We first had the pleasure of working with Leslie Archibald at our debut retreat in Breckenridge, Colorado, in August 2018 (long live #Breckenflash!). Now, with the distance of time and wisdom, Leslie beautifully reflects on her process, including breakthroughs, creativity fatigue, creating space. We are so looking forward to reuniting with her in France this June!
Breckenridge Retreat: The Resurrection of Creativity and Personal Growth
by Leslie Archibald
I’ve seen women insist on cleaning everything in the house before they could sit down to write… and you know it’s a funny thing about housecleaning… it never comes to an end. Perfect way to stop a woman. A woman must be careful not to allow over-responsibility (or over-respectability) to steal her necessary creative rests, riffs, and raptures. She simply must put her foot down and say no to half of what she believes she “should” be doing. Art is not meant to be created in stolen moments only. – Clarissa Pinkola Estés
While I contemplated how to articulate what I wanted to say about writing retreats, I came across this quote, ironically, on social media (my biggest distraction). Like many writers, I work at a full-time job outside the realm of writing which stifles my creativity and pushes writing to the bottom of the “to do” list. I spend each day writing emails, memos, and crunching numbers (nothing kills creativity faster than math). I come home, cook, clean the kitchen, and say hello to the family. I struggle in the evenings to find a space where I can write – – a space separate from the day where I can create and work on writing projects.
I volunteer at a local writers’ organization and routinely take workshops in search of that space. Someplace to turn my focus to writing and ignite a spark of creativity. Still, I find myself thinking about my “to do” list for the next day or having to hurry home to the family, again, smothering any inspiration those activities may incite.
I finally found that space in Breckenridge with Flash Fiction Retreats. In Breckenridge I was able to leave the daily grind in Houston and immerse myself in the written word. The carefully chosen venue had plenty of space for me to find my little corner to read, write or be inspired by nature. The group discussions were thoughtful and productive. They prompted a breakthrough on my work in progress and I received amazing advice in the “one on one” sessions with Kathy and Nancy. I also met a group of talented and encouraging writers who were happy to share their work and experiences to further inspire.
Stepping out of daily life and focusing on writing with other writers is the perfect remedy for battling creativity fatigue caused by daily processes in the workplace. There is no better group than Flash Fiction Retreats with which to do that.
Leslie Archibald is a graduate of the University of Houston, majoring in English, Creative Writing with a minor in Women’s Studies. She currently works at a full-time office position while continuing to write and edit part time. She is a volunteer at Writespace, a local Writer’s organization in Houston, Texas and is the winner of the 2017 Spider Road Press’s Spiders Web Flash Fiction Prize for her piece “Sherry Baby.” You will also find her flash pieces in Tales of Texas Vol. 2 and online at Silver Needle Press.