A Room of One’s Own – Finding Writing Space and Inspiration

If You’re a writer, one of the biggest barriers to finishing a writing project is day-to-day diversions. Many writers find success completing projects only by getting away from home and its inherent distractions and responsibilities.

Finding a quiet place to write isn’t difficult. Some writers build a little garden hut, others rent secluded cabins, and some find success in a quiet corner of a library or café. However, if your writing requires a little inspiration to go along with your seclusion, a writing retreat might be catalyst that launches your writing career.

Last week, in “Writing Away From it All“, we looked at writing retreats for established writers?those who have at least one published product to their credit. This week, we’ll explore some retreat possibilities that are open to any qualified writer who can afford the fee.

Writers? retreats typically provide accommodation in inspiring surroundings, and often include writing coaching. They can be hosted by educational institutions, writing or arts-related groups, or private enterprise. Writers can find retreats using the internet, scouring writing publications, and through word of mouth from members of local writing groups. While many are open to unpublished writers, some require writing samples to accompany the program application. Below are brief descriptions of a few retreats available.

The Banff Centre. The crème de la crème of Canadian writers? retreats. If you would find inspiration rubbing shoulders with the likes of Margaret Atwood, Joseph Boyden, Yann Martel, or Michael Ondaatje, The Banff Centre might be for you. Writers can apply to participate in literary arts programs, or simply book a room with an inspiring view. The centre is “nestled on the side of Tunnel Mountain” in Banff, Alberta, with access to Wi-Fi and hiking trails. You can’t do much better than this. Fees vary by program: The Writing Life 5-day program this fall is $996 and includes meals and accommodation. Check out http://www.banffcentre.ca for more details.

Sage Hill Writing. A combination of getting away from it all with writing workshops to push the writer forward. Located on Blackstrap Lake, near Dundurn, Saskatchewan, Sage Hill offers writing programs for writers of all genres, in any stage of their career. Less experienced writers can check out their Emerging Writer Workshop, which runs July 20-30, 2015 and features authors Wayne Grady and Merilyn Simonds. Summer programs are $1295; scholarships and bursaries are available. Visit http://www.sagehillwriting.ca for details on programs and accommodation.

Write By the Lake. An annual writers? retreat hosted by author and creative writing instructor Richard Taylor. Held at a private cottage on Lac Brassard in Val-des-Monts, Quebec, this retreat includes opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, and swimming. 2015’s retreat took place this week, but keep it in mind for next year or check out other writing activities on Taylor’s website. The Write By the Lake retreat runs for five days each July during the day only (no accommodation but lunch is provided); this year’s fee was $395. See http://www.taylorswave.ca for more details.

Whether you want a room of your own?without distractions?to write, the company of other writers, or coaching and classes, there is sure to be a writers? retreat to meet your needs. Since many retreats are held in beautiful surroundings, writers can use this time as a combination of vacation and work. Most writers? retreats offer flexibility, allowing writers to divide their time between work and play.

Good luck with your writing project! Next week, we’ll look at Writers-in-Residence programs available for established writers.

Barbara Lehtiniemi is a writer, photographer, and AU student. She lives on a windswept rural road in Eastern Ontario

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