The Indiana Writers Center Writing Retreat begins July 12th.

By Angela Jackson-Brown

My first writer’s retreat took place in my own home. It consisted of me sending my husband and boys away to watch a movie or go play Putt Putt golf so I could have that entire day free to focus on writing. No house work. No homework with the boys. No take home tasks from my job. Just me, my notebook and my imagination. I had to do this first writer’s retreat in this manner because I had no extra money to expend on lavish writing trips to some of the most famous retreats in places like Maui or upstate New York or the hills of Tuscany in Italy. I didn’t even have the expendable cash to go spend a night at Motel 6 down the road from our home. No, my retreat had to take place in the small two bedroom apartment that I shared with my husband and sons. But I will say this…that day was glorious. I felt free to write without anything calling for my attention besides the characters and the plot. It was a glorious time, and I was determined to continue to recreate this feeling whenever I could.


Since then, I have had the good fortune to go away for long, writing weekends. Mostly alone. My favorite getaway is always The Brown Hotel in Louisville, KY. It’s a splurge, but now that the sons are gone, and my husband and I both have good paying jobs, I can afford to spend three or four days at The Brown and stay in my PJs all day, order room service and write for hours at a time. I celebrate those alone times. But, some of my best writing has come about as a result of me going on a writing retreat with other writers.


This past January, I was about 100 pages or so away from completing my second novel. My agent was patiently waiting for it, but I was having a difficult time focusing. My job was pulling at me, my second and third jobs were pulling at me, my family was pulling at me, and our 16 year old dog, Apache, who was living out his last days, was also pulling at me. There was very little left of me to give to the writing. And then, Ball State University, the university where I teach, gifted several women of color who teach there the opportunity to go away for a weekend and support each other as we finished some of our writing projects, and in my case, it was my novel.


We all went to Wooded Glen Retreat and Conference Center in Henryville, IN. Since then, the facility has closed, and in fact, we were the last group to use this amazing space for a retreat. So, we took the fact that we were the final group to heart. We wanted to make it memorable and we wanted to make sure when we went back home on that Sunday, we would all have evidence to show ourselves and the university that the weekend was well spent.


Our goals were lofty. On that Friday, we arrived at three in the afternoon, and we quickly got busy. We set our goals for the weekend (mine was to finish my novel) and we got busy writing. On that Friday we wrote until 11:30 pm and we were up that next day by 8:00 am and we continued to write until 11:00 that evening. On Sunday, we used all of our final time there to write, writer, and then write some more. We took breaks. We ate together. We shared best practices, but most importantly, we wrote. We encouraged each other when we grew tired. We listened to each other read from our work. We laughed, we cried and we supported each other.

 


Being in that space with those other writers was magical. The last time I had felt that level of creative energy was when I studied in the Spalding University’s low residency MFA in Creative Writing program. There is something about writing with other creatives in the same space that stimulates one’s own creativity. I wish I could bottle it up and gift it to myself whenever my writing slows but sadly, it cannot be recreated anywhere but with other writers in the midst.


Fast forward to this summer. I spoke with the incredible staff of the Indiana Writers Center. I told them that I wanted to plan a writer’s weekend for other local writers. I wanted them to feel the experience I feel every time I go on a one woman writer’s retreat at a luxury hotel or a cabin in the woods with other likeminded writers. Writer’s retreats are designed to kickstart that which is stalled. It is designed to push the writer to places he/she/they have never been before. It is designed for writers who just need a community.


I hope you will join us at the Indiana Writers Center Retreat this July 12-14 at the Oakwood Center in Selma, IN. Come join me and the other writers as we make magic happen. Oh, and by the way…I did finish those 100 pages at my last writers’ retreat and they are now safely in the hands of my literary agent and I have a writer’s retreat to thank for it.

