Writing Retreats

Today I thought I’d share with you about writing retreats. They come in all shapes and forms. More formal retreats are at hotels or retreat centers. For the retreat I went to earlier this month, we rented an AirBnB and split the cost (which ended up being about $80 for two nights–a real deal).

So what do you do at a writing retreat: You write! Seriously, we spend from Friday afternoon until Sunday noon writing. I was able to write over 10,000 words in a weekend–usually that’s 2 weeks work for me. I’m pretty disciplined at home, but there are still a lot of distractions there: dogs to be fed, cats to be loved on, dishes and floors and laundry. Plus my husband is at home, and I like talking to him! At a retreat though, all I have are other writers focused on their work.

During this retreat, we had a birthday girl, so we enjoyed mini bundt cakes. Aren’t they gorgeous? The weather was cold and dreary, which also was a good thing as it kept us inside writing. We all wake up and go to bed at different times…so you might find someone writing at 5:30 in the morning or at 11:00 at night.

Retreats are about having focused writing time, but they’re also about socializing with other authors. We usually pause for meals at the same time, and that’s when we talk. We talk about writing, about plot problems, about marketing (what works and what doesn’t), and about our goals. We encourage one another, offer suggestions when appropriate, and laugh at mishaps. It’s good to be around other people who are passionate about what you’re passionate about.

Generally this small group of writers has a retreat 2 to 3 times a year. It’s low-key, like this one, but it’s always a special and fruitful time. Writers in this group all write “clean” or “Christian” fiction. You might want to check them out! Bruce Hammack writes police procedurals. His wife, Joyce, handles his marketing. Teresa Lynn has some awesome biographical fiction. Kayla Marnach writes very special books for children who are dealing with tough situations. Wendi Threlkeld has her first teen/ya book out. Brenda O’Bannion writes Christian historical fiction. Amy Rognlie writes Christian cozy mysreries. And Lori DeJong is currently working on her first novel. You can follow her on Facebook here.

As you can see, we all write in very different genres, but we still support and help one another. That’s the great thing about friends and retreats and community. So what about you? Have you ever been on a retreat (quilting, scrapbooking, outdoorsy stuff)? Have you ever wanted to go on one? Comment below, and I’ll draw some winners for free books.



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  1. Kathleen S Berman on March 10, 2022 at 7:10 am

    That looks very appealing. The price was fantastic.
    Did you have to make your own food or did you order in?
    I would vote for order in!
    It also seems like a good way to energize.
    Love those mini bundt cakes!

  2. Connie Ruggles on March 10, 2022 at 7:17 am

    I have been on a few women’s retreats with churches that I have attended. In those, there is usually group Bible study, speakers, some sort of craft time, and plenty of alone time for reflection and prayer, or building friendships. Thanks for the giveaway!!

    • Anne Mitchell on March 10, 2022 at 7:47 am

      Writer’s retreat sounds wonderful . Unfortunately, I have never experienced a retreat. I love your books and can’t wait to read An Amish Winter, I received earlier this week.

    • Rachel Watson on March 13, 2022 at 4:39 am

      I guess you could call it a retreat of sorts. In January 2020, my husband and I joined our oldest daughter and several of her friends in Dallas for an Anime convention. There were 16 of us in an Airbnb for the weekend. When we weren’t at the convention, we were at the house having fun together. Everyone there called us Mom and Dad since they were all young enough to be our kids. 😂 The pandemic shut down conventions until late 2021 so we didn’t get to do it again until October, 2021. This time we went to Birmingham, AL. Sadly, not everyone was able to attend, but the ten of us that did make it still had a blast. Hopefully we’ll be able to do it again in the future.

  3. Suzanne Sellner on March 10, 2022 at 7:23 am

    I’ve been on Mother/Daughter retreats at a camp for children/teens and women’s and couples’ church retreats where Bible-based talks and the experiences of the speaker inspire the participants. Fellowship, good food, and abundant activities along with the talks provide relaxation and refreshment.

    • Nettie Combs on March 10, 2022 at 8:44 am

      I always wanted to go on a Christian based retreat, but never actually did it. I would have chosen a women’s one to simplify things and to be able to address issues that other women of my age and circumstances faced. I did accompany two friends to a few sewing retreats years ago, but unfortunately I bought supplies for projects that I never did. I have storage containers full of fabric, patterns, embellishments, etc. I should try to find people who would actually do the projects (if I could find the right containers). Your writers retreats are a much better use of time and energy. You are doing what you love with people who feel the same.

  4. Sue Brown on March 10, 2022 at 7:34 am

    I have loved your books forever. You write from the heart and I have learned so much about the Amish people. My favorite vacations have been to the Lancaster Amish where I bought some gorgeous quilts. We love Sugarcreek and Mt. Hope in Ohio. Cruising the back roads is so calming and beautiful. Your writers retreat sounds amazing and the price for two days is nice too. Those little bundt cakes are to die for, aren’t they?

