Guidelines for Weekend Writing Retreats
What to expect: We meet together on both days of the weekend in a small group. Writers of all levels of experience and of all genres are invited. There are no criteria for acceptance other than a sincere desire and willingness to write. You need bring no manuscripts with you; all writing is done during the retreat.
Schedule: You are welcome to arrive anytime after 8:30 a.m. and I will have coffee and tea ready for you. We begin writing at 9:00, break for your packed lunch (and perhaps a walk) around 12:30, and end our afternoon session at about 5:00 o’clock. You should bring a brown bag lunch; I will provide coffee and tea all day and provide a mid-afternoon snack. What to bring: Please bring your notebook, pens and socks or slippers for indoors and walking shoes or boots for the trails. The writing: We will write four or five times during the day in response to exercises I suggest (which you are completely free to ignore!). We are invited to read aloud what we have just written and to respond to each other’s work with what is working (what we like, what we remember, what moves us). We will work together to create and maintain a safe, confidential space in which to write whatever comes by following certain guidelines in responding to new writing:
- We hold the writing of others in confidence;
- We honor the writer by listening carefully;
- We treat everything as fiction;
- We refer to the narrator/speaker, not to the author, as the voice of the piece;
- We remember that while healing often occurs through our writing, this is not a therapy group, and we maintain our focus on the writing;
- We concentrate on the writing at hand, not on anecdotes of our similar experiences;
- We are free to write what we want; exercises are offered;
- We are invited to read;
- We respond only with what we like, what stays with us, what moves us-and not, at this stage of vulnerability, with what will make it stronger.
- We invite our inner critic to take a walk!
Our writing retreats are designed after the process developed by my mentor, Pat Schneider of Amherst Writers & Artists, to help us find our truest voice; to write from the images, memories and feelings we all carry inside ourselves; and to write with greater confidence and skill. The retreats are a wonderful way to take time out and allow the deeper levels of your own creative self to emerge onto the page. Besides all of this, they are fun. Please be in touch with any questions or concerns.
Lodging: Patchwork Farm Weekends are non-residential retreats, but there are places to stay close by, including the Owls Burrow, Eagle’s Nest, Aery or Hermit’s Hut at Patchwork Farm. Inquire about discounts for writers (specify which space so we can check for availability).