Virtual Writing Retreat

Blog Post No. 430

2017 AWP Retreat

If you missed last week’s post, I wouldn’t be surprised because it wasn’t terribly popular. They can’t all be winners. Either way, in that post I mentioned that over the weekend I would be attempting a Virtual Writing Retreat with the Wrecking Writing crew. Starting on the Friday, we had a group chat for about an hour before logging off and getting to work on whatever projects we each had planned for the weekend. We had set a rough goal for 10am to 2pm in the day and 7 to 10pm at night. The general idea was to keep in touch over messenger and be free to take breaks or call the sessions for ourselves when we saw fit. It was as close to a real writers retreat as we could get without being together at a cottage over a weekend.

It was nice to have some writing times scheduled by someone else (or the group in this case) rather than relying on myself to get around to writing sometime in the morning, after I managed to get myself out of bed, had breakfast, and done whatever other thing I come up with to procrastinate with. Knowing that I had to get up so that I could be at my computer for the video chat was enough to light a fire under me when all I wanted to to was hide under the warm covers on these cold winter mornings. It was also handy to go right from the chat (which was nice on its own) and onto writing without wasting time on the internet. All that sounds like I’m really bad at getting to work and I have historically had trouble starting, but it’s not usually so extreme. Still, the fact that other people were in it with me, the peer pressure, and having people relying on me to do my part, were helpful.

clone-high-ep9It was also good to force myself to try having two writing sessions in a day. I’ve done that in the past when it was practical, but when I’m on my own, it’s easy to get to a predetermined word count and call it a day. That’s another benefit from retreats. Pushing yourself to sit and write for longer than you normally would. Sometimes it works really well and other times it’s a struggle—but either way, there is some progress to show for it.

Obviously it wasn’t the same doing it virtually. We were all still at home with all the distractions that come with it. The motivation that I get from seeing other people around me typing away was also missing. I knew they were out there working, and that helped, but it isn’t the same. In the end, I wrote about 4500 words of a new short story. I’m nearly finished and I hope that by the time this post is up, I’ll have wrapped it up and maybe even done an early edit on it. Last year at the writers retreat I ended up writing more than 6000 words towards the Invasion Novel and I got some editing in for Broadcast Wasteland. Which was about what I had hoped going in at the time.

giphy-1So, I didn’t get as much done this year, but with the situation different (being at home, responsible for myself with distractions I allowed to get in the way) I think I did okay. It was certainly beneficial. I doubt I would have done that much on my own. I can’t speak for everyone else, but they seemed to share the same sentiment. It was nice to catch up and talk shop over video chat, and having the structure of the virtual retreat helped everyone focus and get a little more done. Still, I do miss the real thing. It will be nice to plan one for next year (if we’re lucky).

In the mean time, I’m still getting edits for Break/Interrupt, I have the ebooks to settle, and I want to get another short story done before April when the novella is out and I jump to editing the Invasion Novel. We talked about doing another virtual retreat or even a single day where we start with a chat and keep each other accountable for getting work done. I’ll definitely be up for that. I’m thankful for the Wrecking Writing Crew. Trying to do all of this on my own would be terrible.

7 thoughts on “Virtual Writing Retreat

  1. Vanessa Shields

    I’ve done two virtual writing retreats since this madness began…with plans for a third in the works. I also have ‘check-ins’ with my writing partner nearly every day. Sometimes it’s a quick chat to say what we’ve written whilst others it’s a longer talk about process and struggles…and celebrations on getting work done. We used write together on facetime every day…so i could hear her typing! But we stopped that for now and do a day to day check in. Great job to you and the wrecking writers! it helps so much to know you’re not alone writing! Hope you get your short story done!

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