What is a Personal Writing Retreat and Why Should You go on One?

Dear Readers, this is a guest blog post from a client who recently attended a personal writing retreat here in Estonia with me. If you are curious about what you might get done on such an adventure, read on!

        “ I’m offering a personal writing adventure to all my existing clients.  Let me know if you’re interested.” That was  the email I received from my fabulous book coach Robin Henry fifteen minutes before our bi-monthly zoom session. At the end of our session, I asked her what that was about.  As she explained, all I heard was 1) cool trip, 2) seven full days of writing and 3) intense  one- on-one time with Robin.  Without even reading the email, I shouted “Count me in!”  And now, as I’m on the final  leg of my journey home from my lovely adventure, I am so happy that I did.

         So, I’m sure your asking, what is this adventure and how is it different from my normal coaching sessions with Robin?  The adventure is a seven day writing retreat in Tallinn Estonia and is the perfect combination of writing, coaching /learning and experiencing a lovely city full of culture, good food ( the pancakes are to die for) and history. 

      Now, before I go on, I want to  address the elephant in the room.  Doesn’t Estonia border Russia? Is it safe?  Obviously those were the questions my family had and,  even though I’m an experienced traveler, I wondered myself.  The first thing I did was look it up on the map.  (I confess, I didn’t know where it was).  Estonia is near Finland, and yes it does share a border with Russia but Tallinn is in the northern corner and far far away from the current conflict.  Next, I went to the US State Department site looking for travel alerts. What I found was that Estonia has green level travel status.  It has very little crime, no terrorist threat alerts and is a member of NATO and the EU.  In fact, according to the site, it’s currently safer to travel  there than to France, Italy or  Germany, (my favorite places to travel) who are all sporting a yellow travel status.   Everyone speaks English and signs, menus and information are in both Estonian and English.  That was enough for me and I am happy to report that not once did I ever feel uncomfortable or have any trouble communicating.  

     So, was it worth it? Did I accomplish anything? As far as my writing is concerned, the only thing that trumps this experience in terms of moving my book forward was signing up with Robin in the first place.  We choose to focus my time on Hattie’s—one of my two protagonists—story line.  And at the end of my adventure, I had accomplished the following:

1) Completely reworked the outline for Hattie’s story. 

2) With Robin acting as counselor and coach, I resolved a knock down drag out fight I was having with Hattie who refused to cooperate with where I wanted to take her. (You know how those pesky characters can be.)

3) Wrote over 10,000 words in seven days. (My normal is 7500 a month) and,

4) Got Hattie all the way through part one of my book.  Mission accomplished and then some.

      So how did it work and how did I accomplish so much in such a short time? Ah, you’ll have to wait for the next post for that.  After all, what kind of writer would I be if I gave you too much too soon. 😀 I learned that and so much more from Robin @readerly.

Published by Robin Henry

Independent Scholar and Book Coach specializing in Historical Fiction and Literary Fan Fiction.