This past weekend, I took part in the 2nd Annual Federation of British Columbia Writers’ Retreat at the Rosemary Heights Retreat Centre in South Surrey, BC . Such a welcoming venue! The staff was friendly and accommodating and the food was delicious and nutritious. Each attendee had a single room with ensuite bath. The wing assigned to the group had a meeting room, a living room, a dining area, and a kitchen. In addition, there were quiet places (both inside and out) for reflection.
So what did I do there?
I wrote. I chose the tactile approach this weekend, meaning that I printed out my three-hundred-page manuscript and took it with me. I read through it, looking for plot holes and character blips, liberally marking it up as I went along.
I attended workshops. There were three excellent presenters (Lois Peterson, Ben Nuttall-Smith, and George Opacic) and a smorgasbord of workshops: Character, Point of View, Voice, Show vs Tell, Oral Reading, Query Letters, Writing to View, and Digital Publishing.
I had a Blue Pencil Session. I greatly appreciated seeing my manuscript through the eyes of another author: strengths glowed; weaknesses glared. (These insightful sessions were available daily. Thank you, Ben and Lois!)
I met other writers. In between sessions and at meals, we shared life experiences, suggested great reads, and tossed around writing ideas.
I reflected. I abandoned the grid in favor of a time free of distraction, a time to focus, a time to create ‘white space’ in my overworked brain. I frequented the chapel to meditate, found space to do Tai Chi, and wandered the wood path (nothing like nature— a symphony of chickadees, the scent of pine and cedar, the sponge of mossy carpet, the vibrant green of ferns, the rustle of autumn leaves—to bring stillness to the soul.)
This was my first writers’ retreat. I returned home with a better handle on my manuscript and new avenues to improve it. Oh, yes. And inner peace.
Overall, a fabulous experience, one that I highly recommend!
My best to you,