My Trip to Ghost Ranch With Austin Film Festival!

Sunday night, I returned home after 7 days in New Mexico!

I was at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiú, New Mexico, participating in a screenwriter’s retreat with Austin Film Festival.

I don’t *think* I’ve spoken much about it here, but it has been a dream of mine to write and sell scripts for years!

For the longest time, I was too afraid or embarrassed to admit it, but I’m done with all that and am shouting it from the mountaintops — I want to be a screenwriter!

Since moving to Austin in 2015, I’ve been volunteering at the Austin Film Fest and have always been so inspired by the movies, screenplays, and people that are a part of it.

I even went to a one-day writer’s retreat with the Film Fest a few years ago…

I knew I wanted to get involved in screenwriting but had no idea how. So, I took an online class during the pandemic lockdown.

I started studying scripts and formats and eventually started one of my own.

And then, the night before I left for Iceland, I saw an email for this writer’s retreat.

I was initially hesitant — would I be the most inexperienced person there? Would I fit in? would it be worth the money?

But, I quickly talked myself out of the doubts. It was about time I invested in THIS part of my dream. I knew if I waited, it would sell out, and then I’d really be mad at myself.

So, I booked it, and it finally became a reality.

About 50 of us traveled to the Ranch — an adventure — got settled into our accommodations and went to the cafeteria for dinner.

After a short welcome from the Director of the Film Fest, we had a happy hour, where we met the other writers.

The next day was the first full day, where we heard from Nicole Pearlman (writer for “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Detective Picachu”) and were put into smaller groups for concentrated learning.

For five days, we heard from experienced screenwriters, worked on personal projects, and got new assignments from our group leaders.

It wasn’t meant to be a networking event, but I couldn’t believe how many amazing people I met and connected with.

I also learned much about writing (in general), setting, and how being a part of a community can help me write.

While at the ranch, I joined a group for an afternoon hike, and (on a different day), I took a morning horseback ride.

Over the course of my visit, I learned a ton about the history of Ghost Ranch, which is fascinating!

I’ve been back almost a week, and I am still processing how amazing it was. I’m so grateful I could gift myself this experience and thankful that it was even available!

I’ve already connected with some of the people I met there, and I’m looking forward to all the things we create and do this year.

I’m confident we will all see each other again at Ghost Ranch next summer, if not sooner!

Have you ever been to a writer’s retreat?

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