The Creative Retreat - Don’t you wish you could get away and work on your creative projects? I'll show you how to create your own personal retreat with this resource. You're going to love this! @

The Creative Retreat

**Updated July 2016** This post was originally written when I released the first version of The Creative Retreat. However, that PDF has now been completely updated and published as a book! You can get it here, or read my story below. I’ll also share how to get the book at the end of the post. 🙂

The Beginning

Several years ago I was catching up on my blog reading when I came across a post about a creative retreat. The blogger talked on and on about the cabin she and her friends stayed at, the organic meals they shared together, and best of all, the creative projects they worked on throughout the weekend.

They went on walks in the forest and photographed their journey. They made journals and filled them with ephemera. I was so taken with this idea, I clicked over to the retreat center she was referring to and scrolled through the page to find out more information. It really was a creative’s dream come true. But just as I was about to see if I had enough vacation days left over at work to go, I saw the price and my heart sank. Oh. Wow. Okay. I guess not. It seriously might as well have been a million dollars.

I couldn’t go.

And this wasn’t one of those moments where I could have gone if I didn’t have my daily latte and scone and gave up my exclusive gym membership. It was completely out of reach.

That said, I couldn’t shake the idea of taking focused time to work on my projects. I was used to working on them whenever I could. But scheduling it on the calendar? I know, maybe you all have been doing that for years, but this was a new concept for me. So I decided to start creating my own retreats.

And can I just tell you how those moments of focused creative time were so life-giving for me? Sometimes I would sit in my car at lunch and knit for my retreat. Sometimes I would stay home on a Friday night and work on a project. And once a year, I would create the ultimate retreat (for me) and head over to the beach for the weekend.

No, I didn’t stay in a hotel with a view of the ocean, but I could walk there. Taking that time was magical. I wish I could express the feeling I would have after those mini-retreats. So many creative projects and ideas stemmed from taking them. So much personal and spiritual growth happened in those times of slowing down to listen and to write. It was amazing.

The Creative Retreat - Don’t you wish you could get away and work on your creative projects? I'll show you how to create your own personal retreat with this resource. You're going to love this!

My Hiatus from Retreats

I have to admit, though, that after I got married and had our daughter, the retreats all but disappeared. Here was something I loved doing and yet, because I was so busy, I actually forgot about them. I know, just a paragraph ago I was waxing eloquent (or trying to) about how important retreats were to me and I forgot about them? Maybe it was new mommy brain, I don’t know. I was still working on projects but I wasn’t getting away. I had a new routine, a new life of sorts.

It honestly wasn’t until I started to feel really overwhelmed that I realized what I had done. My husband was actually the one who went over to the calendar one day and wrote “Retreat for Jennie” in big letters. That guy knows me.

Going on that first retreat after my hiatus literally brought tears to my eyes. Don’t laugh, I’m serious! It was like a light went off in my heart. Why in the world was I procrastinating such joy? Taking an hour or two to retreat wasn’t so much that I couldn’t do it regularly. I just had to make the time.

During the past year, I’ve talked to many women who have had the same experience. They’re really creative–in fact, many of them own creative businesses!–but they rarely invest in themselves. I have also received many emails from readers who wish they had more time and energy to work on their creative projects. I have to admit, I was kind of surprised I wasn’t the only one.

Even though I took a break, I have learned a lot about how I like to retreat. For me, it’s important to have a place to write goals and some sort of method to check in through the year to see if I’m progressing in them (or if they need to be re-worked.) I like being able to journal during retreats as well as create projects. And I absolutely need to have a treat and coffee. 🙂 I decided to take this framework and fill it out by creating a workbook.

The Creative Retreat - Don’t you wish you could get away and work on your creative projects? I'll show you how to create your own personal retreat with this resource. You're going to love this!

Well, today happens to be Launch Day for that little book. To say I’m pinching myself that this is actually happening would be an understatement. I had this idea back in April and have been getting up early, staying up late, and working on it to create a resource that you can print off and use in crafting your own retreats.

