The writing retreat was fabulous! It was so rewarding and invigorating to be with a group of people who love writing and are appreciative of having a day and a half set aside for their passion.
This year my co-facilitator and I did not have time to write. Instead of placing ourselves in a small group of peer responders (as we have in the past), we made ourselves available for one on one responding. Surprisingly, of 16 participants, probably half of them conferenced with us. When we planned this change, I wasn't sure how I felt about it. I wanted time to write, too. But in the end, it worked well. I did take a nonfiction piece I wrote in the parent-lit class and shared it during our read around.
Another change that I really liked was giving everyone a pad of post-it-notes. As each person read their pieces on Saturday evening, we all responded in writing. When everyone was finished, we passed out our notes. There was something special about receiving "mail" and doing this saved time, as we didn't make oral remarks. Now, each reader has a written record of his/her listeners' appreciation.
As great as all the activities were, I must confess the beds and bedding at the Westin Crown Center are almost as wonderful. The picture here doesn't really do them justice. Some day I'm going to book a room, order room service, rent movies and spend an entire 24 hours soaking in the ambiance.