One thing I really appreciated about this retreat was that organizers made the extra effort to reach out to participants, coming up to talk or sit at their table, rather than keeping to themselves. I know it made me feel welcome and comfortable. I imagine the dozens of people in attendance felt the same.
Weekend on the Water originally was held at a different place along Puget Sound.
IslandWood, which was developed to teach environmental awareness and sustainability, is deep in lovely forest, but there is water: The Pond.
A docent led those of us who were interested on a walk that included these marvels:
Tree House #2 where you can write in the woods or study the forest canopy
Of course, this was a writing/illustrating retreat so there was solid programming that focused on ways to feed creativity by finding an art/life balance.
Kirby Larsen (Newbery Honor Book HATTIE BIG SKY) talked about how to slow down and sit with a problem awhile when frustration sets in. She suggested a drift journal to jot down seemingly unrelated stories to see where they may go.
Joni Sensel, who writes YA and middle grade fantasies, discussed the idea of liminal space and creativity. I loved the exercise of placing your character on a threshold/a doorway and see what happens. The unknown can be transformation, growth, or something monstrous. Whatever direction it takes it represents change.
One roundtable discussion yielded these ideas I find fascinating: Do some art for each chapter to get a refreshed view. Think of three disasters that could happen and a solution.
There was so much more, including inspiring talks from Candlewick illustrator Jennifer K. Mann and author Beth Bacon. If you can find such a retreat, go if you can, recharge your batteries and your heart.