Writing group participation is a big part of my writing practice. I’m in three writing groups right now, and while it’s a lot of work to prepare so many critiques each month, it’s been a benefit to me personally as well as in my writing.
As well as giving and receiving valuable feedback on works-in-progress, I’ve been lucky to have developed a sense of camaraderie with group members in all three. For example, we’ve traveled to conferences, gone on writing retreats for the weekend, and even set up retreats just for one day, to get away from the distractions of home and concentrate on writing.
Most recently, one of my writing groups went on a tour of Government House, a local tourist attraction, ending in a half-day writing retreat.
Our guide Michelle on the player piano - M E Powell
After coffee, we started the morning with a guided tour from staff member Michelle, who graciously showed us around the facility.
Opened in 1891, Government House was already serving as home for the Lieutenant-Governor of the Northwest Territories when Saskatchewan became a province in 1905, under Lt.-Gov. Amédée Forget. It was designed by architect Thomas Fuller, and many more details of the history are available on the website.
Haunted mirror - spooky! - M E Powell
This particular group has members who write science fiction, fantasy, horror, and similar genres. So of course, we were interested in the stories of hauntings at Government House.
One story involves this “haunted mirror” upstairs that seems to show something moving behind the viewer – even when nothing is! Spooky.
(Too bad you can’t really see the effect in the still photo.)
One lump or two? - M E Powell
Although we were told that many of the original furnishings were thrown out on the front lawn in 1945, a restoration project has resulted in many antiques similar to the originals being used in the displays, so the flavor of the experience is truly vintage.
Like this upstairs tea party, for example.
We toured the facility for about an hour, but we were also anxious to get down to work on our writing. Michelle led us back to where we had begun the morning, in the Conservatory.
Conservatory - M E Powell
This 1929 addition boasts original metal framing – along with the kind of sunshine and warmth that made it the perfect place for a January writing retreat in Saskatchewan!
Writing group retreats have a lot to offer, including the space and time to work, and the chance to gain a new perspective in unusual surroundings.
Have you ever gone on a writing retreat in your local area or city? Please leave a comment and share your experience.