Retreat 2 Write

A place for writers to retreat from their busy lives and share writers tips and encouragement. Festival of Writers news add to the value of Retreat 2 Write

Friday, May 04, 2007

Creating characters

Creating interesting and strong characters takes some thought. Before you start writing your character into your story, what do you know about them? Think of someone you've known over the years and fill in their profile:
How old are they?
Where do they live?
Where were they born and raised? Their parents background?
Do they like animnals? If so, what kind?
What music do they like?
Are they the outdoors type or a mall cruiser or a computer geek?
What's their favorite hobby? Sport? Colour?
If they could go anywhere in the world, where would they go?
You get the idea by now. Give it a try on a 500 word exercise about someone who is standing up for what they believe in. Even if you write non-fiction, this still works and prevents us from giving the reader bland boring characters.
I'd love to see what you've written. Email me at:
My recent book RV Canada On A Dime And A Dream is chiefly about two characters, myself and my husband Dave, but when you read it you are never bored. It's the story of how we dared to take our dream to RV across Canada on the road with very little money. People have called it a page turner as they wondered how we would get out of yet another problem and get back home... which we did 10,299 miles later. But we had such fun, we are taking it back across for 4 months. Bet there will be some new characters in the next book.
You may ask why the picture of the drum? Because just as drumming has rhythm so does writing. You never know what creations will sound off whether drumming or writing.
Happy writing. Make it a daily habit and watch it grow!


Monday, September 26, 2005

New Retreat

A new writer's retreat has been booked due to cancellation of "Seaside Writing and Musical Retreat." The next retreat just for writers and those who wanna be is Nov.5,6 still at Kent's Beach Resort.

It would appear that writers just want to hang out together to collaborate, inspire and encourage one another at what ever level of expertise they are at. So I am back to working with what works....working with writers.

"Retreat 2 Write" will allow us as writers to relax, enjoy each other and our surroundings as described below in the last post. The difference being it is from about 10:00am Nov.5 till afternoon Nov.6, one nights accommodation and all food. Cost for this all inclusive weekend is $170 if paid before Oct.17, $180 after. Or come just for the day, $70 not including dinner. For further information or to have brochure mailed to you,email me directly.
This promises to be the most inspiring, relaxing weekend you'll have spent all year.

Also Powell River Festival of Writers fall event, "The Publisher and The Scribes" Oct.15 here in Powell River will combine tips on publishing along with writing in general. For details and downloadable registration form go to the web site and click on 2005 fall fest:

We are into the fall season with new busy-ness upon us, so let's not forget as writers to buy out the time we need to write. If that means going away for the day, do it. If it means turning the family off while you retreat to your bedroom with a cup of tea and your writing, do it. If it means scheduling time in your agenda, do it because writers write, they don't just talk about it.

Happy writing!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Blog Search: The Source for Blogs

Retreat to Write

If someone gave you a space of exclusive time to do with what you wanted would you take it? What if that time could be spent on a beach in a peaceful setting far away from the city? And what if you could network with other writers or creative types while there? And not have to cook or clean or plan?

Coming up very soon is Seaside Writing and Musical Retreat Sept. 23-25 at Kent's Beach Resort,just outside Powell River, BC. This is your chance to do all the things I mentioned earlier and for a price that would normally be charged just to attend a weekend conference without the accommodation and food. Come away with me and Retreat to Write because that's what writers love to do to replenish their creativity. This picture of the sentinel tree is on the beach in front of the cabins at Kent's Beach Resort (

And that's Helena Sandler on the left, professional musical guide who will coach the musical part of the weekend. Her web site is:

For only $275 shared accommodation or $295 in your own cabin, you can enjoy this all inclusive weekend with writers and musicians. Free one on one coaching and journaling workshop available. Email me for details or to arrange a payment plan:

If you're being challenged to keep on writing and want some online inspiration and tips, join our online Sassyscribes site:

Or check out the Powell River Festival of Writers site for upcoming events like the Oct.15, "The Publisher and the Scribes" or click on their links for a list of other resources for writers:

Never give up on your dreams. Keep on writing and having fun with it.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Texada ferry and totem at Powell River viewpoint Posted by Picasa

From the book "Travel Writing" by Don George

"Writing of any kind is a way of making a clearing so as to make sense and shape out of the world, and to take all the rubble of one's experiences and emotions and observations and piece them together into a kind of stained glass whole. It is a way of removing oneself from the world, and sometimes from the self, so as to see both more clearly."

