“Why I Love Writing Retreats,” By Ruby Speechley
‘A week or even just a weekend retreat can move your writing beyond your expectations’.
Novelist Ruby Speechley has been to 12 writing retreats in her career so far. Each one has led her to some kind of “breakthrough” with her work. One even led indirectly to her getting published, as she reveals in this interview…
How many writing retreats have you been to?
About seven with Retreat West, eleven or twelve in total.
How have these retreats benefited you as a writer? (e.g. did they improve your writing in some way, or improve your confidence, or perhaps help you to get published, etc.)
Retreats gave me dedicated time to write on a particular project.
They were an opportunity to meet other writers and take my writing more seriously.
Tutored retreats have usually included one-to-ones with authors.
Their feedback has given me confidence and inspired me to improve my writing.
What do you get from a writing retreat that you just can’t get any other way?
I’ve met lots of other writers and tutors and learned from both. I’m still in touch with many of them.
Meeting one tutor led me to take a six-month novel writing course which helped me to become published.
I don’t know of any other way that you could take yourself out of your everyday life and dedicate yourself totally to writing.
What kind of people do you meet at writing retreats?
A huge variety of people, from beginners, people who write as a hobby to more experienced writers who are published or aim to be.
Being amongst other writers and talking about writing is a joy because it is a shared passion.
What does Amanda Saint bring to writing retreats that is unique to her?
Amanda is friendly and inclusive, creating a relaxed atmosphere straight away.
In workshops, she’s good at gently pushing you beyond your comfort zone.
[Click to read Amanda herself reveal what she thinks are essential elements for the perfect writing retreat.]
What are the potential downsides of a writing retreat? What kind of writer might not benefit from them?
Retreats can look quite pricey, but everything is included except travel expenses, so you’d probably spend about the same if you went on a normal holiday.
I can’t think of any kind of writer who wouldn’t benefit from a retreat. I’ve been going on them from when I first started writing and have always learnt something new.
What advice would you offer to writers who are thinking about whether a writing retreat would be good for their writing or their career?
If you need space and peace to write, time dedicated completely to coming up with story ideas or working on a writing project with no interruptions, then a retreat is for you.
Creativity thrives when we’re relaxed and daydreaming.
I also discovered what a luxury it is not having to worry about cooking every night, cleaning or shopping for food, because someone else is doing that for you!
A week or even just a weekend retreat can move your writing beyond your expectations. Quite often for me, it’s marked a breakthrough.
Thank you Ruby for giving us your thoughts on the benefits of writing retreats.
If you’re interested in attending a writing retreat with celebrated creative writing tutor Amanda Saint, check out our upcoming retreat >>here.
Read more about Ruby and her work by checking out her website here.
And check out Ruby’s debut novel “Someone Else’s Baby”, due out on July 25th.