Importance of Retreats to the Writing Life

Prologue: Few of us seek the opportunity to get away from our busy lives in order to find a quiet place to write and contemplate that process. Suzi Minor, attended Willow Creek Writers Workshop last summer. Conference resident faculty writer Tina Welling is co-leading the same workshop this year. What each person gets out of such an experience is personal. Thank you, Suzi Minor for sharing your words. Perhaps others will be as inspired and take time for the solitude that can nurture our creative juices.

A paradox of sorts drew me to attend the Willow Creek Ranch Writers Workshop last summer; the desire for solitude while surrounding myself among fellow writers. Before landing on this new territory, my solo trip had become heavy with the weight of my own thoughts questioning my claim as a writer; but it was the sharing of words with other writers that helped clear away that internal baggage of chatter I had carried with me.

The wide open Wyoming landscape allowed me to explore and expand my imagination. Each day brought forth new ideas and an effortless flow to my writing. Maybe it was the influence of the wind, that magical force of nature that blows effortlessly throughout the terrain that allowed my writing to be as open as this place, raw and natural, unedited.

Through this experience I discovered a new way to create, by expanding my imagination from thought, following the trail of words like a hound on the hunt, no longer stopping to edit along the way. Tapping into the environment opened up my senses to explore new feelings. It was as if I’d found a new-found spring of inspiration to draw from: nature.

Here in the vast canvas of emptiness called Wyoming I learned the craft of story, to seed the writing I wanted to bloom, one word, and one sentence at a time.