Wednesday 4 April 2012

EWG Writer's Retreat: Proposal

Otherwise known as "EWG usurps your weekend".

After discussion with Tyler, we decided that a fantastic option for a writer's retreat is to go camping. There are three reasons why this is the best option:

1. Far more affordable. ~$150 camping vs. $500 for a lodge. The option of a traditional writer's retreat is certainly available through the writer's guild and other organizations for those of us who might not be comfortable camping. It is my hope that we can find a place that would offer comfort without large cost.

2. Allows us more time together than an afternoon-only event. Tyler's idea-jams will serve the purpose of a longer get-together quite adequately, and the organizational effort involved in planning an afternoon at a hall is pretty high for the amount of return.

3. Easier to remove distractions in a camping setting, and a great environment to inspire contemplation. We would encourage everyone to bring their notebooks only to this event, and make it very much a retreat from the wide variety of forces at work trying to claim our attention. There would also be activities that could either be used to form stories or as a stepping stone of inspiration.

With that said, I've taken a glance and I'd like to propose Pembina Provincial Park as a location. The cost per night is $31 per person at most, and that's if we go for the group area rental. The available activities are canoeing/floating down the river, hiking, walking, horseshoes, fishing, swimming, volleyball, and wildlife viewing which involves watching Tyler scramble out of his tent when we shoot firecrackers at it in the middle of the night. (I'm just joshin').

As far as writing activities go, I was thinking there would be a few options available. The broad scheme would be planned group writing activities, planned fun activities and the option at any time to retreat and write. There may also be a family-friendly zone for significant others and friends to come along.

Workshopping activities would cover subjects that we vote on as a group, and could be given either by people who feel very confident about a subject, or by someone interested in engaging a like-minded audience in a mutual discussion.

There would be a few slots to sign up to read a story aloud. For example, a comedic story after breakfast, a mid-afternoon adventure story and a ghost story at night (family-friendly). These sessions would not only be entertaining, but would give room through subsequent hours for friendly discussion and constructive criticism.

As far as comforts and food go, we would likely need to pitch in a little bit to share the load. Spreading the cooking out between several designated volunteers beforehand (dietary needs taken into consideration) is how I envisioned this happening. I also picture a campsite where we've set up tarps and firewood-ready pit, along with comfy chairs and writing surfaces.

I'd appreciate any feedback anyone has, and I intend to try and gauge what workshopping events would be most desired by the group in upcoming meetings. Anything I mentioned above is of course not set in stone--it's just initial plan formulation iterational development.


  1. I don't like the part about where you said that you wanna put firecrackers in my tent, Hal. That's mean.

    I, for one, dig the idea of going to Pembina. We could spend an afternoon rafting for free...

  2. Haven't been to Pembina before, cool!

    I could try to help with cooking, but I will need some help from the expert campers. I've only been twice before (and one of those was as a Brownie at Camp TexLake, which doesn't really count). Only masochists camp in Texas, where you deal not only with the heat, but also with rattlesnakes, copperheads, water moccasins, fire ants, scorpions...

    But camping up north is fun. Just keep an eye out for bears, and you're good! :)

    Maybe we can think about carpooling? Not sure if Al might have to work that weekend (his schedule is kind of unpredictable), and we just have the one car.

  3. Kimberley Grabas6/4/12 10:18

    Sounds like fun! What weekend is it? And how long of a drive is it from Edmonton?

  4. I'll let you know when I fix a date, Kim! It seems like the best way may be for me just to choose a date then people can try to make it work, rather than the other way around. Probably June or July.


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