I have come across a blog post about writing retreats being a waste of time and the author takes particular issue with The Arvon Foundation who run brilliant writing retreats in the UK at one of four locations. http://maxdunbar.wordpress.com/2008/04/26/writing-retreats-a-waste-of-time/

The Arvon Foundation:Lumb Bank or a terrace in Portugal, take your pick

I’m not quite sure why people want to knock such a venerable institution; they offer a service, people enjoy going, and they live to fight another financial year. One of the joys of a consumer society (!) is that you have the choice to decide how you spend your money and on what kind of product or service suits you. There seems to be a trend for knocking people on the internet and it’s becoming rather distasteful even if it does make ‘great copy’ but then so did phone hacking!

Outside the Writing Retreat

However, if you are particularly anti-social, don’t want to go on a writing weekend in the UK ‘to get laid’  as our blogger so delightfully puts it, you might well want to choose an alternative venue. Some people love the bonhomie of a writing community, others wish for solitude and thinking time. No one can dictate what happens on a writing retreat –you make it the experience you want it to be. If mentoring or exercises, discussion and editing are your things, then they are available. If you just need a space, warm weather, solitude, good food and a plentiful supply of wine then a writing retreat Portugalis the place for you.

Brissy Blonde’s Lilies at The Writing Retreat

I don’t expect Stephen King to turn up, although he would be very welcome, of course, neither could I accommodate a posse of writers but if you need an empathic environment, if you need the odd conversation about process and /or product, the writing retreat in Portugal sounds like it might well be for you.

Herdade do Esporao Vinha da Defesa Rose, Alentejo, Portugal

This wine gets drunk often at the writing retreat – check it out!

Travelling is no longer cheap as taxes add considerably to air fares but my aim is to offer a nurturing environment for those who need it or those who want it. If you just require a clean, simple, quiet room, a sunny courtyard at a retreat and someone to make breakfast while you write I couldn’t think of a calmer place. Cheers I raise my glass to your writing endeavours!

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