The more ephemeral goal is to find the path to writing enlightenment: how do I bring writing up a notch. The one aspect of writing that most people don't talk about is that there are plateaus in your ability to write. Every writer I talk to wants their current book to be the best they've ever written. And that's what I want, too. There is a point where you've stopped flailing with voice, pacing, and plot. Sure, you struggle to keep these balls in the writing air, but you know that you need to do that. Believe or not, that's a hard hurdle to jump. But say you have the basics down, and now you have the luxury of stepping back and viewing your writing with objectivity, its strengths and weaknesses, and you ask yourself, how to I capitalize on my strengths and chip away at my weaknesses?
The longer you write, the slower the learning curve. The first five years of my writing seriously, the direction up was phenomenal. I learned so much and improved to the point where I could get a book published and pickup some nice kudos. Then I plateaued out. I wrote a ton more and could see my writing improve until I reached another plateau. By about the fourth plateau, the changes were incremental but critical. And here I sit. On the fourth plateau. This is where you are a decent writer but not much more than that. I've been sitting on this fourth plateau for a couple of years now, twiddling my thumbs, occasionally have small campfires and toasting marshmallows, planting a few daffodils when I have the time, but I'm not moving upward. It's lonely and frustrating. I want more. I'm hoping this retreat will give me insight in how to get better.