Tips for a successful writing retreat

If you are a writer, you know that a big project can get under your skin. When it’s not going well, it becomes a niggling obsession. Even if you never develop it past the first draft, you are still driven to finish it, because writers are disciplined people. Your characters are only half-drawn. They stand naked and alone, and if you don’t dress them, no one will.

Writing retreat? You can still dodge

One can never underestimate the self-sabotaging power of procrastination. I spent four days this week at a remote retreat center near St. Martins, New Brunswick called In the Stillness ( because I wanted time to jumpstart a special project. I whined about needing a place with no interruptions and no distractions. No stifling, familiar surroundings, no domestic duties.

Wanna write comedy? Chase melons.

In April this year, during Frye, the popular annual literary festival in Moncton, New Brunswick, I attended a workshop called “Writing for Comedy.” The speaker was Randy Pearlstein, a Toronto native who now lives and works in New York City.

Dressed in jeans, blazer and blue Nike skater shoes, he looked like an updated version of Jerry Seinfeld. (Who, by the way, Pearlstein quipped, is “a bit of a dick.” Let’s hope the six readers of my blog don’t tell Jerry that Randy dissed him.)



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