Have you ever taken part in an online writers’ retreat? Well, I hadn’t until I saw a Facebook post advertising a free online writers’ retreat with Writers’ HQ.
As you all know, Covid-19 has ruined many plans for 2020, and that includes writing-related events. But instead of cancelling the year, many event organisers decided to move their events online. And this is what Writers’ HQ has done.
The online writers’ retreats are held three times a week: Thursday (9 am – 1 pm), Saturday (10 am – 4 pm) and Sunday (10 am – 4 pm).
To access the writers’ retreats, you have to book a spot — you can book one day, two days or all three days. It’s free to book, and your booking is confirmed via email as soon as you book your spot. You’re also sent an email which details what will happen during the event.
On the day of the retreat, you are sent an email with a link that lets you into the live video on Crowdcast — Crowdcast is a live video platform for courses, Q&As, online conferences and webinars.
On the day I attended the writers’ retreat (it was a Saturday), Kathy (sorry, I don’t know her surname) explained the plan for the day:
- 10:00 am – 10:30 am: An introduction webinar where you decide a goal for the day, e.g. write 5,000 words. And what project(s) you plan to work on.
- 10:30 am – 12 pm: Write in 20 or 30-minute sprints with a five to ten-minute break in-between.
- Noon: First check in on Twitter or Writers’ HQ community forum, and then return to writing.
- 2 pm: Second check in on Twitter or Writers’ HQ community forum, and then return to writing.
- 4 pm: A debrief webinar where you share what you did during the retreat.
My goal for the day was to write the first draft of a new short story. Sadly, I didn’t achieve this goal, but I did write 1,807 words.
I managed to do five writing sprints, three 20-minute sprints and two 30-minute sprints. I found that I prefer to do the 30-minute writing sprints instead of the 20-minute ones — this was the first time I tried writing sprints, and I enjoyed it, so I will do them again.
Even though no one was with me during the sprints, it still felt encouraging to know that there were writers who were writing at the same time as me. And I also enjoyed the catch-up in the secret retreat forums.
While I did enjoy my experience, I would have liked live videos during the check-ins rather than just communicating via Twitter or the forum. Actually, I would have also liked there to have been some live videos during the writing sprints, so everyone would be writing at the same time.
I always thought joining a writing livestream would be distracting, but I now think it wouldn’t. So I plan to one day join one of the livestreams on AuthorTube.
Overall, the online retreat was an interesting experience, and I will definitely take part in one again. I’m also interested to see what else the Writers’ HQ community has to offer, and I, of course, will share my experiences here, so stay tuned for that.
Have you attended a writers’ retreat (online or offline)? Let me know in the comment box below. I’d love to hear about your experiences.
Stay safe and keep writing, folks!
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