A Writing Retreat Packing List

Posted by on Sep 15, 2015 in General

As I prepare for my own independent residency at the Banff Centre, I’m musing about all the things I wish I had brought with me when I was there for the first time in 2013. And since I live across the country and was without a car for a quick zip into town, I had to be judicious about my kit list since it can’t all come with me!

While the Banff Centre does provide a packing list with suggestions of layers, fleece and hats, there are a few things that I wished I had (or was glad I brought), which I thought I would share with my fellow writers.



One MUST have slippers. Cold feet distract and these drafty writing studios require some serious wool action.

-Antibacterial wipes

It may just be my hypochondriac self, but I like to give my studio (and hotel rooms) a good wipe down to keep from getting sick. Do I sound insane? I am.

-Thermal mug

Coffee. Tea. ‘Enuf said.

-Water bottle

Despite my best efforts, one cannot survive on coffee alone.

-Portable speaker

I need music to set the theme for my writing, and for a longer-term residencies, the speakers on the ol’ laptop just won’t do.

-Pen and Notebook

A crazy thing happens on these residencies…you feel creative and inspired all the damn time. I started recording sentences, words, ideas that came to me while eating, sleeping, and yes, while drinking coffee. You will not want to miss these moments.

Last but not least, pack a bit of a plan. At my previous residency, I spent the first few days planning and deciding what I wanted to write about. Your time here is best spent actually writing, so try to do an outline or list before you arrive.

-Kelly S. Thompson

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