fiction writing

Winter Writing Retreat 2018

Several weeks ago I was lucky enough to participate in a three day writing retreat. It look place in Lake Geneva Wisconsin, in a beautiful, secluded lake house. Our group spent three days doing nothing but writing, reading each other’s work, and eating tons of delicious food. It’s been ages since I got so much accomplished in one weekend.


I had always assumed I would have to pay a lot of money to go on a retreat like this. I am lucky enough to be friends with the individual owning this lake house. We set a date and organized it for our own, small writing group. For anyone out there who wants to do a retreat like this but can’t afford it, consider your resources. See if there’s an option like this available to you!


We arrived to the lake house early in the evening on Friday. After chatting over dinner and discussing the prompts menu one of our members had brought, we settled down to start writing. The lake house was large so there were plenty of spaces for writing, though for the most part we stuck to the same room; a living area with a mix of chairs and couches, with a huge wood-burning fireplace. It was basically my dream writing destination.


I'd been fighting a nasty head cold for the past couple of days so I fell asleep writing sometime around 10. My wife dragged me up to bed where I slept off the cold. I was pleased that in the morning I was feeling much more myself, meaning I got a lot more accomplished. Save the occasional pause to cook and chat about our work, we pretty much just wrote all day. We didn’t wrap up until about four in the morning on Saturday. As you can imagine, this led to much less getting done on Sunday, but I do my best writing late at night.

I spent almost the entire time working on the first edit of my novel FanFact. I did the first round of edits of the 50k words I wrote in November for NaNoWriMo. I’ve finished those edits and I’ve done some rewriting, so the plan is to finish writing the first draft over the next month or so. I’d say the book is just a little over half done, and I’m loving it.

I’m also still working on my newest round of edits for Seeking Utopia. It’s taking longer than I’d like, but I’m plowing through it.

Here are my tips for hosting your very own writing retreat!

  • Use a friend’s home that you can spread out across during the weekend.

  • Have your group book all the rooms at a small, atmospheric B&B, where you can write in your room or in the common areas.

  • Have plenty of snacks, especially healthy ones to give you tons of energy.

  • Always have a pot of hot coffee ready.

  • Stay up late. Get up early. Let yourself be irresponsible for a bit and just get as much writing as you can done.

  • If you start to burn out don’t turn to the internet. Read a bit of an author you admire, or discuss your work with other authors on the retreat.

  • Take some time to critique each other’s work. This works best if you come with copies printed for everyone in attendance. Double space it so it is easy for people to make comments and corrections on the paper.

  • Work on a collaborative project with the other writers in attendance. It’s a great way to write about something new.