We’ve talked about conferences now and then, but writer’s retreats are a different matter entirely. Retreats are about writing, or at least should be, while conferences are more typically about networking and pitching and learning about publishing and craft. If you’re thinking about a retreat, first decided what you want to accomplish. Do you need a leader, or are you working on a place to finish (or start) a project? Is this also a ‘get away’ from daily life and a chance to recharge (i.e do you need a beach or spa or fine dining)? Do you have a weekend or a few weeks? Don’t forget that you can make your own retreat…. Borrow a friend’s vacation home, book yourself into a hotel, or simply send the family away to relatives so you can write. Bottom line, even a short retreat can help a writer accomplish a great deal. Two or three days to work on difficult issues in your manuscript may work wonders. If you want a ‘learning’ retreat, investigate the package. How are the days/hours structured? What will be ‘taught’? Will there be classes (on plot, character, even getting published) or prompts? Or, are you working on your project, using the instructor as a critic? Do you go alone or take a writing buddy for moral support? Bottom line, taking time to focus ONLY on writing can work miracles, but to benefit you have to set goals and match the experience to your goals. Writing miracles benefit from planning…. That said, any experiences to share? Any cautions or success stories (come on, you’ve led a retreat where a student wrote a break out novel or wrote one of your own!)?