The days are getting longer. The clocks will soon change. Our Wednesday writing group finds the sun rising earlier means we’re waking up earlier. Does that give us more time to write?
Finally being back on campus or in the office has been brilliant for meeting in person again. But that means more time getting from A to B. A good thing, but the working day can feel longer.
If you’re struggling to fit it all in, carve out some writing time with us. Put your out-of-office on, get back into some good writing habits to start your summer project – and finish in time to take a proper holiday!
We’ve retreats to suit everyone: in person and online, in English and Finnish bilingual, and Finnish only, in April, May, and June. Come and try it for a day, or book yourself in for all five…
Online in April
Join us in April for two online retreat days, on Thursday 21 and Friday 22 (book here). While these are on Zoom, I’m taking the opportunity to test a new potential venue in Helsinki, Valo Work. So let me know if you want to meet up there.
On an island in May
In May, two days in person on Thursday 5 and Friday 6 (sign up here). After our successful retreat in February, we are returning to Säynätsalo Town Hall. This unique Alvar Aalto building is the perfect fit for us, quiet, spacious, and creative. The island is a bus ride from Jyväskylä city centre, in a beautiful setting on Päijänne, the second-biggest lake in Finland. Last time we saw the Northern Lights and tramped through the snow – this time, spring will be in the air! Book accommodation here now, as spaces are limited.
Our fourth online retreat in Finnish with Tohtoriverkosto is on Friday 17 June. Sign up here, it’s free to the PhD network members so do join if you haven’t yet. This is the week before midsummer, when Finns disappear into the forests and onto the lakes. But we will keep writing on Wednesdays for some of that time. Wednesday morning online sessions are free and open to every writer who has been on a retreat.
Every retreat has a free space for a student or person on a low income. Thanks again to the individuals and university departments who have sponsored this before. Email me for the scholarship code, or if you want to sponsor a scholar. Looking forward to writing with you!
Writers in community
One of the best things about writing together is how much you can learn from others. Here are some tips from writers on recent retreats:
1. Try writing the first sentence of each paragraph – fill in the detail later
2. Put your phone behind your computer screen out of sight – or turn it off!
3. Stick to one way of writing for one hour: brainstorming, free writing, revising…
4. If killing your darlings feels too brutal, send them to kindergarten/boarding school. (Instead of deleting text, move it to a separate document)
5. Change position – move to a different chair, sit then stand
6. To counteract hunching, lie on a cushion or foam roller so your chest is out
7. Measure yourself – how many words did you write in the last hour? Use that figure to schedule writing the whole piece
8. Let your text rest so it feels new when you come back to it
9. When you revise, try doing it in a different format, font, programme, or place
10. End with something physical, offline – walk, swim, meet to eat or for coffee
Every retreat, I’m amazed at how much we learn from each other, how much we get done, and how much fun we have. Come and write with us.
Thank you to Zama Ferin for her gorgeous photos from our February retreat in Säynätsalo.