What Others Are Saying:

Several blogger friends of mine are talking about The Creative Retreat workbook on their blogs this week if you want to read about their experience with it so far. I’m so grateful they took the time to share their perspectives. Here’s a snapshot of the posts that are up today:

Lauren from The Thinking Closet is talking about non-digital activities to refuel your creativity AND she’s sharing her thoughts on Periscope as well. (Click here to view the replay, and be sure to follow her on Periscope: @ThinkingCloset)

Emily from Two Purple Couches writes about how taking a creative retreat helped her to take the leap to try a new skill that she’s been wanting to try for a while. I can’t wait to see what kinds of projects come out of this—this girl’s got talent.

Ellen from Create in the Chaos is sharing why you need a creative retreat. I really appreciate her take on the subject.

Bethany from Southern Couture shares how she recharges with a creative retreat. And like I’ve been saying with all of these amazing ladies, I love hearing her perspective on retreats.

Pam from The Birch Cottage is asking, “Do You Need a Creative Retreat?” on her blog. Be sure to check out her thoughts!

Cathy from Three Kids and a Fish writes about how taking a creative retreat has allowed her to work on some really fun projects. (I would love a slice of her Snickers Ice Cream Sandwich cake right now, please. :))

Clemencia from A Life Full of Passions shares how she used to think retreats were an impossible thing because they were too expensive. (I totally relate, Clemencia!)

The Creative Retreat - Don’t you wish you could get away and work on your creative projects? I'll show you how to create your own personal retreat with this resource. You're going to love this!

Because in the end, this is all about making a retreat work for you. You know what your needs are at the moment and you’re the best one to be able to DIY the perfect space that will help you grow and get that creativity flowing. With this workbook, I’m providing a resource to help you craft a retreat experience that you’ll be wanting to go back to again and again. (This is where I should warn you here that mini retreats can be addicting. ;))

To order your own copy of The Creative Retreat (or to read even more about what others are saying about it), click here.

I think you’ll find The Creative Retreat an encouraging resource you’ll go back to again and again as you step out and explore the wonderful world of creative retreats.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I hope you have a lovely {and creative} day!



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51 responses to “The Creative Retreat”

  1. Susan I Avatar
    Susan I

    I haven’t done a personal craft retreat in a few years. You’ve inspired me to set aside a day and do one soon! Thanks!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      You’re so welcome, Susan! 🙂 I’m so glad you’re going to do a retreat soon–they’re the best! 🙂 I’d love to hear how it goes! 🙂

  2. Bethany Avatar

    I would love to start Bible journaling on a creative retreat very soon. It is something that I have been wanting to do for so long and haven’t started. I think this would be a great way to get me jump started. Thanks so much for the giveaway!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      What a great idea, Bethany! I’ve been so inspired by Lauren at The Thinking Closet’s Bible journaling posts…I’ve always been one to underline and mark up books, but art-journaling in them? That would be awesome! 🙂 You should do it! 🙂

  3. Jen Avatar

    I didn’t know that people did this…obviously so out of the loop it’s embarassing..but you had me at twizlers…and chocolate. What a grand idea,.


    1. Jennie Avatar

      You should try a retreat sometime, Jen. I bet you’d love them! And wow, the temptation for this chocolate bar and the bag of Twizzlies is about to kill me here, haha…They look so good! 🙂

  4. Sally Avatar

    I am working out how to gamify my life routines, so getting to my editing work (which I enjoy) isn’t such a gargantuan task. Your site and work are lovely! Soothing and so pretty.

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Thanks so much for the sweet compliment, Sally! I hear you about getting some sort of schedule for the routines in life so you can do what you really enjoy. 🙂

  5. Laura at Mommy Maleta Avatar
    Laura at Mommy Maleta

    I would brainstorm about some ebooks that I would like to write.

