Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Full Description of the Five-Day Virtual Writing Retreat

About Writing Retreats in General:
Writing retreats are a well-established institution, which are often held in scenic spots all over the world. They are designed around private time for writing and writing workshops for receiving feedback from writing mentors and other participants.The idea sounds great on paper, but the retreats are impractical for many of us who can’t take time off from our work and families. Plus, their cost can be prohibitive since it includes travel and accommodations.
What is a Virtual Retreat:
We want the valuable opportunity to concentrate on our writing under the guidance of an experienced mentor, but how to carve out a space and time for doing the writing and receiving the feedback? In answer to this question, the idea of the virtual writing retreat was born.Since the virtual retreat takes place in cyberspace through e-mail correspondence, it can happen in any place and start at any time. Its main requirement is a commitment of one half to one hour of writing time each day for the duration of the retreat.
How Varda’s Virtual Retreat differs from a writing course:
The retreat is customized, meaning it is designed around the individual’s personal needs and desired focus. There are no standard writing exercises.The first day’s writing catalyst is created to facilitate the exploration and excavation of the area that the participant has mapped out with me. Subsequent writing catalysts depend on the direction the writing is taking so that the participant can go further and deeper.Often, the focus changes as material emerges that was not anticipated.Always the emphasis is on the process unfolding rather than on delivering a certain end product. In this way, each participant experiences the writing as an exhilarating journey into self-discovery.
Scheduling the Virtual Retreat:
The retreats usually begin on a Sunday and go for five consecutive days, but it's fine to being on any day of the week. It’s best to pick a week that has some free time for writing, and it’s ideal to schedule consecutive days because of the obvious benefit of establishing continuity and momentum. However, a participant may not be able to schedule the retreat for five days in a row, and in that case, the times can be flexible.
How the Retreat works:
Before Day One of the virtual retreat, the participant decides on a certain focus, e.g. overcoming a writing block, choosing which way to go at a crossroads in a writing project or in one’s life, healing from a traumatic event or issue, or developing clarity about an emotional, physical, or spiritual challenge. Keep in mind that the focus is not written in stone and can shift dramatically in the course of the retreat. It is simply a way to begin.
I send you a writing catalyst for each day of the retreat to facilitate and guide your writing. These are jump starts rather than assignments, and the participant is always free to take off in the direction he or she wishes to go. After reading through the writing piece that was generated, I respond with suggestions for developing it further. I base my choice of the next catalyst on my experience as a writing mentor in knowing ways to break through to a deeper and more profound awareness of the material. I also rely heavily on my intuitive abilities.During the course of the retreat, participants usually keep up a lively correspondence with me about their self-encounters during the writing, their daunting struggles, and their stunning triumphs.
One participant wrote about her experience on the retreat: “I had fun, honed my writing skills, and touched down on my personal imagery. Varda’s a great wise spirit and guide.”
From another participant who has so far taken the retreat 8 times:“Varda showed me how to gain access to the hidden gifts within. I learned that it’s possible to meet up with and reclaim memories, feelings, attitudes, or situations that had eluded my grip. Varda taught me how to write from the subconscious. If that were the only thing I would have learned on the retreat, It would have been enough. Catalyst after catalyst took me to far off, distant places that existed right inside of the me I longed to know.”
Cost for the Five-Day Retreat: $250.00 or 950 shekels.
For further information the best place to reach me is at