It’s often a difficult world for an artist.

From writer to sculptor, many find it hard to balance their creative passion with the financial strains of life. The last thing such artists may consider, therefore, is spending money ‘unnecessarily’ to go on a retreat. Not only that, it can be argued that one can find inspiration anywhere: Dylan Thomas wrote much of his poetry in pubs in Fitzrovia, London. While I would certainly agree inspiration can be found anywhere, I believe retreats offer (or should offer) much more than this.

I recently went on a retreat to La Muse. Set in the beautiful hills outside Carcassonne, it had inspiration by the bucket load. As I say, you can find inspiration anywhere, but it doesn’t usually wake you up every morning and follow you around all day! As it turned out, I wrote eight poems within the first two weeks (completing the goal I had set myself of finishing a pamphlet of poetry) which gave me a week to research the best ways of getting my work ‘out there’ and apply to magazines and competitions.

…There is so much you can learn from one another…

For me, it wasn’t just the view, the en-suite bedrooms, the cuisine, the walks and the history; it was the time, the space and, most importantly, the fellow artists. It is, of course, luck of the draw whether you find them particularly amicable but, lucky or not, there will always be much that bonds you together. There is so much you can learn from one another, no matter what your age. I have to say, I found it particularly helpful being able to discuss ‘where to go from here’ type issues with older and more experienced artists.

I cannot speak for all retreats but La Muse proved itself to be a really worthwhile venture. As I say, it wasn’t just about inspiration; it was about finding time, a peaceful place and a healthy community in which to bounce one’s passions and ideas. I have to add that the owners (John and Kerry) were a bonus. They were interesting, intelligent, welcoming, inspirational and, of course, they had plenty of stories to tell from the ten years La Muse has been running.

…the most productive three weeks of my literary career…

To conclude, I wouldn’t discard the idea of going on a retreat out of hand. I can honestly say that my three weeks at La Muse were the most productive three weeks of my literary career to date.

To find out more about La Muse, check out their website here

About The Author

I am currently completing a degree in philosophy at Oxford Brookes and pursuing a career in publishing. I love writing and particularly enjoy writing poetry, song lyrics and reviews.

One Response

  1. John Fanning

    James,

    Thanks so much for your kind words about La Muse.

    We were so happy that you got so much out of your experience here.

    I think you’re dead right about the idea of retreating. When I was doing my degrees in Ireland at the same age you are now and dreaming of a career as a writer I was completely unaware of what a retreat was and what it means to go on one.

    Taking the time to work on your creative projects away from the ones working for someone else is one of the most important things a creative individual can do. Long may it continue.

    Thanks again for taking the time to post about us!

    Soon,

    John

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