Don't learn the hard way: here are some things to consider...
- What do you want to achieve? This should be your first step before you even glimpse a brochure. Somewhere sunny or a stunningly interesting tutor won't work unless it fits your writing objective. Of course, I am tempted to put in one of p&g's famous charts or ranges here but it is not that simple. Your goal is the first decision to make and then work from there.
- Do you want to finish something? Inexperienced or old hand, if you have something you want to work on and finish then you need time and peace - a course on a particular topic is going to grate. Even if it appears to fit with what you are doing closely, it is likely to leave you feeling deflated and worse, hard done by. The tutor, and participants, will be telling you to edit (it is in their nature) before you have even had the chance to explore your ideas. In this case, look for some creative space and quiet; editing can wait!
- Close study - take a good look at the course on offer; for example at Arvon (in the UK) or the like wherever you are. Perhaps there is an aspect of your work you want to improve; or you have work you want to edit. Look for a course that helps you achieve that, Remember too that it is not all about you, you will have to consider and talk to other people. Rewards can be a huge step forward in a short space of time. It may also be worth considering whether you want to spend your downtime in rural quiet or whether all this creativity requires a bit of intense urban nightlife every evening. (The latter option may put paid to the long evening talks which can be half the fun of these courses.)
- Inspiration - well this is just fun, you can go to Morocco, Seoul, the Pyrenees, a ranch or on a canal boat; or sit at the feet of your particular poet guide - relax and inhale deeply and see what happens!
- You have a deadline? Take it from me, this isn't a holiday - it is work. So get your stuff done and then take a restorative break...see above.