Nicole J Simms/ November 15, 2020/ Blog/ 0 comments

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My First Time at a Heart Breathings’ Virtual Writing Retreat

On 16th October 2020, I took part in my first Heart Breathings’ virtual writing retreat. The event lasted for three days, and its goal is to help you write your current project.

In October, I joined Sarra Cannon’s Heart Breathings Word Sprints Challenge Facebook group. I had heard about this group from Sarra’s Heart Breathings YouTube channel, which I watch for the great writing and self-publishing advice — she’s amazing. If you’re a writer, I recommend you watch this channel.

In the Facebook group, Sarra and her moderators hold live writing sprints, and you (as a member) are encouraged to start your own writing sprints by posting in the group. While the focus of the group is writing sprints, we also discuss writing-related news and share our own writing achievements. It’s a supportive and motivating group.

So, when I saw that the group did three-day virtual writing retreats, I jumped at the chance to join.

My First Time at a Heart Breathings’ Virtual Writing Retreat - My Door Sign

October’s retreat was at a lakeside cottage in the Appalachian, Tennessee. So, to get ready for the retreat, I created a sign for my bedroom door and placed a rectangle piece of pink felt outside my door for my doormat. This was to help me believe that once I stepped into my bedroom to write, I was transported to the retreat.

My First Time at a Heart Breathings’ Virtual Writing Retreat - Retreat Location Photos

I also found photos of the inside of a cabin, a view of a cabin by a lake in an autumnal forest and a lake in Tennessee. So, if I felt myself returning to reality, I would look at the photos.

My final preparation was finding different playlists on Spotify to help me set the scene. The types of playlists I chose were autumn ambience, witchy nature ambience, lake ambience and inside a cabin ambience.

So, how does the virtual writing retreat work? Well, the retreat lasts for three days: Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There are official live writing sprints, which you watch inside of the group. Sarra Cannon, Lisa Forette and Rhiannon Futch host these official live writing sprints. Any extra writing sprints can be started in the comments of the retreat’s daily post. And, you can set your writing goal and record your daily word count in a group spreadsheet.

My goal for the retreat was to write 6,000 words of my supernatural horror. So, let’s see how I did.

Day One

My First Time at a Heart Breathings’ Virtual Writing Retreat - Day One

There were two planned official live writing sprints: 10 am – 12 pm EST (3 pm – 5 pm GMT) and 9 pm – 11 pm EST (2 am – 4 pm GMT).
The night one was too late for me, so I only did the first sprint session with Sarra. There were five sprints, but I missed the first, so I only took part in four sprints. During that session, I wrote 2001 words.

Day Two

My First Time at a Heart Breathings’ Virtual Writing Retreat - Day Two

There were three planned official live writing sprints: 10 am – 12 pm EST (3 pm – 5 pm GMT), 2 pm – 4 pm EST (7 pm – 9 pm GMT) and 9 pm – 11 pm EST (2 am – 4 pm GMT).

I wanted to do the first two sprint sessions, but I missed the second session, so I wrote for an hour by myself. For the first sprint session, I again missed the first sprint, but I managed to take part in the next four sprints. And during that sprint session, I wrote 2,502 words.
For my sprints, I wrote 1,584 words.

So in total, I wrote 4,086 for day two.

Day Three

My First Time at a Heart Breathings’ Virtual Writing Retreat - Day Three

There were three planned official live writing sprints: 10 am – 12 pm EST (3 pm – 5 pm GMT), 2 pm – 4 pm EST (7 pm – 9 pm GMT) and 9 pm – 11 pm EST (2 am – 4 pm GMT).

This time I only planned to attend one sprint session, which was the first sprint session. Again, I missed the first sprint of that session (I must do better next time). But I did join the next three sprints, and I wrote 2011 in total.

So, for the whole retreat, I wrote a total of 8,098, which is 2,098 words more than my goal. I was so pleased with my word count, and I had a brilliant time writing with the other Heart Breathings members. I recommend this group to all writers — trust me, you won’t regret joining. I can’t wait for the next retreat.

The next virtual writing retreat will be from 20th November 2020 to 22nd November 2020 — I hope to see you there.

Have you joined a virtual writing retreat? Let me know in the comments below.

Stay safe and keep writing, folks!

Don’t forget, if you want email alerts of my latest posts, then please subscribe. And you can follow me on Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads or like my Facebook page — you can also join my online writing group Setting Self-Doubt on Fire Squad.

Also, I’ve also created a Nicole J Simms YouTube channel. On my channel, I will be sharing videos of my performances, trips, writing group adventures and my stories.

And, you can also download my e-book The Book of Drabbles for FREE, so check it out.

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