Some members of my local RWA® chapter have been having “Write Ins.” Members within an area (Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Lansing, etc.) are notified that there will be a Write In at a restaurant or coffee shop on a specific day at a specific time. Those who want to attend will then arrive at the specified location, set up their laptops, pads of paper, or whatever they need to start writing, will get a beverage or something to eat, and will begin writing.
Of course, greetings are shared at the beginning, when people arrive, but this is not a social time. It is a writing time. And that’s what they’ll do for whatever amount of time they have. (Write Ins usually last two or three hours and are held twice a month.) There might be a few who do gather together to discuss a plotting problem or something about their writing, but they position themselves away from the “actually writing writers.”
There’s another group in Michigan (I’m not sure if they have an official title) who have been holding Writing Retreats twice a year (one in the spring and one in the fall). These occur at a motel/hotel where those participating reserve a room, generally at a slightly reduced rate. The writers check in on a Friday afternoon, get settled in their rooms, and then gather for dinner. During dinner the writers get to know each other, share their problems or concerns (which may or may not have anything to do with writing) and simply relax. Then it’s back to the motel and to their rooms to write. (Or a few may break off and meet in one room to discuss life as a writer.) Saturday is spent writing with a few breaks for meals and conversation. Sunday, it’s eat, write, and finally check out of the motel and return home.
So why are writers leaving their homes and doing these write ins and retreats?
I can’t speak for all, but I know when I’m away from home, even if I’m in a busy coffee shop, I can block out everything but my writing. I don’t feel I need to put a load of wash in or make the bed. If there’s a noise in the motel’s hallway, I don’t care (unless it’s a fire alarm). I know it’s not my dog getting into something he shouldn’t. Away from my house, I don’t notice the dust that’s built up on my desk, or the dirt on the floor. I can ignore that nagging feeling I should clean the bathroom, and I’m not interrupted by my husband’s, “Honey, could you help me with this?” or “I’m not interrupting, am I?”
For two hours or two days I concentrate on my writing. And when I do take a break, I have an opportunity to talk to other writers.
Personally I like the idea, I just wish I could participate more often.
If you’re interested, you might look into some other Write Ins and Writing Retreats
Live in New York? Here’s an idea.
And if you have the money, here are some delicious sounding ones
And if you want more information about the Writers’ Retreat in Michigan, contact me and I’ll put you in touch with the person in charge.