This article originally appeared in the Winter/Spring 2011 Workshop & Event Guide. To watch a video of Zahara discussing the Staycation or to register, visit Writer.org.
Join Our Writing Retreat:
The Writing Staycation at The Writer’s Center
The poet E. Ethelbert Miller once told me, “Pay yourself first.”
He wasn’t talking about money, but time, and the obligation of a writer to herself—to first, before anything else, make time to write.
Time to write, time to write, time to write…
Most writers I know crave time to write like a chocaholic craves a chocolate lava truffle.
But nearly all writing retreats are expensive, two-week residential programs that require travel and have no accommodations for families. Such a budget and schedule are out of reach for most of us.
So with the support of The Writer’s Center, I created the Writing Staycation, a retreat for all of you who crave more time to write, want the structure of a retreat, but just can’t get out of town.
The first Staycation, in May of 2010, was a tremendous success. We had ten participants, including a lawyer-poet, a mom working on her memoirs, and a short story writer. One participant finished a draft of her novel, another wrote 18,000 words on his science fiction project, and a third worked on polishing her manuscript to prepare it for publication.
We’ve decided to do it again. The Writing Staycation will take place at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Each day will be organized around writing time, with optional activities including evening events, a daily neighborhood walk, and lunch speakers—an agent, a novelist, a short story writer, a poet, and a nonfiction author. All activities are elective. If you just want to write, write, write, you may do so. It’s your retreat.
I’ll be at your disposal all week as well. Whether you want help getting started with a new writing project, feedback on a draft manuscript, or strategies for getting published, I will be there. I’ll also pamper you with free coffee, specialty teas, and healthy snacks.
It’s your time to write. Pay yourself first. Join us for the Staycation.
Zahara Heckscher, M.A., is the co-author of the book How to Live Your Dream of Volunteering Overseas. She has also written numerous articles that have appeared in books and the online travel magazine www.TransitionsAbroad.com, where she serves as contributing editor. Heckscher teaches professional writing at University of Maryland at College Park. She is a breast cancer survivor who prefers to be known as a “cancer thriver.” She blogs at www.cancerthriver.blogspot.com.
Praise for the Staycation:
"The Staycation fills a need for a reasonably priced retreat option, especially for those of us who cannot leave town."
"The Writer’s Center Staycation allowed me the time and space to focus on my writing without the expense or time away from my family that most writers’ retreats would demand. Zahara brought in an impressive array of lunchtime speakers and The Writer’s Center staff was very supportive in providing undisturbed space. I came away feeling refreshed and re-committed to my own process, and surprised at how much could be accomplished in one week. Thank you Staycation! I’ll be back!"
Director Jimenez-Porter Writers’ House
"It helped me finish the first draft of my novel. Thank you. I found the time and space to just focus on my writing. Very liberating."