Tips for Organizing a Writer’s Retreat

Writer’s retreats provide a space to create and receive feedback on your work. But formal retreats can be competitive and costly, so why not plan your own? To help, here are some tips for organizing a writer’s retreat.


Recruit participants


Before you begin planning your retreat, build a participant list, since determining the amount of people attending will allow you to plan the retreat’s logistics. If you’d prefer a more intimate gathering, consider simply inviting a few close friends. On the other hand, if you’d like to expand the group and build community, recruit members of your book club or folks you’ve connected with in your social media circles. 


Choose a location


Whether you rent a cabin in the mountains or a house near the beach, retreating to nature will inspire relaxation and creativity. As you search for retreat locations, consider affordable but charming options—keep in mind how an inspiring space can enhance the retreat experience by promoting artistic expression. 


Create a schedule and iron out details


Now that you’ve chosen your retreat’s location, it’s time to create a schedule. If you’re planning a retreat that will only last a few days, dedicate the bulk of the retreat to writing and reviewing each other’s work.


Encourage participants to bring poems or poetry collections they’re already working on so members of the group can take full advantage of this time.  Creating poetry prompts for each morning and night can be a helpful way to start and end the day in a creative environment. Add even more to the inspiring atmosphere by curating a playlist in advance with calming, insightful music. Furthermore, before reviewing each other’s work, set some guidelines, including providing kind, supportive feedback instead of harsh criticism as well as noting qualities you particularly enjoyed. 


To spice up your retreat, prepare poetry-themed appetizers and beverages folks can enjoy throughout the day as you all write, edit, or even play a game or watch a movie to unwind at night. 


As you’re creating your retreat’s schedule, be sure to allow time for sightseeing. You can both incorporate writing with a hike or a beach walk as well as set aside some time to simply visit local coffee shops or other landmarks for fun. 


At the end of the retreat, encourage everyone to either share or write about what they’ve learned or how they’ve grown as writers. This exercise helps folks recognize the impact of the retreat.


Determine a price point


Once you’ve planned your retreat, you can fully determine a price point for participants, including transportation, renting, and food costs. Whether you evenly split costs between everyone, or some members agree to pay for gas or bring more food than others, for example, create a plan that works best for your group. If you plan to visit local businesses, let participants know to bring extra spending money. 


Hopefully, these tips have encouraged you to organize your own writer’s retreat. Writing events like these can often feel intimidating or impossible to attend, and planning one with folks you know makes a retreat achievable and impactful.