He is referring to travel writing but the principle is the same for all of us who put pen to papter. He adds,
" Writing of every kind is a way to wake oneself up and keep as alive as when one has just fallen in love."

Do you remember that moment when you fell in love with your partner? When the world seemed brighter, the stars nearer and your inner glow was blinding? That's what writing should and can do for us.

When asked how he got his first book published he said he made up a three page proposal and not knowing any better sent it out to 'Nonfiction editor, Random House' and 9 other unsuspecting nobodies in the biggest publishing houses he could think of. Just as when we were young, naive and in love that blind faith paid off.

Seven never replied, but he got letters from three asking for a sample chapter. Then they asked for another sample chapter. They sent him a small advance and he set to work while holding down a full time job to get the book done.Many months with minimal sleep it was finished.Sometimes "fools rush in where angels fear to tread" and the universe actually bless's that fool.

Could Don's attitude about getting published be something we all could adopt? Just get that query letter sent out to as many publishers as possible(keep a list) and you too could be surprised by a positive response.

Sept.23,24/05 in the serene setting of Kent's Beach Resort ( south of Powell River, I will partnered up with professional muscian Helena Sandler ( for "Seaside Writing and Musical Retreat."

Both writers and musicians are invited to gather together for a weekend retreat like none they've ever been to before. Registration fee is all inclusive and includes both myself and Helena's onsite coaching, all food, shared accomodation, free journalling workshop and more. Email me for details and brochure.

Oct.15 the Powell Festival of Writers is hosting a one day writer's workshop called "The Publishers and The Scribes." West coast author Howard White and publisher of Harbour Publishing will be giving tips on publishing and writing. You'll also hear from Karen Southern, local historian and author and her experiences as a writers.Full info and registration will be up on the festival site( by next week so watch for it or email me @

Till next time, take time to Retreat 2 Write and find that fresh view that all great writers thrive on.

Friday, June 24, 2005

My Journal is My Chair

My Journal is my Chair

My Journal is My Chair

The drawing is one I did (with Dave's help) for my retreat "Journaling Just for Fun." Being an acronym nut, when I realized that the main reasons for journaling could be an acronym, it gave birth to a "chair."

I can't encourage people enough to experience the benefits of journaling. It isn't only writing, but can be accompanied by painting, drawing or pasting in pictures about our dreams.

There are so many ways or reasons we could journal:

** As a daily diary of events in our lives.
** As a place to down load the chatter or pent up emotions in our heads.
** To help us reach our goals and dreams.
** When we travel
** To get past issues that are holding us back or interfering with relationships.
** As couples to increase communications.

So, back to the chair. Here is my take on it:

C>> Clarity...We gain clarity when the mental clutter or chatter of our minds is put on paper. If you can't sleep at night because your brain is doing the "monkey brain" jumping, get up and write it all down. Sleep will likely come much easier afterwards.

H>>Helps... It helps us release pent up emotions. Ever been real angry or frustrated with someone and you just couldn't seem to get past it? Write it down. In fact keep writing until you are empty. At that point you may even want to burn the writing and let the stress go, then spend some time breathing deep cleansing breaths.

A>>Allows...By writing it down it allows us to become all that we were meant to be. Writing, drawing or collaging our dreams puts them out there in a tangible form that we can see, feel and touch.

I>>Insights...When we deal with issues they bring clarity to a situation and we derive insights.

R>>Removes...It removes blockages when we discover the source or what has been stopping us from moving forward or growing. Journaling helps us find ways to remove them.