  5. Patricia Shrader on March 10, 2022 at 7:37 am

    The retreats I’ve been on have been through church or prayer group. Also a few Marriage Encounter weekends. They were always a blessed time for reflection renewal and fellowship. Blessings from sunny Florida! 🌞

  6. Debbie Earls on March 10, 2022 at 8:17 am

    I have been on retreats in the past for our women’s group at church. They are a lot of fun. A good way to get some r & r and feel refreshed. Your retreats look like they would be a lot of fun and encouraging. I’m sure that writing can be a lonely occupation at times. Thank you for this opportunity. Can’t wait to read more of your books!

    • Debbie Rhoades on March 13, 2022 at 7:15 pm

      The only retreats I have been on were Mary Kay retreats. We would learn about the new products in that quarter, and had special classes and rallies, also. I am a devoted reader, but I would love to go on a reader/writer retreat. That would be so much fun! Thank you for letting us take a peek at fun things you get to do.

  7. Patricia Tucker on March 10, 2022 at 8:18 am

    What a great idea! I’m sure it was fun and productive.

  8. Cherese Akhavein on March 10, 2022 at 8:53 am

    I have not been to a retreat per/say however maybe the girl friends getaway could be somewhat of a retreat as everyone was there for a similar goal, to celebrate out Amish Authors. It was great fun and I enjoyed every minute.

  9. Lual Krautter on March 10, 2022 at 8:55 am

    Sounds encouraging! Thanks for the opportunity to enter a giveaway! Would love to win a print copy! God bless!

  10. Vickie on March 10, 2022 at 9:01 am

    That sounds so nice. Time to work; time to sleep; time to eat and fellowship; and, hopefully some time to relax. I also love having it in an AirBnB. I’ve been on some church retreats, but it’s been awhile since the last one.

  11. Sandy Berg on March 10, 2022 at 9:20 am

    What a great way to spend time with fellow authors. It sounds like the ideal retreat.

  12. Sonja on March 10, 2022 at 9:26 am

    That sounds so fun. I know I would love that. Retreats are a real “treat”!

  13. Lori Smanski on March 10, 2022 at 9:26 am

    this sounds so fun. it reminds me a lot of a quilting retreat where there is a lot of laughter and fun getting to know other quilters. there is always a lot of wonderful food too. some have made life long quilting friends

  14. Patti Bond on March 10, 2022 at 9:35 am


  15. Elsie on March 10, 2022 at 9:38 am

    I have gone on family retreats : my husband is apart of a 10 children family the parents make 12 when we were all younger we went almost every year to family reunions or retreats and a lot of them were at Camp Lone Star in LaGrange Texas – we stayed in a hotel like setting – lots of activities such as canoeing, tennis etc. – at the parent’s 50th anniversary a special quilt was made for them by one of my sister – in-laws each family sent in a square drawing which my husband did for our family, my mother – in- law was quilter. These retreats were very special and are remembered by all. I have also been on a lot of women’s retreats though the churches I have attended and also have attended several women of Faith gatherings which I also loved. I have never been to craft retreats. My grandmother also quilted with the frame. I have a deep love and appreciation for quilts. Retreats are very special and very uplifting spiritually and bonding with your friends. I also went to an Emmaus retreat for women which I will never forget – very different from all of the other women retreats that I have ever been on.

  16. Audrey W. on March 10, 2022 at 10:18 am

    This looks lovely, Vannetta–and productive! Yes, a writing retreat is on my horizon, and I’m hoping it’s as successful as yours. Write on! 😉

    • Joy C Hannabass on March 10, 2022 at 11:11 am

      It looks like y’all had a wonderful time, Vannetta. So glad you got a lot of writing done. I’ve never been on a retreat but have always wanted to go on a Scrapbooking retreat. But just never had the money to do so. But I love seeing pictures of other retreats and the fun everyone had. Always love your blog and newsletter! Blessings Joy Hannabass

  17. Jennie on March 10, 2022 at 10:50 am

    What fun!!! I have been to Bible retreat. What great fellowship!
    I have a friend who does this every year to plan her homeschool year. She goes somewhere over night or two, prays and plans the year. She also orders in and drinks expensive coffee Lol . ( she never buys coffee out only on this one weekend, or special times.

  18. Cecilia on March 10, 2022 at 11:08 am

    I’ve been on quilting retreats before and I love them. We usually have a big meeting room where we all set up our machines on tables. Just like your retreat, we sometimes have people sewing at 6:00 in the morning and late at night. We work on our own projects, but we also visit and check out what others are making. It’s a very relaxing time for all.

