Come with me to Ireland this summer!

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Do I Want A Writers’ Conference or a Writing Retreat?


Writing can be a lonely practice. However, for many of us, the biggest strides we make, and the best things we accomplish, occur after we’ve dared to share with others. Conferences, classes, critique, camaraderie, and conversation, can go a long way to improving your writing and helping you reach your goals. Few things energize writing more than individual conversation and personalized feedback. Bouncing ideas off someone else can be a major boon to your inspiration.

So where’s the best place to find all that? A conference? A retreat? A series of classes or workshops?

Defining the Difference

Most writers’ conferences are two or three-day, weekend events. They’re great for meeting loads of people, networking, making friendships, and pitching ideas to agents or editors. The one thing you won’t get much of at a conference is individual attention, editing or any time to write.

A retreat, on the other hand, can offer you loads of quiet time in which to write and create. You may spend hours hearing nothing more than the soft tapping of fingers on keys. What you won’t find at a retreat is the busy energy of a conference, a chance to pitch to an agent, or a workshop on marketing your book.

Classes and workshops can provide specific help on things as diverse as Outlining Your Plot, Public Speaking for Authors, and everything in between.

5      Steps to Getting the Most Out of a Conference, Retreat or Workshop

1. Before you choose, make a list of your goals and priorities. Do you want individual attention? Are you hoping to pitch to an agent? Do you need time to write? Do you want to meet new critique partners?

2. Look for writing coaches or workshop teachers whose experience you admire and would like to emulate. The best mentor is going to be someone who has achieved a level of success that you would like to achieve.

3. Make sure the classes on offer are can help you. Some conferences and retreats offer general classes, while others, like Ireland Writer Tours, offers classes tailored to the individual participant’s needs, as well as one-on-one coaching and mentoring. Find the style that’s going to inspire you.

4. Consider going with a friend. Not only does this mean you’ll have a travel companion, a friend can also be an excellent accountability partner. Tell each other before you leave home how many pages you’ll have written before you return or how you’ll plot your rewrite, and then keep each other focused on those goals.

5. One of the most productive things you can do is to whip your WIP into shape before you leave home. If you wait to get to the retreat, conference, or workshop before you start writing, then you’ll likely be wasting valuable time. Use the writing event itself as a goal. The further along you are on your WIP, the more apt you are to be on the road to success when you get back home.

 Combining It All

Still not sure whether to choose a conference, retreat or workshop? Or maybe you’d like all of those! In June and July 2020, Ireland Writer Tours (www.irelandwritertours.com) is offering two conferences, retreats, and tours combined. From 28 June to 5 July, agent, Jill Marr of the Sandra Dykstra Agency, and I, will be helming THRILLING CONCEPTS: HOW TO CREATE BESTSELLERS AND BECOME A THRIVING AUTHOR. The week-long event includes small, tailored writing workshops, one-on-one mentoring for all participants, partial manuscript critiques, and tours of some of the loveliest places on earth, including ancient stone circles, holy wells, faerie forests, a pub crawl, Celtic ring forts, and a guided tour of a haunted castle.

So, if you’re hoping for a magical week during which you can improve your writing skills, I hope you’ll join me in Ireland this summer. Just a reminder, space is very limited, so you’ll want to register soon.



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