Why You Need a Writing Retreat

No, it’s not about productivity.

Rose Ernst
The Startup
Published in
5 min readOct 16, 2019


Rose Ernst

“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” — Arundhati Roy

My first “real” writing retreat was at the Whiteley Center on San Juan Island.

A colleague had invited me, telling me how much she accomplished. The application was simple, and soon we were on the ferry.

Those five days were heaven for a stressed-out academic.

No teaching, no student demands, no irritating colleagues, no deans telling you what to do, almost no email, and plenty of delicious food, rest, writing, wonderful company, and walking along the sea.

Peace and quiet.

Though I’ve since tried to convince many scholars to do the same, I’ve only seen a few actually take their own writing retreats.

Why would you not take a writing retreat?!

Before you answer time-money-stress-too much-kids-caretaking-spouse-parents-friends-anxiety etcetera, etcetera, let me stop you right there. There is no reason you cannot go on a free retreat next weekend.

Though the short-term gains of writing retreats are priceless, such as explosive productivity (of all kinds, not just words written), and a chance to recharge, the long-term benefit is why you should take writing retreats as frequently as possible.

Long-Term Benefits

Angelique M. Davis

I only recently realized I never considered myself a “writer” before I started going on writing retreats. Sure, I had published an academic book and many articles, but that was all…what? Scholarship? Publishing? Not real writing?