  19. Kendra Muonio on March 10, 2022 at 11:29 am

    Never been on any retreats but we go on family vacations lady spring my family and her twin sisters family went down to palm springs California for a vacation that was really fun.then sometime this year we get to go to Hawaii for my brother’s make a wish cause he was in pain from age 5 to 12 but he is better now since he got a major surgery to take out his pancreas gallbladder and spleen.

  20. Gloria A on March 10, 2022 at 12:54 pm

    I have not been on a retreat but always thought that they would be enjoyable, a good way to work, socialize, and get a break. I am looking forward to your Amish Market series.

  21. Barbara Wenner on March 10, 2022 at 1:01 pm

    I have never been on a retreat would love to go on one , have be to Family reunion they are great.

  22. Jane Casey on March 10, 2022 at 2:08 pm

    I haven’t been to a retreat, but it sounds like something I would really enjoy.

  23. kim hansen on March 10, 2022 at 2:21 pm

    Never been to a retreat. thanks for the new authors for me.

  24. Dawn on March 10, 2022 at 2:57 pm

    I love this post because you have introduced writers with whom I am not familiar!

    I have never been on a retreat. I would like a reading retreat (with no technology allowed!) or I would like to go to a place called Kripalu where they have meditation classes, yoga, paddle boarding, etc.

  25. Marion on March 10, 2022 at 3:35 pm

    I have not been on a retreat.

  26. Joan on March 10, 2022 at 4:27 pm

    I have not attended a retreat.

  27. Vickie on March 10, 2022 at 5:27 pm

    I’ve been to ladies conferences through church which is a retreat of sorts but have never been on one with a targeted goal such as a writers or quilters retreat. I’d love to do a quilting weekend led by an author that quilts. I’d come home with a simple finished project or 2 and maybe a signed copy of the author’s book. Thanks for the chance to win a prize.

  28. Susan Heim on March 10, 2022 at 5:28 pm

    I have always wanted to go on a writers’ retreat. My problem is that I hate typing on a laptop. I’d want to take my desktop computer with me! But a retreat with no distractions sounds like writing heaven.

  29. Marilyn on March 10, 2022 at 6:31 pm

    I was never at a retreat.

  30. Patty wright on March 10, 2022 at 6:48 pm

    I went to a retreat camp with I was 13. All it did was scare me.

  31. Nancy Barr on March 10, 2022 at 8:02 pm

    Sounds like a great time!!! Would love to win!!! Thanks for the chance!!!

  32. Lelia (Lucy) Reynolds on March 10, 2022 at 8:05 pm

    I’ve never been on a retreat. Looks like y’all had a great tie and supporting each other is important.

  33. Fred Mullins on March 10, 2022 at 8:06 pm

    Glad to see you enjoyed your time. It’s always good to be with friends

  34. Cheryl Malandrinos on March 10, 2022 at 8:56 pm

    I have always wanted to go on a writing retreat, but it hasn’t been in the cards for me…yet. Who knows what blessings I will have in the future? Looks like you had a wonderful and productive time.

  35. Jan Rexroth on March 10, 2022 at 9:17 pm

    Sounds very productive and a great way to touch base with other authors.

  36. Ruth Cornelison on March 11, 2022 at 11:07 am

    I’ve always wanted to go on a retreat. I got to go to an open house out in the country called Blue Bird Lane Where they had fixed up a house with about 6 bedrooms with different themes. A big kitchen with food to make any time you wanted. They had a front porch and back porch to sit and enjoy nature. They had quilting and Scrapbooking retreats. I’m going to check that place out again. Good way to take a mini vacation.

  37. Pamela Cordova on March 11, 2022 at 9:31 pm

    Wow you really buckled down for the weekend writing 10,000 words. Congratulations & keep on writing. Question Vannetta are any of your books in large print? My eyes have gotten so bad it’s hard for me to read anymore. Thanks 😊

  38. Vivian Furbay on March 12, 2022 at 5:49 am

    Thank you for the giveaway. I’ve read one of your dystopian books and some of your Amish books. Love the Amish books best.

  39. Sherry Shook on March 12, 2022 at 7:05 pm

    I went on church youth retreats as a teen. Would love to go on a photography retreat. I think that would be fun and interesting!

  40. Ola Norman on March 12, 2022 at 7:48 pm

    Sounds like fun. I sure am glad to read what you all write!