The poem I wrote to go with it goes like this:

It gives me rest when I'm weary.
It supports me when I'm weak.
It raises me when I follow my dreams
Gives me lift to reach for the stars.
It can be moved from place to place.
It time it molds to fit my shape.
And becomes a comfy part of me...
My journal is my chair.
journaling is a key part of writing that works to open the doors of creativity. Have fun journaling today, this summer and "Just for Fun."

Thursday, June 09, 2005

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Barb and fellow Powell River Purple People Eater Red Hatter with their Purple People Eater mascot. Posted by Hello

Journaling Just For Fun

Journaling just for fun and I might add for getting us writing. How many of you out there have started journaling, kept to it each day for a while, then fallen off the tracks again? In talking to others, I think this is a very common thing to do.

Next weekend I will be taking 4 women out to our cabin by the sea for a one day workshop, "Journaling for Fun." The reason I'm teaching that and not another writing workshop is because I keep being asked about it. Yesterday while out for fun and laughs with a group of Red Hatters, again a woman asked me about journaling.
We discussed it in terms of it being therapeutic. Often we start because we get ourselves into a situation in life where one of the healthiest ways to deal with it is to write /journal. She voiced the same time, don't stay committed, what if someone gets offended...etc. Those are all reasons many of us have used. But none of them is a reason not to. We all can make time for the things we think are important.

Whether you use journaling as therapy, to document a trip or your dreams, to leave a record of what your life was like or just for fun, it gets you writing.

And for writers there lies the key reason to journal: It opens the creative doors allowing the juice to pour out. It's no different than any other writing exercise. We need to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.
I've tried hard for years to journal each morning but honestly there are times when I just jump out of bed and get on with my day. Then I go back to it because I'm missing it and starting to not stay focused on my dreams.

After June 19 I'll be posting the results of our journaling workshop. Till then if you don't already journal in some form, try it just for fun.

"The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one." Elbert Hubbard

Happy journaling.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Red Hatters just wanna have fun! Posted by Hello

Writers just wanna have fun don't we? Writing shouldn't be all hard work, hours on the computer or hunched over a notebook.

Todays pictures are just for fun. Thats me with the tacky Red Hat in the back of that group of fun loving women. We started a Red Hat society here last year, called ourselves the "Powell River Purple People Eaters" and even re-wrote the words to that song just for us.Red Hatters are for women only(sorry guys) over 50 and comes from the poem about wearing purple when we grow old. Well what I've seen at these gatherings is a whole lot of wacky outfits on wacky women enjoying life.

What has this to do with writing?It has everything to do with it. If your writing is getting stale, seems like too much work and stress'es you out, maybe you need to get out and have some fun. Play on the beach, create things from shells, wood and glass. Paint a picture whether you think you have a talent or not. Take fun pictures. Dance, sing, paddle or do whatever you want to do do put the fun back in your life again. It will give you fuel for your stories.

As Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York says,"You don't have to get it right. You just have to get it going.".....and have fun on the way.

Love from the stormy west coast,Barb

"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing--that's why we recommend it daily." Zig Ziglar As usual Zig hits the nail on the head or in the case of writers, hits the key in the right sequence! And to think that I thought that inspiration was better than motivation because it went deeper.

That may be true in some cases, but if we aren't motivated each and every day time and opportunity will pass us by. Here is the reason we subscribe to motivational ezines, read books by authors like Zig or plug into blogs like this one.

A site full of ezines of all descriptions is at: bathing we need daily reminders, KIP's...Kicks In Pants...or we soon let lesser priority items steal our dreams, our time, our writing. Yes this is a site for writers,making this quotation especially true for us. We need someone or something motivating us to keep writing, to keep researching our material, to keep sending out queries, to keep on keeping on.

Next time you don't feel inspired to follow your writing project, think of what Zig said.Till next time, hope this finds you motivated to follow your passion, your goals!Barb

Delicate strength weaves around solid. Posted by Hello

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