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DIY-ing a Writing Retreat

How to create your own low cost writing retreat

By Clever&WTFPublished 2 months ago 4 min read
Top Story - September 2023
Amber & Ashley (AKA WTF & Clever) on our Writing Retreat

Welcome, Writers!

We have decided to try something fun, and we wanted to invite you to join us! Have you ever thought about going on a fancy writing retreat in some far-off place, only to realize you can’t afford the cost or the time off from work? We always thought a writing retreat just wasn’t going to be possible for us…until we stumbled across the DIY writing retreat idea from Rhonda Douglas.

After looking at her guide, we decided we wanted to have our own writing retreat! So Amber decided to drive down to visit Ashley in Florida, and we started planning our retreat. We wanted to share our plans with you and offer some ideas for you to create your own writing retreat. In addition, we’ll share our activities and photos from our retreat at the end of the post!

Take Stock and Plan

First off, we suggest that you evaluate the time and funds you have available for your retreat. Can you take some time off work, or will you need to fit your retreat into the weekend? Can you book a hotel for a night or two, or will you go out during the day and return home to sleep? Where will you write? If you’re at a hotel you could write there, but if not, you can go to the library, a coffee shop, or a park. Another thing to consider is whether you have a writing buddy (or sister) that you would like to enjoy the retreat with. Lastly, figure out what writing project you will work on during your retreat.

For our retreat, we were able to take time off work, so we’ll have 4days. We decided to do day trips and sleep at my house, rather than paying for a hotel. For our writing project, we decided we want to write some continuations of popular short stories we had posted. Once you’ve figured out the basics, it’s time to start planning the itinerary.

Daily Itinerary

The first afternoon or evening, you want to detox from technology and the daily grind, and take in some art and inspiration. If you can’t take time off work, this could be as simple as ignoring your phone and social media, and spending your Friday night reading. You could also visit an art museum or see a play. Choose whatever will inspire your creativity. You also want to get a good night’s sleep, and don’t set an alarm for the next morning.

Make sure to start your writing days in a relaxing way. Take your time with getting up and eating breakfast. Maybe sit outside and read or meditate. Then, head to your writing spot and get to work! You can choose one place for the entire day, or have a morning spot and an afternoon spot. Try to write as much as possible during the day. If you need a short break, try reading or walking until you feel ready to get back to the page. And of course, you can break for meals and coffee refills. After dinner, you can read, relax, and check in with an accountability partner.

Join Us

We had our own writing retreat, and we wanted to share how it went with you. We also invite you to have your own writing retreat and share with us in the comments, or tag us if you do your own post! You can also join our Facebook Group for updates, to share your own progress, and daily accountability check-ins. Here are the details from our retreat!

Day 1 — Art and Inspiration in St. Augustine

St. Augustine Streets

Ashley and Amber at the Tini Martini Bar

Connor (our brother and guest blogger) at Crucial Coffee

For our day of inspiration, we decided to visit the historic city of St. Augustine. We walked the Old Town streets and took in the scenery along the water. We had drinks at a historic hotel on the water and got coffee at a former blacksmith’s shop. What do you do to find some inspiration for your writing?

Day 2 — Antique Writing Prompt

Amber wearing a mysterious mask

Connor preparing for a duel

Fairytale Inspiration

Ashley's New(ish) Typewriter

For day 2, we went to a local antique mall and found some interesting items to inspire a story. Ashley even ended up buying an old typewriter that we found. We included photos of the items we liked most, so you can choose one of these items to write about. You can even take your own trip to an antique/thrift store to try out this exercise. Let us know if you decide to write about any of the antiques we found!

Day 3 — Winter Park Café

Writing in the cafe

Rainbow lattes and our fairy notebooks

This door looks like it leads to adventure

Walking along the lake

For Day 3, we visited the charming city of Winter Park for some relaxing writing time. We found a cute café to write at with amazing lavender rainbow lattes! We also strolled outdoors to have some rejuvenating time in nature. What is your favorite place to write?

Final Day — Meditative Morning

Yoga in front of the sleeping Buddha

This bell had a beautiful sound

Statues around the Buddhist Center

We thought it would be nice to close out our retreat with some mindful quiet time. We visited the nearby Buddhist Center to meditate and write. Overall, we think our writing retreat was a success and look forward to the next one. Would you like to visit any of these places to write? How did your DIY Writing Retreat go?

Thanks so much for reading!

-Clever & WTF

*All photos were taken by the authors of this story


About the Creator


Amber and Ashley are sisters who love to read and write, mostly fantasy and speculative fiction. Check out our blog: cleverandwtf.com

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Comments (14)

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  • Gary Lougheed2 months ago

    Wow! Looks fun!

  • Onah chidera2 months ago

    I have a long way to go I hope I reach this far

  • Lamar Wiggins2 months ago

    Sounds like I missed a great time. Love the Idea and congrats!

  • Thank you for sharing your journey. Great tips! I love the idea of an accountability partner. Typically, I am a solitary writer. I do not like many distractions, but having someone as a sounding board would be great.

  • Alex H Mittelman 2 months ago

    Great idea!

  • Tressa Rose2 months ago

    This would be really fun! I wanna try it now!

  • Ashley Lima2 months ago

    This looked like so much fun! Yall are adorable! I love that your hair is matching, but different. Really great idea, I'll have to give this a try. Congrats on TS :)

  • Kelsey Clarey2 months ago

    Congrats on your top story! This is a great idea and I might have to try it for myself sometime!

  • Hannah Moore2 months ago

    Thats a brilliant idea!

  • Naveed2 months ago

    Congratulations on your Top Story

  • E.J. Robison2 months ago

    Thanks for this great idea! I've always wanted to go on a writing retreat but never had the extra funds for it. And while I do often get out of the house to write, I'm usually not focusing on one project and it's only for a day or an afternoon. I love the idea of going to places that inspire you along the way, too. I will absolutely be trying this! 😁

  • Carol Townend2 months ago

    This is a fantastic idea. I might see if we can implement this ourselves. It looks like you both had a great time.

  • Congratulations on your Top Story🎉

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