?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Writing Retreats in the Fall

« previous entry | next entry »
May. 22nd, 2012 | 01:40 pm

Hey Friends - looks like I'm going to be teaching a few weekend retreats this fall in Upstate New York. One weekend will focus on Yoga and Writing (I'm an Iyengar teacher), one on Young Adult, and one on Creative Non-Fiction. Or so goes the rough plan.

I'm not trying to "market" it right now, so don't worry about whether your attendance is an option, but I am finding out what writers want, and what they'd expect to pay.

QUESTION NUMBAH ONE:

If you were at a writing retreat, what would you want to learn and how would you want to spend your time?
 - focused writing exercises?
 - workshopping each other's work?
 - private time to write/think?
 - individual sessions with the leader?
- writing from prompts?
- writing based on what you're working on?
- business of the business stuff like query letters and how to approach an agent?
 - other?

QUESTION NUMBAH TWO:

Here's what's (tentatively) included:

Friday - Welcome dinner and two-hour workshop
Saturday - Continental breakfast, Lunch, five hours of workshop time in two sessions
Sunday - Continental breakfast and three hours of workshop time

What would you expect to pay? There will be a "with lodging" price and a "stay at the hotel down the street on your own" price. I'm just looking for what the workshop and meals should cost. Food will be organic, local, and pleasant but not gourmet.

All feedback and ideas are welcome, and feel free to comment on other people's comments, too!

Thanks!

Link | Leave a comment | Share

Comments {17}

blahblahblah, whatever

(no subject)

from: kathrynrose
date: May. 22nd, 2012 06:18 pm (UTC)
Link

Numbah One - I think it would be cool to have writing prompts sent with pre-registration, so people could bring things they've spent time with along with their WIPs for each other's feedback. Then also on the spot flash writing. The private time to write/think I can make on my own at home or between sessions. Individual sessions could be an extra feature people could pay extra for if they'd like.

Back to feedback. With all the talking we do about concrit, giving valuable feedback is a skill, and you rock at it. I think there's value in the concrit of concrit.

Numbah Two I'm not as comfortable with, because I have no idea. I'd guess $500 is a good number, depending on how much travel/lodging/etc would also cost.


I think it's exciting that you're doing this.

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 27th, 2012 01:47 pm (UTC)
Link

Thanks, this is so helpful!

Reply | Parent | Thread

(no subject)

from: Alex Kahler
date: May. 22nd, 2012 06:18 pm (UTC)
Link

I can't really answer what I'd expect to pay for accom, but $50 a day sounds reasonable to me if it's shared rooms, etc. Really depends on where you are and what the digs are.

As for what I'd look for: since this isn't a "meet agents/editors" I'd want more of a focus on craft. Workshopping, private time, and perhaps a few optional prompts to spur the minds of those without definitive projects. Individual sessions/crits would be great but I'd expect to be charged. Things like pitching/querying would be fantastic for those new to the game. Perhaps having a series of workshops to choose from, run by different people (or, say, you have the option of a talk or private writing time).

Sounds really cool.
Also, yoga for the win.

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 27th, 2012 01:48 pm (UTC)
Link

Thanks, this is helpful!

Reply | Parent | Thread

Patty Cryan

(no subject)

from: p_m_cryan
date: May. 22nd, 2012 06:20 pm (UTC)
Link

Are you familiar with Camp Necon? Thier room-and-board-all-included pricing makes them closer to a workshop format than a traditional convention or conference.

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 27th, 2012 01:48 pm (UTC)
Link

Thanks - that gave me a ton of ideas!

Reply | Parent | Thread

Patty Cryan

(no subject)

from: p_m_cryan
date: May. 28th, 2012 12:40 am (UTC)
Link

Glad to be of service.

Reply | Parent | Thread

dblicher

(no subject)

from: dblicher
date: May. 22nd, 2012 06:46 pm (UTC)
Link

Hey there! I always prefer private time to write interspersed with optional activities among other people....Btw, I have occasionally taught one- and two-session classes at retreats. If the timing works out and you need someone, please ask!

I usually attend retreats at convent-run centers that charge $70 or so per night, meals included. These retreats are self-directed with little teaching. (When I taught for them, I was paid peanuts but it was fun.)

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 27th, 2012 01:49 pm (UTC)
Link

Thanks, this is a good model to know about! And yes, will totally keep you in mind :)

Reply | Parent | Thread

dragon

(no subject)

from: dragonwrites
date: May. 22nd, 2012 08:48 pm (UTC)
Link

Hey, it's Monica:

I left a long message on Facebook before I read this post...my answer was based on a one-week retreat, not a 3-day weekend, so, i guess, cut the price in half from what I said on FB?

All the options on question number one are good to me. Participants can choose not to avail themselves of options they don't need (like, I feel like I've taken plenty of workshops on the business end of things, but, in a mixed group, many people would want that). I enjoy writing exercised, but not everyone does; I like getting feedback, but there's a point where you need to just distill it and get back to your work.

