January 07, 2014

DIY Writing Retreats – Ramona Heikel

Is there anything that sounds more delicious to a writer than a writing retreat? I think it must be our version of a decadent chocolate dessert. An opportunity for time away from the cares of the world in a quiet, beautiful hideaway, inviting you to work on your novel, poetry or another favorite piece—ahhhh.

But have you considered a day-retreat, or a mini-retreat, at home? It may sound a bit disappointing to hang around your own familiar digs, and call it a retreat. But when you custom-make the schedule and activities for your own priorities and enjoyment, you can have so much fun you can’t help but have a great day (and compose some great work)! I have found these little breaks to be refreshing and satisfying, putting the creativity back into my writing.

Below are outlines for two do-it-yourself writing retreats, based on a mini-retreat I did with a writer's group. One of the joys of a retreat is having someone else take care of your meal and snacks, so prepare drinks and a lunch in advance so you don’t have to “work” in the middle of your inspiring day.

Part of the enjoyment of the day is leisurely reading from some inspirational and educational articles or books, so gather some things the day before that you’ve been anxious to read. Find some quick, easy writing prompts or exercises that look like fun and have those handy as well.

Suggested schedule for a Mini Writing Retreat

10:00 – 10:05     Prayer, quiet your mind
10:05 – 10:15    Do a writing exercise
10:15 – 11:00    Read from articles or books that inspire and encourage
                          your writing
11:00 – 11:10    Coffee/tea break, move around, relax and clear your mind
11:10 – 12:00    Think about, then write your vision or goals as a writer
12:00 – 12:45    Lunch Break

12:45 – 1:00     Do a writing exercise
1:00 – 1:30       Read from articles or books about the craft of writing
1:30 – 2:30      Write a short story, poem or article related to one of your
                         writing exercises
2:30 – 2:45      Coffee/tea break, move around, relax and clear your mind
2:45 – 3:30      Write an article or scene of how you want your writing to
                         affect someone

“Kid Day” – A Mini Writing Retreat for Children’s Writers
Based on the above, but you’re focusing on being a kid today,
so keep it simple and fun!

10:00 – 10:05     Prayer, quiet your mind
10:05 – 10:30     Create a setting for a story from Play-Doh or modeling clay
10:30 – 11:00     Do a writing exercise from a writing book for children
11:00 – 11:10     Shake your sillies out, juice break
11:10 – 12:15     Using several colors of pencil crayons or markers,
                           write a poem in the shape of a rainbow
12:15 – 1:00      Lunch Break
1:00 – 1:15        Do a writing exercise from a writing book for children
1:15 – 2:00        Read a fairy tale, a picture book, or a short children’s book
2:00 – 3:00        Write your own short fairy tale, picture book, or children’s story
3:00 – 3:10        Shake your sillies out, milk and cookies break
3:10 – 4:00        Sing a children’s song and do all the actions,
                          then use it as the basis for a writing prompt

Try one of these, and have fun!

Posted by Ramona


  1. I like these ideas, Ramona, though I like the idea of doing it somewhere away from home even better!

    If you can afford it, home meal delivery works, too. That way it's less work and more like a retreat where you're provided for.

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  7. HI Ramona,
    What a great idea. I love the children's writing one. I wonder if that is something I could do back home. MMM Got me thinking.
    Janis www.janiscox.com
    Do you have a Twitter name?

  8. This is a great idea, Ramona

  9. I love these ideas, Ramona. I'm thinking a person could even use the children's retreat idea as a writing workshop in a local school. I was also thinking adults may enjoy the children's retreat just as well as the adult version, especially if they write for children.

  10. I was just thinking today that I need some ideas for a children's writer's retreat/workshop. Thanks for the ideas! They're great for adults too.

  11. A DIY writer's retreat is a brilliant idea. It would be fun to do with a friend, or on one's own. Love this! Thanks.

  12. Good ideas, Ramona. Our writing group (Women Word Weavers) has a writing retreat at least once a year, but I hadn't thought of taking a day of retreat even by myself. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Great ideas. I might try the children's one with my granddaughter and we can write together. :)

  14. Super ideas. I like the idea of the schedule - I need discipline and accountability! Great post.

  15. I'm so glad you all got some good ideas and so appreciate all your comments! :)


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