There are many, many, many opportunities for you to spend tons of money on writers’ retreats. You can join a group of like-minded individuals and be guided through your project (in my case, screenplays) and gain the benefit and insight of those who have walked the road before you.
But what if the opportunity arises for you to create your own writers’ retreat? This is what happened for me and my co-writer, Blake Pinter. We are currently nearing the end of a two week retreat in the perfectly lovely Cape May in New Jersey.
I knew nothing of Cape May and had never even been to New Jersey prior to this visit. I have learned a lot on so many levels that I can’t imagine not doing such a retreat again, if all the cards align.
In our case, a friend’s house in the Cape May area became available and we brought our suitcases, our laptops and our dream project with us.
We do not have anyone guiding us or instructing us or prodding us. We have only our own consciences and desire to write a great script. We also have peace and quiet and enough time and space to spread out and think clearly about what we really want to say.
Blake is from New Jersey and is a frequent visitor to Cape May. But for me, everything was fresh and new. I was able to take brisk walks along the shore in the morning, explore the quaint, charming streets and “soak up” the atmosphere. All of this gave me a fresh view of not only what I was trying to achieve, but also a new perspective on myself. Speaking for myself, I became quite clear that it is essential to “get out of town” as often as possible in order to refresh the mind and the creative spirit.
This particular experience was unique and I don’t know that we will have such an opportunity in the future, but if we are not offered one, I know I will have to create one.
Wherever you might be in your writing career, if you need to “get away,” do so. Even if it is for a day or two. Allow yourself the time and space to look at your pages, new or old ones, with eyes refreshed by nature or a new city or a different environment.
As this retreat draws to a close, I am cherishing every minute and I know it will be sad to say goodbye. But I am buoyed by the fact that we have essentially “banged out” a rough draft of a new screenplay, and that was the goal.