Recipe for a Creative Community Weekend

Step 1: Collect the following ingredients:

  • 4-6 passionate friends who get along and want to develop their creative goals
  • House, cabin, or hotel, preferably beautiful and cheap (Ask your friends if they know someone who will offer it for free)
  • Edibles to cover three days of meals for all
  • Miscellaneous clothes
  • Writing essentials (Laptop, notebook, pens, playlists, headphones)

Step 2: Carefully mix the above ingredients, then strain out:

  • Cell phones (some will still slip through, but do your best!)
  • Anxieties, insecurities, doubts, and distractions (These are best extracted in an environment where all are made to feel safe and supported)

Step 3: Bake on medium-low heat for three to four days, alternating between focused work, and relaxed socializing. Sprinkle liberally with laughter and serve.

I’ve just returned from a wonderful retreat with five of my dearest writer friends. We stayed in a cabin on Vashon Island, soaked up the delicious hot weather, and took focused time to go deeper into our creative projects than our regular routines allow.

I’ve returned from this weekend with:


1. Encouragement to push the limits of certain subjects in my fiction,

2. Several thousand words banked on my new dream-inspired post apocalyptic novella,

3. Deeper unity and understanding of the trials and triumphs that my friends are also facing on this journey.

One of the sweetest moments for me: One night, we sat outside singing ballads and folk songs and songs of wonder and praise to God. People were singing solo who’d never have performed in front of others, because of this net of trust we’d woven around ourselves. It was pure love and magic.

This writer has returned restored.

About Elise

Elise Stephens began her career in writing at age six, illustrating her own story books and concocting wild adventures. Stephens counts authors Neil Gaiman, C.S. Lewis, and Margaret Atwood among her literary mentors, and has studied under Orson Scott Card. She dreams often of finding new ways to weave timeless truths into her stories. Her novels include Moonlight and Oranges (2011), Forecast (2013), and Guardian of the Gold Breathers (2015), a finalist for the INDIEFAB Book of the Year. She lives in Seattle with her family. Follow her on Twitter @elisestephens and Author Elise Stephens on Facebook.


Recipe for a Creative Community Weekend — 6 Comments

    • Jesse, it’s really wonderful! The organization before the event takes some getting used to, but I gravitate toward that sort of thing already. Once everyone’s there…oh my gosh, it’s one of the biggest highs of my life. As I said to Christina, let me know if I can help with sharing what I’ve done in the best when I put these together.

    • Safe community is a must! I’ve actually started saying “I have to personally approve everyone who comes on these retreats” because that safety is so essential. 🙂

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