Spring has sprung! Actually, we had snow flurries recently, but we’ve also had some gorgeous days filled with sunshine and warmth. While I’ve been very much looking forward to spring days versus wintery gloom, I’ve also been counting down the days to the annual KS/MO SCBWI Writing Retreat. The retreat was last weekend and it was wonderful!
First, quick backstory. I’ve been a member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) for five years. It’s one of those memberships that I’m so happy I have and I wish I would have joined earlier. As an active member in my regional chapter KS/MO SCBWI, I’m the New & Lapsed Member Coordinator, a participant in critique groups, webinars, our annual regional conference, and for the last two years I’ve attended our writers’ retreat.
But let’s talk writers’ retreat.
The KS/MO SCBWI organizes an annual writing retreat in the spring to the picturesque Conception Abbey. It runs a full weekend (Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon) and it has become one of my MOST favorite things to do as a writer. If you’ve never attended a writing retreat and are curious about how it is, I’m going to share a bit about the KS/MO SCBWI annual retreat and why I find it to be incredibly beneficial to me as a writer.
I’ve never attended any other writing retreat and my experience may not necessarily reflect those of other attendees. Having the opportunity to not only spend a weekend with other Kid Lit writers, but also to have serious consecutive hours to focus on writing, research, and planning for my current WIP as well as projects that will take me through the rest of 2023.
The retreat isn’t just quiet/solitude time to connect with your inner muse and bang out all the words. This retreat has a fantastic balance of professional presentations, group critique sessions, and social time that is filled with laughter and fun.
I love the opportunity to workshop a project with a critique group that isn’t my regular, monthly CPs who have already seen the pages multiple times. I find fresh eyes to be extremely helpful and it gives me the opportunity to read pages from new-to-me writers, which is a lot of fun.
If you have the opportunity and ability to attend a writing retreat, I encourage you to consider it. I was hesitant last year to go because I’d never been and wasn’t sure if I could justify the expense and the time away. For me, it’s worth it. Not only do I learn a lot from the visiting industry professional and the other writers, but having an entire weekend to bounce ideas off writing friends IN PERSON is amazing!
Have you ever gone to a writing retreat? If so, is it one you’d recommend? I’d love to hear from you.