Indiana Writers Center Writing Retreat

Facilitator: Angela Jackson Brown
Dates: Friday, July 12 – Sunday July 14|
Time: Check-in 1 p.m. on Friday, 7/12. Check-out in the afternoon on Sunday, 7/14. All meals are included.
Location: Oakwood Retreat Center, 3801 S 575 E Rd, Selma, IN 47383 (www.discoveroakwood.org/)
Cost:
Member price - $400 Cost includes single room, one meal on Friday night, three meals on Saturday, and breakfast and lunch on Sunday.*

Nonmember price - $500 Cost includes single room, one meal on Friday night, three meals on Saturday, and breakfast and lunch on Sunday.*
Add-on option – Manuscript consultation with Angela Jackson-Brown
You have the option of purchasing an individual coaching session to review up to 25 pages:
40 minute session: $25
90 minute session: $40

If you are looking for a stress-free environment that is dedicated to supporting your writing goals …if you are looking for a weekend that is committed to exposing you to likeminded writers who are there to hone their craft…if you are wanting structured feedback from a writing professional… if you are wanting a community of writers to create and imagine with….if you are wanting the freedom to just focus on the writing and nothing else, then join us for an amazing weekend at the Oakwood Center in Selma, IN on July 12-14.  Limited spaces available!

Angela Jackson Brown, a fiction writer, poet, playwright and Ball State University English Department faculty member, will lead the group through a series of writing exercises and prompts, scheduled, and there will be time blocks scheduled for writing.  One-on-one feedback sessions with the instructor are available at extra cost. Work to be considered (no more than 25 pages, double-spaced) should be submitted to Angela Jackson Brown one-two weeks prior to the retreat. 

*Additional retreat services included: Bonfire, Pool, Wi-Fi in main building, Gluten Free meal option (advanced notice required), unlimited coffee and tea service, and complimentary snacks (fruits, nuts, candies).

Reserve your spot!

Indiana Writers Center Writers Retreat Schedule:

FRIDAY

Check in – 1:00 – 1:45 pm

Set individual writing goals for the weekend that we speak out loud and share on a white board – 1:45-2:30 pm

Mini Lecture - Discuss outlining our weekend goals – 2:30 – 3:00 pm

Break – 3:00 – 3:15 pm

Create a writing outline for the weekend – 3:15 – 4:15 pm

Check in to room and/or relax – 4:15 – 5:00 pm

Writing Block – 5:00 – 5:45 pm

Dinner – 6:00 – 6:45 pm

Writing Block – 6:45 – 8:45 pm

Evening Relaxation Exercises – 8:45 – 9:00 pm (Optional; Bring Yoga mats or a towel for simple stretches and breathing exercises)

Evening Push - Writing Block – 9:00 – 10:30 pm (Optional because we start early but if you don’t need a lot of sleep, go for it)

SATURDAY

Morning Relaxation Exercises – 7:30 am – 7:50 am (Optional; Bring Yoga mats or a towel for simple stretches and breathing exercises)

Breakfast – 8:00 – 8:45 am

Writing Block – 9:00 am – 11:30 am

Optional Group Walk or Continue Writing – 11:30 – 11:50 am

 Lunch – 12:00 – 12:45 pm

 Mini-Lecture – How to Stop the Writers Block – 1:00 – 1:30 pm

Afternoon Relaxation Exercises – 1:30 – 1:45 pm (Optional; Bring Yoga mats or a towel for simple stretches and breathing exercises)

Writing Block – 1:50 – 4:00 pm

Break – 4:00 -4:15 pm

Mini Writing Exercise – 4:15 – 4:45 pm

Writing Block – 4:45-5:55 pm

Dinner – 6:00 – 6:45 pm

Writing Block – 6:45 – 8:45 pm

Evening Relaxation Exercises – 8:45 – 9:00 pm (Optional; Bring Yoga mats or a towel for simple stretches and breathing exercises)

Evening Push - Writing Block – 9:00 – 10:30 pm (Optional because we start early but if you don’t need a lot of sleep, go for it)

SUNDAY

Morning Relaxation Exercises – 7:30 am – 7:50 am (Optional; Bring Yoga mats or a towel for simple stretches and breathing exercises)

Breakfast – 8:00 – 8:45 am

Mini Lecture – Revision and What to Do When We Get Back Home - 9:00 - 9:30 am

Writing Block – 9:30 – 11:45 am

Lunch – 12:00 – 12:45 pm

Sharing of Our Work – 1:00 – 3:00 pm

Pack up and check out – 3:00 - 4:00 pm

Depart

Written by Indiana Writers Center — June 10, 2019


© Indiana Writers Center 2012