A number of authors (including friends of mine) have made use of a writer’s retreat. There are a number of these available to rent for groups of writers, which is a great opportunity to network with others in the business besides getting lots of writing done. Surrounding yourself with writers and feeling the collective creative fire is a catalyst to ignite your own. Additionally, the concept of getting away from your normal environment so there are no distractions and scheduling time to write can dramatically increase your writing production.
Besides renting with a group of writers, many writers do this privately. Some even have a property for this purpose, the most popular of which seems to be of the wilderness cabin variety.
I love the idea of the private cabin, but I’m a city slicker. My writing retreats (in shorter time increments) are in bus terminals, train stations, and coffee shops. Living in South Philadelphia, I have my pick of independently owned coffee shops, which I prefer to the corporate ones. But then, Philly has a large art student population and simply being in their vicinity can create some of the collective creative fire mentioned above.
Strangely, I feel like I get more writing out of dingy places than nice. For some reason, juxtaposing the constant movement of people around me with the heavy smell of transportation (train, bus, cab, and even horse ) puts me in the state best for writing. Turning off the internet and phone and getting away from home is as easy as walking out the door (provided you actually DO turn them off).
There is an element of transience to my perfect writer’s retreat, though. I like new writing spots and it has to be spontaneous. I could get on a train to New York tomorrow and find someplace to write for fourteen hours. Of course, in New York the challenge won’t be to ignore my phone but to try to ignore New York. A city slicker like me enjoys the city, so I might need to plan my writing retreat for the Big Apple.
What are the characteristics for your perfect retreat?