Kickstart Your Writing with a Retreat

2018-07-14T13:31:55+00:00By |

I’ve been on a hiatus from my fiction writing career. It wasn’t intentional; I let other tasks and chores get in the way, and failed to prioritize.

Crystal Lake Lodge

Crystal Lake Lodge

My writing is important, and if I want to wrap up my current series and move onto the next one, I need to get back into the groove.

One way to kickstart a writing project is to attend a retreat, and I was in luck. My dear friend Tonya Anderson, owner of Exquisite Life Academy and Joyous Prosperity Retreats, had scheduled a Spring Women’s Retreat at the Crystal Lake Lodge in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania. I knew I had to attend and use the opportunity to rejuvenate both body and soul.

Exquisite Life Academy journal and pen.

My Exquisite Life Academy journal and pen. Each retreat attendee received this gorgeous leather-bound book and personalized ink pen.

One of the workshops I attended at the retreat was taught by Dr. Rachael Hungerford, on “Journal to the Self.” Although it was a brief workshop, she armed attendees with tools to journal efficiently.

I used her 5-minute and 10-minute writing sprints to break through a stubborn mindset, and was delighted with the feedback from the other writers in the workshop, but especially from Dr. Hungerford.

This is the kind of positive reinforcement you can only get at a writing workshop. Most writers, especially me, are hermits, hiding in our home offices, shuffling between email and social media and our manuscripts, and often our manuscripts get the short shrift.

I haven’t been a part of a formal retreat before, so I was not prepared for the level of intimacy that occurs, or the deep friendships that are made. I’ve gone on mini retreats where I sequestered myself from the world to focus on my manuscripts. This was different. This was a moving and lovely experience.

And while I didn’t have a lot of time for writing (I spent more time cooking, eating, canoeing on the lake, rocking on the porch, chatting with the other women), I came away from the retreat with a sense of peaceful purposefulness and yes, even a sense of joyous prosperity.

If you’re interested in attending retreats, bookmark this website:  JoyousProsperityRetreats.com. Tonya Anderson is taking retreat attendees to Bali, and again, I plan to join her.

If you’re interested in Dr. Rachael Hungerford’s workshop, Journal to the Self, I encourage you to contact her via her website: Journal to the Self.

The workshop will provide discussion of  many reasons to journal: reasons to record the events and emotions of your life, how to make  better and more efficient use of your time and energy, how to extend your creativity, how to explore and improve relationships and how to address life issues such as grief, divorce, job changes, moving, retirement and family interactions.

Workshop participants will learn a variety of journaling techniques such as sprints, dialogs, captured moments, unsent letters and if time permits creative meditation.  All written work may be shared though sharing is always an option. All work is confidential.

Dr. Hungerford is a retired professor from Lycoming College where she served as chair of the education program. She taught methods courses and several women’s studies courses.  Every course she taught had a strong writing component. She also teaches memoir writing workshops. She holds a certificate from The Center for Journal Therapy, Boulder, CO. which allow her to teach Journal to the Self Workshops to groups and individuals.

Assistant Professor Emeritus of Education, Lycoming College
A.A., Cayuga County Community College
B.S., State University of New York at Plattsburgh
Ph.D., University of Massachusetts/Amherst

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About the Author:

Robin Van Auken, CEO of Hands on Heritage, is a writer and researcher, with 35+ years experience interviewing people and telling stories. Her educational background combines advanced degrees in Communications and Anthropology, with a focus on Public and Historical (Military/Industrial Sites) Archaeology. In addition to her work as a journalist, she is the author and co-author of a dozen books on regional history. An adjunct college instructor, she has directed multi-year historical and archaeological projects, working with hundreds of volunteers and temporary staff, and educating thousands of visitors.