a writing retreat these are the things you will concentrate on.
“Writing,” said John Updike, “is only reading turned inside out.” You learn most of what you need to know about how to write like no one but yourself by reading well. So you may often find yourself reading, as well as writing, in a masterclass.
And you’ll be dreaming. “Writing”, Mark Tredinnick wrote in his poem “Things I’m Trying to Believe”, “is dreaming with a pen in its hand”. So bring a pen, and let the magical place of the writing retreat take you back to your own dreaming place, your self way down deep – the place where the writing rises – and get your dreaming down on paper.