My first writing retreat

By Lucy Baldock, BA (Hons) Creative Writing, 3rd Year.

My first writing retreat

This month I had the opportunity to go to Thornbridge Hall in the Peak District for a writing retreat.  As a third year creative writing student, the main focus this semester is on my major project.  This trip was a way for us to retrieve feedback on our work and find new ways to inspire our writing.  Here are a few of my best tips to make the most of it:

Tip 1: Make Use of Feedback Sessions

Taking constructive criticism is the first rule if you want to become a better writer.  So take advantage of the feedback and form into small groups, other people are more likely to pick up on things you’ve missed.  My major project is the most important work for me this year and I definitely think these sessions helped me improve on it.  One to one tutorials with teachers is also a good way to get feedback, they know what they’re talking about so why not take the extra help?

Tip 2: Take Part In Group Socials

Whether this is joining in group activities or playing card games, time flies when you’re having fun!  I even suggest taking a pack of cards or a board game to entertain yourselves.  It’s great for group bonding and everyone will enjoy the trip more.  It also helps to pass the time during breaks between workshops.  Going to the pub is another good way to interact as a group in a more comfortable environment, and it’s a lot of fun!

Tip 3: Bring Food!

It’s always good to take spare food in case you don’t like the set meals.  There was only one meal option for food on my trip; a meat option and a vegetarian option.  Luckily I liked the vegetarian option but if you’re picky with food it might be best to bring your own.

Tip 4: Choose The Best Workshop

We had a choice of workshops to take part in each day, so you want to pick the one that will be most beneficial for you.  For example; if you write stories and need help with dialogue, pick the most relevant workshop that will help you improve on that.  The workshops are in your best interest so once you decide which one you want to do, take a lot of notes!

Tip 5: Be Prepared For Hiking

There’s so much inspiration for writer’s when hiking, but you need to bring the right equipment.  First thing you’ll need is walking shoes, and make sure you don’t mind them getting muddy.  A coat is another essential; as I’ve learned the weather can be unpredictable.  The next item to remember is a backpack you’ll want to fill this with snacks, water, a notebook, and a pen.  Now you’ll be geared up for the hike ready to take in all the beautiful landscapes.

Tip 6: Enjoy it!