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Tips for getting the most out of writing retreats?

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I'm going to my first writing retreat this fall and I'd love to get some tips from others on getting the most from a retreat. The focus is on revision and there will be small group critiques along with some craft presentations (from Kate Messner and Linda Urban), as well as writing time.

It's from Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon.

Any thoughts on how to prepare and maximize my time while I'm there would be great. Thank you!

-Kellie
#1 - August 25, 2014, 09:07 AM
You're never too old to become younger. - Mae West

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I think it helps to decide beforehand what it is you want from the retreat. Do you want to use the quiet writing time when you're not in crit sessions for actual writing, or for face time with other like-minded authors to brainstorm or just talk shop?  They're both entirely valid ways to recharge your writerly batteries--you just have to decide what you need more.  And be flexible! If you'd planned on some face time, but a crit has fired you to go revise, then go for it and fit in the face time later.

Have a great time!
#2 - August 25, 2014, 10:07 AM
The Leland Sisters series: Courtship and Curses, Bewitching Season, Betraying Season (Holt BYR/Macmillan)
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Marissa gave you good advice.  I'll add don't forget to network and forge relationships with the other writers participating.  I think retreats are a great way to meet critique partners, connect with other writers and make friends as well as work on your writing.  I help arrange our yearly retreat and find that some people focus exclusively on the editor or agent speaker and overlook the interesting, helpful and friendly fellow writers (many of them with years of valuable experience) sitting next to them at the lunch table. 
#3 - August 25, 2014, 06:38 PM
Rebecca Langston-George
The Women's Rights Movement: Then and Now
Capstone: January, 2018

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Thanks, Marissa and Rebecca!

As far as I know, there won't be any editors or agents attending...just writers, some pubbed and some not. Which I think is a fine thing, because the focus is on craft and not so much schmoozing. 

I like the idea of setting some goals prior to the retreat...I might have a few key chapters to try to revise while I'm there, but I definitely want to brainstorm with others.

Looking forward to it!
#4 - August 25, 2014, 07:50 PM
You're never too old to become younger. - Mae West

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