People ask me if I go on my workshops primarily to write or is it just an excuse for having a holiday. I always answer emphatically "No excuse needed"! If I was only concerned about writing then I could stay at home and look out of my window at the garden and write, write, write. The garden is beautiful and the weather in Australia is pleasant but the truth is I love travelling and I love writing and I love meeting new people so these workshops are my perfect idea of a holiday.
In organising these trips there is a more altruistic side to my perfect holiday plans. It is exciting to travel and I have found that when people are away from their day to day stucture they are much more open to being creative and writing from a more open place. And I love seeing people enjoy themselves - eating well, relaxing and just having fun with a group of likeminded people.
There is something warm about arriving at a new place and being greeted by a group of people who are as interested in writing as you are. From the very beginning of the holiday/workshop you belong. It is not unusual for all the members of the group to have travelled to the workshop alone, leaving family or partners behind. They are ready to particpate in the work and getting to know people.
The very act of writing and maybe reading it in a group is an act of bravery, not that anyone is expected to read their work out loud unless they want to. The funny thing is that it is often the most reluctant person on the first few days who wants to read EVERYTHING they write by the end of the 10 days. You also learn so much more about a person when they start to reveal themselves in their stories.
I am really hopeless at drawing or any visual work but we always include a few exercises that have some visual component over the holiday. Despite being really not that "advanced" (to put it lightly!) in the visuals I still love it. I get to use Colour and crayons and pencils and because I have no great expectations of creating a masterpiece I have a great time. The other thing is, than in the process of "looking" or "seeing" you begin to notice details that you might not have picked up before. All this helps the writing process.
The local area is always a wonderful opportunity to explore and develop our writing skills. I am anticipating that the south of France will not disappoint us at all with its wonderful countryside, people and architecture. I am really excited about this trip as you can tell.