Looking forward…

We hope we find you all safe and well, and that your creative selves are finding space to be active. At The Writing Retreat we are busy making plans for the rest of 2020 and, more trickily, for our 2021 programme – more on that in a moment.

We completed our Stay Home Summer Sundays in July with a session on Blogging, which was a sell-out, and according to participant feedback, was highly enjoyable and informative. If we were in any doubt about the potential of online systems like Zoom to offer an alternative venue for writers to gather together in a supportive and inviting community, we can now categorically put those doubts to bed. We have loved welcoming guests from all over the globe into our Zoom rooms, and it has felt very much like a real meeting of friends, both old and new.

Several of you have been in touch to enquire about when we will be resuming our real-life events, particularly our 5-day residential retreats. The honest answer is that we simply don’t know. At the moment, with restrictions on gatherings of more than six people from different households, it is impossible to plan ahead for residential retreats in 2021. We would normally book our venues up to a year ahead but we simply can’t predict how things will be progressing that far into the future. It seems inconceivable that guests, some of them strangers from different locations, including international, will feel confident to gather together until there is a major shift in the Covid-19 situation. For now, we must remain patient.

On the plus side, we are planning an exciting online programme for 2021, and more news on this will be available shortly. We have based our plans on the results of our recent survey of guests; if you contributed to that, thank you. For now, we have devised a new series of Stay Home Autumn Sundays to keep your writerly juices flowing for the remainder of 2020. Bookings for these are now open on the website and early booking is advised as we can only fit so many of you into our Zoom room at once. Our autumn topics are Urban Settings (Sept 27), Rural Settings (Oct 25) and Fantasy Settings (Nov 29). You can find out more about these half-day retreats on our Autumn Sundays page.

For those of you looking to join a critique group and get probing feedback on their writing while developing their own critique skills, Kath has spaces in her two groups from next week, and you can contact her about this on katmorgan2@btinternet.com. These groups were previously restricted to those able to travel to Falmouth, but we now meet weekly via Zoom, which means you can join them from anywhere in the world. You can find out more about how these sessions work by checking out Kath’s website here.

We hope to see some of you in our Zoom room soon. In the meantime, we’ll be posting our 2021 programme shortly. There should be something for everyone, but if you have any ideas (no matter how ‘outside the box’ they seem) for how we can continue to bring our writing community together in 2021, drop us an email at thewritingretreat@btinternet.com and we’ll see if we can include it. These are interesting times, but that just means we need to find more interesting solutions.

Keep writing and stay safe.

Warm regards,

Kath and Jane

The return of the purple folders

Isn’t it funny what you miss? In pre-pandemic times the purple folders in which we carry our workshop notes and essential information for our retreats are a familiar sight. They sit on the table with us during workshops and by the fireside in the evenings after dinner during our residential weeks. Whether the retreat is a fully residential five days or a Sunday one-day event, the folders never leave our sides.

Since lockdown we have been running our half day Sunday retreats online from home, and the purple folders have been forgotten. When Jane discovered hers in a pile of papers, gathering dust,  she commented on how much she had missed it.

‘Well,’ said Kath,’ why not start using it again?’ A good question.

Some of our traditional ways of working may be on hold at the moment but we are slowly making plans for the future. Having run three online half days now, we see how easy it can be for people to gather from all corners of the UK and well beyond, via Zoom. While we will certainly be offering more events online, we recognise that being able to meet face to face is as important as ever. Events in real places will continue to be a valued part of our programme.

The purple folders are coming out of storage as we plan our next steps, and we intend to offer a mix of the ‘real’ and the virtual in future.  If you have requests or suggestions for topics we can cover, or types of retreat – online weekends, weekdays or evenings – please drop us an email to thewritingretreat@btinternet.com.

We are taking a break in August but The Writing Retreat will be back in the autumn with more Sundays and other events to look forward to into 2021.

Stay safe and well, and enjoy your writing.