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What’s in a name?


Some readers have contacted us about their interest in attending our international writing retreats but adding a caveat – that they are apprehensive because, they say, “I am not a writer.

As it seems to be a real concern for some people, we thought we should respond publicly in a way that reflects our attitude to writing and our aim in establishing Ireland Writing Retreat.

Strange as it seems, our retreat is not for 'writers.’

Because we believe the term ‘writer’ is a misnomer, denoting an unchanging, permanent status of some kind, like being tenured at a university.

In our view, the term ‘writer’ is a relative one.

Someone can be a writer one day, but not the next. It is ever-changing.

Our hope, however, is that by being a participant at one (or more) of our retreats, those ‘on’ days when you can truly call yourself a ‘writer’ begin to greatly outnumber the ‘off’ days when, even in your boldest imagination, you couldn’t honestly grant yourself that sacred title.

Let us be plain-speaking here.

We host our writing retreats every year for several simple reasons:

One, we are lovers of books, of finely-wrought phrases, of poetic images painted in prose (we think every government should consider having a Ministry of Words)

Two, for fun. We aim to create a week that is choc-a-bloc with entertainment and wonder, whether that be in western Ireland or in Paris. A week of activities and excursions, in and out of classroom, that surprise, inspire and shape minds. That tease from imaginations the most enticing and intriguing of stories. In short, to help you be the best that you can be.

Three, we believe writing is all about practice. It’s a muscle, call it ‘a creative writing muscle’ that you must muster into motion. Just like a runner must learn to jog first, then move better, faster. To run a 5k. Even a marathon. Or a swimmer, the same.

We feel there is no such thing as a ‘born writer.’ Ask any famous writers and they should tell you the same thing if they are truthful - inspiration plays a role in writing, but perspiration (the mental kind) plays an ever bigger one, often inspiring inspiration, if you know what I mean.

Four, you’re not alone.

Writing, to an extent, is a solitary occupation but it takes a team, of trusted readers and editors to shape a manuscript into a publishable book, novel or memoir or indeed poetry.

That’s exactly what we try to achieve at Ireland Writing Retreat. Create an uplifting, enjoyable, rich cultural experience that inspires participants to write, as well as provide a group supporting atmosphere where we all learn from each other and improve as the week progresses.

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