Speaker and Session Preview: Joanne M. Lozar Glenn – Designing and Delivering a Writing Retreat …

joanne-lozar-glennJoanne M. Lozar Glenn attended HippoCamp last year, and this year she’s back as a speaker.  Joanne, co-author of Memoir Your Way, is giving a session all about how to create a writers’ retreat. It’s kind of meta — learning about designing a writing event AT a writing event! We talked with Joanne about her session and other HippoCamp things.

HippoCamp: We don’t want to give too much away about your session, but please share with us a golden nugget that you hope attendees will take away from your talk that isn’t found on the program description.

​ Feel the fear and do it anyway, as someone once said–including writing, and sharing that writing with, the people who come to your retreat. I used to think my job was “holding the space,” which it was, of course, and that I couldn’t do both that and write. ​But gifted workshop leader Pat Schneider (who founded Amherst Writers and Artists) set me straight. “You won’t write your best work when you’re also responsible for leading a retreat,” she said, “but it’s important to show you’re willing to take the same risk you’re asking your workshop participants to take.” She was right. There’s more to this story, but I’ll save it for the session.

Tell us who would benefit most from your session and why.

Those who enjoy leading a group of writers and have dreamt of someday sharing writing time together with other creatives in an atmosphere of support and mutual encouragement. Maybe they already lead a class, or a small writing group, and know other writers who might like to get away for a weekend (or longer) dedicated to writing. I know the idea of planning a getaway writing weekend can feel daunting, so the session is designed to describe what’s involved and share my process, along with checklists and lessons learned, to make it easier to launch that dream.  ​

What is your best advice for those attending a writing conference, whether it’s for newbies or veterans?

​ Smile. Breathe. Listen. Actually I stole that from my friend and client Steve Gladis, who just published a book with that title. But I think it’s good advice. ​

​​Aside from speaking, what you are most looking forward to about being part of the HippoCamp?

​Being with other creatives and immersing myself in this terrific writing community for an entire weekend. Thank you for pulling this conference together!

Since you’re a returning attendee as a first-time speaker or a returning speaker, please share some thoughts on why you’re excited to return for another year.

​​​ The energy of the conference is generous and warm…and the speakers and sessions are first-rate. I’m looking forward to soaking up as much learning as I can, to re-connecting with people returning from last year, and meeting new writer friends. I’m also looking forward to being in Lancaster again. I really liked getting to know the town.It feels friendly. Plus there is a great art store on the main drag about a five- to ten-minute walk from the conference center. I’m not an artist, but as most writers probably do, I have a thing for pens. And they have some great ones!​
What’s on your personal conference agenda? ​

That is a tough question. All the sessions look great. I will say this: I’m so grateful I was able to get into Sarah Einstein’s workshop on the collage essay last year, as I heard it sold out quickly this time. It was terrific, and I know everyone who’s participating this year will love it!​

Joanne, we’re so happy this session made the line-up! Taking time to ourselves–to get away and write–is so crucial. Therefore, we need people to plan and manage them. Thanks for showing folks how!