What IS a Structured Writing Retreat?

by Sharon Hinck

What is a structured writing retreat?

As you prepare for or are contemplating the Realm Makers retreat, you may be wondering about the use of time. After all, you could unplug the internet, shut off your phone, banish everyone else from your home, and retreat for a few days to write. Why travel to Florida? Why retreat with other writers? What is special about this sort of experience?

  1. The investment you make in setting aside these days actually fuels motivation to get work done. You’ve made a clear statement to yourself that your writing work is a priority.
  2. Fellowship nurtures the creative spirit. Brainstorming with others can help you get unstuck on plot points you haven’t been able to solve or can just reinvigorate your excitement for a story you’re working on.
  3. Every level of writer can find ways to grow in the art and craft of storytelling. This retreat will include daily teaching of focused, practical techniques–and then time to apply new ideas to your Work in Progress.
  4. This retreat will model various ways that critique buddies and writing groups can support you as a writer—while avoiding common pitfalls. You’ll return home able to keep some of the retreat experiences alive in the coming months.
  5. Blitz writing sessions. I would not have a new series releasing if not for my writing buddies who gather at my home to have focused, silent writing times side-by-side. All the inner resistance that can flare when staring at a blank page gets pushed aside when you and others commit together to putting words on the page.
  6. Spiritual growth. The largest blessing you can go home with is a new clarity about God’s purpose for your writing work, the awareness of writing as an act of worship, and a connection to others in the Body of Christ who are walking this same road.

How is this different from a conference? You’ll bring your Work in Progress and continue to develop it. Write new chapters. Apply things you’re learning directly into the manuscript. Give another writer a peek at a section giving you trouble and get their helpful and encouraging feedback and suggestions. Even the worship times may spark some new themes to weave into your novel. Those are elements I know will happen as we gather in February.

But there is another treasure that I don’t know the details of yet. I’ve seen this at each retreat I’ve attended. God shows up, too. And He often surprises us with blessings beyond what we ask or imagine. Ronie and I have some things to offer—and we’re excited to do that by teaching and facilitating our time together. But we’re even more excited by what God plans to do during this time away!

So pack your Bible, your laptop (with your Work in Progress file), and an open heart. I believe in years to come, you’ll look back at this event as a key turning point for your writing work.

Can’t wait to see you all!


Award-winning author Sharon Hinck writes “stories for the hero in all of us,” about ordinary women on extraordinary faith journeys. Known for their authenticity, emotional range, and spiritual depth, her novels include humorous contemporary fiction, women’s fiction, and the ground-breaking Sword of Lyric fantasy series. She has been honored with a Christy finalist medal, and three Carol awards for her novels.

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