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Great idea–I do this all the time. 🙂 I would love to see some of your ideas! 🙂

  6. Alisha Shoffner Avatar
    Alisha Shoffner

    I have several art journals that I have been working on with online classes. I have gotten so far behind! 🙁

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Oh, I love art-journaling! I used to do it so much more than I do now–Need to make some time to get back into it. I love the idea of working on an art-journal on a creative retreat. 🙂

  7. Kaylynne` Avatar

    I just bought your creative retreat workbook. The whole idea immediately clicked with me and made me look at everything in a different perspective. While I was raising my children I put a lot of hobbies aside, or I would start new ones but realize that I didn’t have time for them. At this point I have years of unfinished extended family Christmas gifts that range from cross-stitched Christmas dishtowels, inspirational Christmas story and quote books, rustic wooden nativity pieces, and many other things buried in my so-called craft “messy” room. I am feeling inspired by you already. I would love to have your printed version of the book because I know it will be perfect and much better than anything I can print out on my own at home. Thanks a bunch for the workbook and for the opportunity to win your giveaway.

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Kaylynne, reading your comment MADE my day. I’m so glad that you had an aha moment as you read about creative retreats. I’ve been learning (over and over, it seems) that taking small moments to create really does add up when it comes to finishing projects. Recently, I was talking to my mom about unfinished projects and she made such a wise comment to get rid of all the old projects I will most likely never do anyway. She suggested donating items to groups that would love to have them and basically starting with a clean slate rather than having The Project I Should Do (But Don’t Want To Anymore) hanging over my head. Such a simple idea but revolutionary to me. 🙂 A perfect example would be how we meant to make ornaments together last Christmas but never got to it. Rather than having those supplies hanging out until next year, we just exchanged them and made them on our own. 🙂 (aka, “Here’s a craft kit for you!”) Anyway, I hope you have a wonderful time going through your workbook! Thanks so much for your comment. 🙂

  8. Tamika Avatar

    If I had the opportunity to participate in The Creative Workbook Retreat, I would simply use that time to be free in my creativity and enjoy time to myself.

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Love this, Tamika. That time alone is so precious, isn’t it?

      1. Tamika Avatar

        Hi Jennie … Time alone is precious and I am learning to embrace every moment. Thanks for responding to me … 🙂

        1. Jennie Avatar

          You’re so welcome, Tamika! Have a great rest-of-the-weekend. 🙂

  9. Cindy Avatar

    i would find a quiet Lake Michigan beach, take lots of photos, journal, and read.

    1. Jennie Avatar

      LOVE this idea.

  10. Richenda Avatar

    I love to create! Painting, sewing, and hand embroidery are my faves. With the kids going back to school soon, I’m definitely going to set some time aside each week for my creative side 🙂 Thanks for the giveaway!!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Oh, you definitely should do that! I love hand embroidery too…you’ve inspired me to pull out an embroidery project I put on the back burner. 🙂

  11. Helen Gullett Avatar
    Helen Gullett

    I really need a retreat and never thought of a creative retreat. Your idea is fabulous! I need this Creative Retreat and I’ll try to my daughters’ first year scrapbooking albums. I have postponed them for a while. Thank you for always inspiring through your emails and blog posts!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Thank you so much, Helen! 🙂 That’s a great idea to work on your daughters’ first year albums! It’s amazing what you can accomplish with just a little time here and there. 🙂

  12. Stephanie Suire Avatar
    Stephanie Suire

    I would do watercolor art, journal, practice hand lettering and just feed my creative soul! As a working mom, I don’t get enough creative time to myself so I love this idea!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Love this, Stephanie! 🙂

  13. Angie G Avatar
    Angie G

    I would make some handmade birthday cards to have on hand.

    1. Jennie Avatar

      What a great idea, Angie! 🙂

  14. Katilyn Avatar

    I love the idea! Even just taking little moments here and there. As a teacher, I have been enjoying my summer break and getting caught up on some crocheting. I used to draw/paint a lot and always enjoyed that. It’s something I would love to get started with again!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Thanks so much for your comment, Katilyn. I think it’s so important to take little moments here and there because they really do add up. 🙂 You should totally take up drawing/painting again! 🙂 I used to sketch during my lunch break and it was so nice. 🙂 Have a great day!

