Sunday, 27 August 2017

Retreat! Lynn Huggins-Cooper

Today, I am embarking on an exciting new adventure. I have run many writing courses over the years, and enjoyed them thoroughly. This is a little different though, and I am excited by the change. I am facilitating a series of retreats for writers at Gibside, the National Trust's beautiful Georgian pleasure garden and chapel. It's an inspiring place. The woodland is full of venerable old trees, and the avenue of oaks along the Great Walk that joins the chapel to the statue of Liberty is stunning. The column she stands on is even taller than Nelson's Column in London.

The Stables are a wonderful hive of activity, but the building we are using is the rather smaller old cottage, set into the wall of the garden. It's the perfect place for a creative retreat. The walls are thick sandstone, oozing with memories of tenants past. It has its own enclosed garden, thrumming with birds and butterflies.

Participants will have a chance to enjoy the setting, write and discuss their work. It might sound frivolous to some, but days like this make you take your writing seriously; to make space in a busy schedule for progressing work that might otherwise fall to the bottom of the pile for busy people. Retreats give you time and space to think, and help to still that inner critic that tells you that you will never be a 'real' writer.

We have a range of writing prompts that I love to produce. Some people don't use them; others like to have something to rattle their thoughts and limber up their writing brains. I create altered books and little vintage 'cases of wonder' - unusual oddments to spark ideas, gleaned from vintage and flea markets and collected together in writing cases and housekeeper boxes. Prompts need to be a feast for the sense to work at their best.

The best thing about it for me, is that as facilitator I still get all of the benefits - and get to meet lots of other writers on different stages of their writing journey. Whatever you are doing this bank holiday, I hope you enjoy it as much as I shall!

(Should you wish to, you can find out more about my retreats on Facebook, via Book Nurture.)


Hilary Hawkes said...

The location looks perfect. I hope it goes well, really exciting. I really, really want to get to a writers' retreat one day!

Sue Purkiss said...

Sounds wonderful!