PERFECT WEATHER FOR WRITERS AND DUCKS- THE RAINY RETREAT!

And rain it did! Over 500 mls overnight on the Saturday of our retreat in beautiful Springbrook. Rain thundered down and ran in small rivers through the camp, but we all stayed nice and dry, writing in our cosy nun rooms.

It was cold too! After sweltering in Brisbane for the past few weeks, hiding out in air-conditioning wherever we could find it, suddenly we were wearing our winter gear and I was loaning out jumpers and hoodies to people who didn’t believe it would really be that cold! What a treat it was to be somewhere cold and rainy at the start of our long hot sub-tropical summer. And as all writers know – nothing’s better than a rainy day for writing! And write we did.

Sue, Antoinette and Janine hard at work!
Kim, Hill, Bianca, Mary and Joanne at a workshop

Our biggest camp yet with a full house of fifteen writing women across all genres and stages of experience, bonding over a shared loved of words and making sense of life through story. Feedback groups were formed and new writing buddies found. The magic of retreats working again. It makes my heart sing every time, watching new friendships form and the wonderful collaborations and joy that comes from sharing your work and ideas. Everyone contributes a unique piece to the puzzle of what makes a retreat so much fun.

What a wonderful bunch! This time we self catered as well with our amazing chief cookie Gay Liddington (repeat retreater, memoir writer and poet) cooking up a storm with Bianca and Kathy both chipping in to make sure the starving hordes were well- fed. Choc-chia pudding anyone?

As usual we feasted, wrote heaps, learnt some new tricks, collaborated, did some yoga and danced our little hearts on on Saturday night. This camp was DISCO! And again my personal camp highlight was the dancing – splendid Sue leading us all in Nutbush City Limits!

I was too busy dancing my heart out to get any happy snaps of the dancing – let’s just say we all looked fabulous and not at all dishevelled or sweaty. One thing’s for sure — we all had smiles a mile wide.

The weather was really pretty extreme, we may have got our socks wet and had to run around a lot packing up (thank you everyone who chipped in and made it so much easier) and driving down from the mountain littered with forest debris was a bit scary, but we did it together and really, it just added to the fun.

All the best adventures involve an element of risk!

I love running these retreats. Sure I may come home and lie flat out on the rug for a few days recovering, but I wouldn’t swap the joy of bringing women together to share stories for anything.

Three retreats are planned for next year.

  1. Relax and Write in Paradise – tropical MAGNETIC ISLAND – North Queensland, JUNE 25 – 27 2021 Character and Dialogue, narrative techniques focus
  2. Relax and Write in the Mountains – HIGHFIELDS – near Toowoomba west of Brisbane OCTOBER 22 – 24 Life Writing – memoir/autobiographical fiction/ new writer focus
  3. Relax and Write Feedback and Revision Retreat – SPRINGBROOK – Gold Coast Hinterland DATE TBC Structure, self-editing, redrafting and the business of writing focus

All camps are as affordable as I can make them to ensure everybody has a chance to come. $200 deposit will secure your spot at any retreat. Spaces are strictly limited to 15 so book in early to avoid disappointment.

Contact me for more info or to book a spot. Hurry – Magnetic Island is filling fast!

THANK YOU to all the wonderful women who make these retreats such a joy. And a special big thank you to Kathy Ewers for the fabulous photographs.

Lots of love

Edwina xxx

RETREAT MAGIC!

Retreat woodland nymphs!!

WOOHOO! Well that last retreat was just about the best fun you can have in the woods. As usual, the magic of a group of women coming together began as soon as we arrived, with everyone chipping in to help set up and show newbies around. My favourite moment from the first night was when, after the first pair of writers who’d met at a previous retreat introduced each other as “my friend”, the rest of the group did exactly the same. Even people who’d only just met fifteen minutes earlier. So right from the start we were a group of friends.

Workshops in the hall

Our bunk bed cubby houses worked perfectly and everyone had plenty of room to spread out and much needed privacy. Not that most of us spent much time sleeping.

I’ve never seen such a group of avid writers, staying up into the wee hours working on projects after being inspired by the workshops, then up early again writing and talking about their projects with the others. That’s how these retreats work – writers helping writers. New writers benefiting from the experience of those of us who’ve been at it a while and us more jaded folk getting a boost from the enthusiasm of those just starting out.

It rained and rained and we writers revelled in it. Perfect weather for writers and ducks – but not so good for this baby bird who was tossed out of its nest and became our mascot for the weekend.

Mum and Dad bird kept it well fed and it was growing feathers fast!

Like this baby bird we started growing new feathers too and testing our writing wings with lots of writing exercises to get those creative juices flowing. It’s amazing what comes out when you’re not censoring yourself.

We made each other cry and laugh with our stories and delved into the nitty gritty of crafting beautiful sentences and books too. I’m a little obsessed with structure šŸ™‚

We unwound with yoga and a special movement session with Monique De Goey who has a fabulous self care workshop coming up soon. Monique also treated us to amazing massages that had people floating around for some hours afterwards looking a little drunk!

Books books books!

Apart from the joy of watching people make firm new writing friends, and supporting and nurturing each other as we tested those new wings, the highlight for me was dance night with Lalita. She brings such joy with her, along with her fabulous flowers and dresses and scarves and, this time as a special surprise, gymnastic ribbons!!

Best of all was a moment when I looked up and saw everyone totally blissed out twirling their ribbons to Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights! Magic!

As usual our camp finished up with creating collages. As with the writing, there were no rules so it was fascinating to see how everyone made something unique. Lift the flaps collage, front and back collages, limits? No limits collages.

Annie and her collage

It was such a joy to be able to facilitate this retreat – the first of the craziness of 2020. Our pleasure in being together was multiplied tenfold because of the separation we’ve all endured this year. I was again reminded of the importance of connection, of human interaction in real life, lifting each other up, comforting each other.

Such a precious gift.

THANK YOU to all the wonderful women who come along on my retreats. I feel like I come away with new friends every time.

NEXT RETREAT is in beautiful Springbrook in the Gold Coast hinterland at the Theosophical Society Retreat centre December 11 – 13. EARLY BIRD PRICES close soon – so HURRY if you’d like a spot. All the details about this FEEDBACK AND REVISION RETREAT are available here. Any questions just contact me.

A nearby swimming hole!

These retreats have a magic of their own. The magic of creative women coming together never fails to astound me. How powerful we are together.

Come along and join the fun. Make new writing friends and dedicate time and energy to your writing dreams.

Have fun until we meet again. Write like furies!

Lots of love

Edwina xx