6 Things I Want From a Writer’s Retreat

Alex Turner
6 min readSep 25, 2019
Photo by Joe Gardner on Unsplash

I wrote this essay from a tiny wooden cabin, nestled in the mountains in the north of Scotland.

I have beautiful views out over the Highlands. It is peaceful. It is hygge. It is everything I dreamed of.

But I’m tearing my hair out. The wifi works sometimes, but not all the time. And it’s at those inopportune moments, just when I’m scrolling social media, procrastinating, or equally as bad, when I’ve finally written something and I want to fact check it — that the internet drops out.

I’m not proud of this, but I’ve screamed, cried, and stormed out.

It was actually when I was mulling over an application for a residential spot on a remote writer’s retreat that the penny dropped and the insanity of my reality was driven home to me. The wifi vanished just when I was scrolling Instagram trying to show my fiancé this lush place I had found, and I wanted to know what the application process was.

I threw down my phone in despair, and walked out. I stood under the trees, and I fumed.

This world we live in is madness. It’s not taken us long to get here — I actually remember life before a phone. Which technically means I remember life before Instagram, for God’s sake. Did that really happen? It’s borderline unimaginable.

So as I stomped down the drive, the late summer sunlight dancing over the wildflower meadow right in front of me, and casting long shadows over the hills in the distance, I stopped. I turned and looked at back at where I’d come from.

This beautiful cabin in remote Scotland, the garden still in full bloom, red kites flying overhead and no one around for my miles — total and utter peace.

And there I was, honest to God raging.

I couldn’t see the trees for all the forest around me.

I was right in the middle of my perfect writer’s retreat, and I couldn’t even see it.

Because in truth, where ever you are right now, is the perfect writer’s retreat.

Conditions might be ideal, or far from ideal. But your excuses and what you’re telling yourself

Alex Turner

Founder, feminist, entrepreneur, coffee + self care