When I first learned to drive a standard transmission car, I stalled a lot. I practised how not to stall at a light, shifting gears from first to second, then never at all on a flat road. Then I learned how to not
stall or roll back on a hill. That felt the best—delicate balancing of clutch and accelerator to keep the car steady and motionless until the light changed and I could keep going without need of a brake. I loved
making a game of not rolling back even a little. Because I practiced every day, over the weeks and months I got better. I stalled less and less.

I think writing is a lot like that.

When life gets in the way of writing, stalling is practiced so much it becomes easier and easier to stall and not finish that story. Then one day you realize you’re standing still, practising only how to go nowhere.

And that is where writers’ retreats can come in to get those gears shifting smoothly again.

What does a person DO at a writers’...