My first trip this year feels like a journey to the other side of the world. The same excitement. The same promise. Finally out the door again for a real adventure! I actually “only” went to Carinthia this time, to the southernmost part of Austria near the border with Slovenia. But it did deliver on the promise of having had a heartfelt exchange with wonderful people, and hearing their very inspiring stories. Organising it all was a friend and colleague of mine, Anita Arneitz, who is a business writing coach from Carinthia herself. I’ve known her for quite some years and shared travel adventures, leading us to Lake Weissensee for instance or to the city of Baden near Vienna.
For quite a while, I’ve promised myself, and her, to go on one of her creative writing retreats. Finally, the time had come. Because even if, like me, you write a lot and regularly, there is always something to learn and to improve.
The right time and place can definitely boost any creative writing endeavours.
My previous writing retreats to Southern France and Central Italy have definitely confirmed that you do need to get away from it all in order to advance on a major writing project, such as writing a book. Besides taking the time, finding that perfect place and all the feeling of creative inspiration that comes with it can be just as important.
It is everything that Anita has thought of in organising her writing retreat at the place and time she did. Her team mate, so to speak, comes with a wealth of knowledge herself: Lydia Kienzer-Schwaiger, who runs the Trögern Mountain Estate together with her family, is a psychologist besides and offers body feedback consultations. I love talking to her and sharing all that matters to me right then and there. Her sister Dagmar spoils us to wonderful regional and local fare, many of it homemade. Anita, too, has turned some of the local produce she grows on her farm into herbal teas, aromas and other little trinkets for consumption during her workshops. I love what these powerful ladies do!
So what is the nature of a real writing retreat?
For the one part, our retreat followed certain guidelines. Such as fixed meal times, or other times during the day where we came together and shared what we’d already written before, asking for feedback or advice. Anita, too, gave us lots of practical tips on how to write in general, or more specifically, concerning the projects any of us were involved with. She also encouraged us to “write for the sake of it”, and “not to stop when we were right at it”. A lot of her retreats are women-only. It is not something she actively pursues, but it does often happen to be. Very empowering and inspiring, is all I can add.
Check out even more images from my time at the Trögern Mountain Estate and our creative writing retreat: