I recently carried out a survey with people who have attended a writing retreat, workshop or conference and asked them what they thought should be on offer – what it is that would entice them to attend. Their answers were varied, and showed just how different we all are in terms of needs and desires. After I had collated all the responses, I realised that l’atelier des écrivains is going to be just about perfect for anyone.
1. The program has to be dynamic because everyone will be on different levels of writing - some will need writing prompts, some will need quiet, some will require inspiration. In my design I would have a whole group meet for two hours, once in the morning for inspiration and then in the evening for sharing. Other than that I would keep additional sessions optional.
Helen Cross will be using prompts and dynamic writing exercises in our morning workshops of three hours including a break for refreshments. The afternoons are free for writing and quiet time with optional activities, and for those looking for inspiration we have afternoon visits to local sites.
2. For me, time to write is most important. I go to retreats for the dedicated writing time and the creative energy I get from being around a lot of other creatives engaging in their craft, not for classes or anything like that. I do like to chat, but I regret a retreat that feels like it's more talking, teaching, and selling than actual writing time.
There will be no selling involved at l’atelier, just interactive, fun morning workshops where a group of up to ten of us will be sharing our creative energies. For the rest of the day you are free to write.
3. I tend to be about 50/50 when it comes to being a businesswoman vs. being a creative. For me, a retreat really has to offer something substantive if I’m going to participate (as opposed to just a hangout with friends). I sometimes work upwards of 80 hours a week and time is what I’m most short on and I’m very careful about where I invest it.
L’atelier is offering structured morning workshops which will arm writers with techniques, tools and inspiration to weave into their writing lives. No matter how busy a life-style you lead, it is always good to take a step back, and the afternoons give you time to do this in beautiful surroundings, gifting you the time to concentrate on whatever it is you wish.
4. What one gains from a retreat is camaraderie and support. These are very valuable, as writing is such a solitary activity. If high-quality feedback is also available, this is a bonus.
Spending four nights with fellow writers in a beautiful manor house that has plenty of individual space, we hope to build a strong sense of support and camaraderie. One to one sessions with our expert writer, Helen Cross are provided to everyone participating.
5. I've benefited from weekend workshops where a competent speaker gave advice, but the most useful part was having to do short exercises and share with the others for their feedback.
Helen Cross will be giving us short exercises during the morning workshops which will be shared at that moment and also during our meal-times together. Helen currently teaches on the MFA in Creative Writing at UEA.
Come and join us for an experience you’ll never forget!