I am actually heading to my second writing retreat of the year! Last March I attended the Rainforest Writer's Village and later this month I am headed to the Oregon SCBWI Fall Retreat. The aim of each retreat is different and I'll be taking different tools with me.
The Rainforest Writer's Retreat had no (or at least terrible) internet and little to no cell service. I went there with the intent to start my next Middle Grade novel in a distraction free zone with other writers. I brought with me pencil, paper, a 3-ring binder, and the reference material I needed to get a start on the first draft. I've probably mentioned this before, but I hand write all my first drafts. So while most of the other authors there were on their computers I was writing away on my loose-leaf binder paper.
But my plan for the SCBWI Annual Retreat is very different. The novel I started in March is done-- well, the hot mess of a first draft is done. But now I need to edit that book! So I'm going to take my shiny new laptop to the SCBWI Fall Retreat. And because the retreat facility has wi-fi I'll be able to look things up on the internet *coughplayFacebookgames*.
If you go to a retreat of any kind, it helps to plan ahead. Here are some things to ask yourself before you go.
-- What are my goals? Figure out your writing goals before you go. Depending on how social the retreat is and how much you feel like participating you may or may not achieve those goals. But at least you'll have an idea of what to pack writing-wise.
-- What amenities does the facility have? Will you have access to wi-fi? Cell service? Do you WANT access to these things? It will help you determine if you bring your technology with you or not. You may be looking for a distraction free zone, or you may need to the internet for fun and help.
--Bring back up! Don't forget the back up if you take a computer! A thumb-drive if you don't have internet. If you do have internet, email yourself your awesome manuscript. If you are like me and like to hand write then bring lots of pens, pencils, and paper.
--Bring something to take notes on. Computer, notebook, whatever. There will be presentations that you'll want to take notes in. At least that's me :) I take notes on everything.
So wish me luck and I'll report back to you next month!