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Embracing the Writer Life With a Weekend-Long Writers’ Retreat

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

Last weekend, I went to my first writers’ retreat. What is a writers’ retreat you may ask? It’s whatever you want it to be! You can write, or you can read, or you can simply sit outside and stare out at the water, or the woods, or the cozy little cabins that peak through among the pines. 

The retreat was three days long, tucked away between two ponds, where cormorants, fallfish, and raccoons gathered and kept us company as we dedicated ourselves to our writings. The group was fairly small— small enough that I was able to get to know everyone. The night we got there, after we finished our delicious lentil soup, we all went around introducing ourselves and saying what we hoped to gain from this experience, as well as what we’re working on right now. I loved hearing about everyone’s passion, and what varied passions there were! I couldn’t pick out exactly what I was feeling right then, but now in retrospect, I can name the feeling easily: validation. Here I was, surrounded by writers like me, writers who are passionate about their work, who spend their time the same way as me, who expend mental energy on the same things as me. What a weekend this will be, I thought. And what a weekend it was.

Every morning, I came down and made myself tea, then enjoyed breakfast on the screened porch. One morning, I woke up earlier than usual and walked down the trail from the main cabin to a farther one, where I enjoyed my coffee on the solitary wooden Adirondack chair that looked out over the lake. I realized then just how important slow mornings are for me, a perfectly timed reminder as the new school year kicks into gear.

My days included lots of solo writing time, though some of the other writers attended guided workshops, such as writing to prompts and one on memoir writing, led by the host, B. Morrison. In the afternoons, I sat on the dock, or on the last day, floated on the raft just off the dock and read my book. After dinner, we all gathered in the cozy living room of the main cabin, dimly lit by the crackling fireplace, and shared readings, songs, and writing advice. Again, validation, and this overwhelming feeling that this is what I’m supposed to do, coursed through my veins.

I didn’t go on my phone much during that weekend. I didn’t do any homework, I didn’t even check my email. It felt like I had all the time in the world to do things I wanted to do, and I plan on incorporating that into my daily life whenever I can: an afternoon dedicated just to my writing, a morning filled with reading in bed. This weekend showed me that it’s possible to have both— I just need to be intentional about how I want to spend my time.

I went to the Time to Write Writers’ Retreat hosted by B. Morrison. I enjoyed it tremendously, and will definitely be returning next year. I would recommend the experience to everyone— whether it looks like this one, or is simply a solo writing retreat that consists of an afternoon at the park.

Table Setting
Alex Frank / Spoon

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Andrea Tchesnovsky

U Mass Amherst '25

Andrea Tchesnovsky is a junior Comparative Literature major at UMass Amherst. Born in Bulgaria, she is fluent in four languages and is currently learning Italian as her fifth. Other than writing, Andrea’s interests include fashion, photography, reading contemporary novels, yoga, and traveling!