On our retreat, we took fun optional day trips almost every day, but we had a lot more time and there were a lot of natural/ancient wonders within 30 minutes' drive of our (3000 sq ft, air conditioned, full equipped) "cabin." Our main thing was having 4-6 hours of quiet writing time every day (all the sightseeing inspired me). Everyone who wanted got a 1-hour workshop. Plus, one wonderful thing that evolved was our after-dinner conversation, which was exclusively about art/being an artist and really recharged us all. Like I said on FB, I did almost all the cooking, which kept costs down a lot.

I don't think $300-$450 would be too much to charge for what you're planning.

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 27th, 2012 01:49 pm (UTC)
Link

Thanks, this is so helpful! And I want to go on the next one you lead, too :)

Reply | Parent | Thread

(Deleted comment)

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 27th, 2012 01:49 pm (UTC)
Link

Thanks, this is so helpful!

Reply | Parent | Thread

unmowngrass

(no subject)

from: unmowngrass
date: May. 23rd, 2012 12:56 am (UTC)
Link

Good luck with this venture!

I'm someone who considers myself "not a real writer", if you take that to mean I don't have any compulsion to write, I don't have characters knocking on the inside of my head, etc etc. In fact if we're using that metric, I am a dancer and a choreographer, despite never really having had any dance lessons in my life. But I want to become better at the craft of actually putting words together to make interesting pieces, and that is exactly the reason why I would like to take a writing weekend like this, if the price was right. (Which, bearing in mind that because I'm 'not a real writer', I therefore don't value it as much as 'real writers' would do, means that for me the right price is... $70-$100 for the entire weekend (no-lodging). {Sorry.} But I would probably pay $400 for a dancing and choreography workshop, if I had the money, so I guess for people that love this kind of thing that's the right price for it? I don't really have a clue, sorry.)

But anyway. Price it up according to your costs plus how much money you want to make.

But anyway. What I, as "not a real writer" would be looking for on this type of weekend, were I to do one, would be something that teaches me the actual craft, like focussed writing exercises, writing from prompts, and two or three one to one sessions with the leader (even if they were only fifteen minutes each). When I say writing from prompts, I don't really mean in the LJ Idol style, but more something like "go away and write a piece in the style of ___________ [author to emulate]". I'm assuming this venue will have a decent library for perusal on site, so that I could look up anyone I hadn't previously heard of. Also, I sometimes flounder at the point of coming up with ideas to lead a story on, so prompts in the form of give me a character and a plot line and see how well I actually tell the story would also be great. If it was something like that, where it isn't the imagination of the writer that's on show as much as the actual craft itself, I think it would be great to do alongside everyone else, and then learn from each other in sharing what we've done afterwards and then discussing individually with the leader too.

I would expect to be given some homework both before and for the breaks in-between sessions, but not so much that there was no downtime either.

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 27th, 2012 01:49 pm (UTC)
Link

Thanks - great perspective!

Reply | Parent | Thread

Jemima Pauler

(no subject)

from: jem0000000
date: May. 23rd, 2012 08:52 am (UTC)
Link

Writing exercises and workshopping, definitely. Optionally, business stuff, prompt writing, maybe a Q&A or speakers section, and individual sessions. I like the idea of sending out the prompts beforehand; I also think suggesting that participants bring along anything they'd like feedback on would be good.

My "other" is a speaker(s) session to help with specific problems. Like maybe have participants write down something they want to learn and drop it into a box at the beginning (or ask them to send it with their registration). Then the speaker(s) address(es) the topics (worldbuilding? characterization?) that the participants pick with a talk or a series of short talks (the second way, you can post a schedule and then maybe people can choose whether to attend or to have writing time in another room?). And maybe if there's time a Q&A at the end for elaborating on anything that's not clear?

You could also split a single session into "writing" and "workshop" sessions, so that the two go hand-in-hand, sort of like the work room here. But I'd do more than one, in that case, to make sure everyone has time to be workshopped. (I don't know what size group you'll be working with.)

You'll also need to factor in when they're having the sessions; writing could be a good one for Friday, when everyone's a bit tired from the drive, as we're often more creative when tired. (Avoid things where people need to take coherent notes for future reference, like the business thing.) Then maybe workshopping and the talks on Saturday, when people will be more alert. And perhaps choose something a little less structured (or the optional stuff) for Sunday, in case something comes up and someone needs to leave early.

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 27th, 2012 01:50 pm (UTC)
Link

Thanks - so helpful, especially the suggestions on the timing of different sessions!

Reply | Parent | Thread

Jemima Pauler

(no subject)

from: jem0000000
date: May. 27th, 2012 06:33 pm (UTC)
Link

You're welcome!

We're planning the family reunion this year, so I've been looking at what works and what doesn't re: past years. :)

Reply | Parent | Thread