  15. rosa Avatar

    hi! this is such an amazing concept! cant wait to get started (lol sometimes thats the hard part aint it)
    i think i will work on art for an upcoming art show that i’m having in october and a 365 creation challenge to grow my portfolio and skills!
    wish me luck!

    thanks so much for sharing your creativity with us!

    tons of love,
    rosa <3

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Good luck, Rosa! Yes, the actual getting started part is always the most difficult. It makes me laugh sometimes when I keep on putting my creative time off (why do we do this?) because once I get going, I LOVE it! Hope you have an incredibly successful art show! 🙂

  16. Aridia Avatar

    Wow that’s a great idea. I’ll be leaving my home country (DR) to study in Taiwan for three years and I’d love to make a journal about my experience and maybe a blog too ^^

    1. Jennie Avatar

      You should, Aridia! I’ve never studied abroad but did teach English overseas for a summer and love looking through the tiny journal I kept. It’s such a simple thing but you won’t regret having that record of this time of your life. 🙂 Thanks so much for your comment!

  17. Tanya Napier Avatar
    Tanya Napier

    I would love to create a retreat for myself where I didn’t have to worry about time restrictions that would stress me out and make the creative process not as enjoyable. My husband and kids are thinking about planning a quick local camping trip and that would be a perfect time for this to happen!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Oh my goodness, Tanya, that would be PERFECT! You’ve got to do that. I’d love to hear how it goes. 🙂

  18. DJ Avatar

    I think I would do a lot of journaling and scrapbooking. Maybe, even finally organize all my photos.

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Great ideas, DJ. It’s funny how much you can accomplish with these projects when you just start…I always think starting is the hardest part! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  19. Jill Avatar

    I stumbled upon your blog today and am so delighted and inspired by you and all that you do. It has been a long summer with kids at home and this September I plan to get back to setting some time aside to do the things that bring me joy yoga, crochet, art journaling and sending snail mail. Thank you for being so inspiring!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Thanks so much for your comment, Jill! It really made my day. 🙂 I’m glad you’re going to making time to do the things that bring you joy very soon–those things matter so much! 🙂

  20. Cynthia @craftoflaughter Avatar
    Cynthia @craftoflaughter

    What a great idea! My daughter and I were just talking about this!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Oh, cool! Creative retreats are the best. 🙂 🙂 I’ve been sick this weekend and have had a ‘retreat’ of sorts forced on me, haha…but it’s been nice to catch up on my reading. 🙂

  21. Erlene Avatar

    What a great idea to schedule creative time. I’ve been squeezing in crafting time when I can, but I feel so pressured to do other things. I think I NEED to schedule time specifically for me to unwind and craft.

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Thanks so much for your comment, Erlene. I know actually scheduling creative time has helped me make it more of a priority. Otherwise, well…life takes over, right? Hope you’re having a nice weekend. 🙂

  22. Kim L Avatar
    Kim L

    I live this…I am going to order one!!! Thanks:)

  23. Kim L Avatar
    Kim L

    I meant love in the last comment

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Kim! I hope you enjoy it. 🙂 I’ve been scribbling big dreams in my workbook this weekend. I’d love to hear about your retreat(s)! 🙂

  24. Laurie Avatar

    I need to spend more time here and seriously consider your materials. School starts up again soon and when my life gets hectic, my creative time dwindles. I started using a Passion Planner a few months ago and that helps with goal-setting.
    Wonderful ideas, Jennie 🙂 Thank you!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Thanks so much for your kind comment, Laurie. I looked up the Passion Planner and it looks so cool. I love planners. 🙂 I hope you can make time to create as school starts up again. I find when I schedule it in I have more of a chance of actually doing it. Strange, but even though I love to make things, life gets busy and I realize I’ve gone days without working on stuff (which is kind of sad.) Hope you have a great week! 🙂

  25. Cathy Ty Siriol Williams Avatar

    What a wonderful post. I’m going to schedule a creative weekend away in the motor home with my hubby and daughter as we all love to be creative and it will be good for us to get away from technology for a while.

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Oh, that sounds wonderful, Cathy! 🙂 Have fun!

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