  41. Kay Garrett on March 12, 2022 at 7:55 pm

    I’ve never been on a retreat with a group of people. However, we I was a full time caregiver to me Mom, I had away time for a weekend about every 4-5 months. A friend (sister by choice) living several states away would meet me half way for some girl time. She had a similar situation. We would do fun things together but also enjoyed some time doing our own thing since it was our only time to do so. Meals were for fun chats and leaning on each other. We both went home refreshed, with a knowledge we weren’t in this alone and ready to hit what we knew was waiting on us when we got home. So to me that was a retreat. 🙂

  42. Jackie Tessnair on March 12, 2022 at 8:00 pm

    I have never been on a retreat. You sure did get a lot of writing done. Looking forward to reading your next book. Happy writing.

  43. Donna Bascle on March 12, 2022 at 8:06 pm

    Sounds like a great weekend. I went to a church retreat with my sister that was fun. It was a one day event but wonderful fellowship, a great speaker and good food. A writers retreat sounds great. Thanks for sharing.

  44. Arleen Curry on March 12, 2022 at 8:08 pm

    I’ve never been on a real retreat before. However, I have decided to “retreat” to reading all weekend. Don’t know if that counts or not 😂

  45. Christine Kilner on March 12, 2022 at 8:12 pm

    I have never been on a writing retreat. I have been on a few church retreats. Very inspiring.

  46. Perrianne Askew on March 12, 2022 at 9:33 pm

    I went to a quilting retreat last year with my church group! It was so much fun and as a beginner I learned a lot. We plan to have another one this year in the same location. I’m definitely looking forward to it and have already been saving money to cover my share of the quilting center fees.

  47. Linda McFarland on March 12, 2022 at 10:53 pm

    Haven’t been on a retreat, other than women’s church retreats where we went home at night and came back the next day. Does that count? Where you stayed very nice at a good price and a great idea to have some time to write with minimal distractions.

    • Terri Kidd on March 13, 2022 at 5:17 am

      I have never been on a retreat before but you all sound like you had a great time and also got a lot of good writing time in. The bundt cakes are beautiful. We have trouble at home too with loving and feeding our animals. We have 2 cats and a dog inside. And a bunch of Ferrel cats that we have taken and got fixed and feed and now they want to stay and be loved also. All animals love my husband.

  48. Julianne Huss on March 13, 2022 at 7:03 am

    Does going with daughters to Girl Scout Camp count as a retreat? It was always a fun time. My older daughter just came back from a retreat with fellow Monat sakes women. They meat up once a year for fun and frolic.

  49. Dale Anna Young on March 13, 2022 at 7:56 am

    I love this💕 I have been on a scrapbooking retreat….it’s so special to be with other people who share your interests……it’s refreshing to be encouraged by others and I love that everyone there writes Christian novels💕what a great trip for you!

  50. Lori Wilen on March 13, 2022 at 10:36 am

    Sounds like this was a productive and fun time. The bundts look so good…..a treat at a retreat. I have never been on a retreat. My girlfriend and I were planning to go to a scrapbooking retreat a couple of years ago and were so excited but it was cancelled due to Covid. Had a friend with a beach house and several of us would go there for a knitting weekend. Not quite a retreat but we accomplished a lot of knitting in a lovely location.

  51. Linda Nana (Geertsma) on March 13, 2022 at 1:18 pm

    Sounds like a great time together,meet new authors , hash out common issues! Great conversation!
    We used to attend Foster Parent retreats before we retired! Lots of great seminars and always learned something new! We met so many foster parents from different parts of the Province and got to interact in Q&A periods and get some new insights into dealing with troubled children! Great meals and always a banquet and dance the last Night and an informal church service of reflection the last Day as well!

  52. MELISSA ELLISON on March 13, 2022 at 4:08 pm

    That sounds like alot of fun!! I would love to go on something like that.
    My sisters and I have been talking about going to Branson Mo. and getting
    a Condo together for a few days, We lost our mom two years ago, so we thought
    it would be nice to get together and share memories and just have a sisters weekend.
    Its great you were able to get alot of writing done. I love the cover on your new book
    its so cute and looks like a good one, cant wait to read it! Look forward to hearing
    about the new project you got coming : )

  53. Catherine Decker on March 13, 2022 at 7:53 pm

    Being in community with others can be very inspiring! I am unable to drive so these gatherings are usually impossible for me…but your books help me see the good in people, as I most always do. At the end of every month I try to buy one book, if budget permits. Keep up the great work! <3

  54. Jackie on March 14, 2022 at 1:42 am

    That be wonderful to be able to go on a writing retreat. You get to meet so many other authors and enjoy yourselves at the same time as working hard.

  55. Celia Harbin on March 15, 2022 at 4:46 pm

    This sounds like a wonderful opportunity to socialize with other writers and really apply yourself to your task. It sounds exhausting but at the same time rejuvenating.

  56. Betty on March 15, 2022 at 5:58 pm

    I have never been on any kind of retreat but it looks so fun…..maybe someday somewhere…I can hope.

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