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Do you dream of getting away to write, but need some guidance on the next steps for your novel?
Want to meet and work with other writers, but in a more intimate setting than a writing conference?
A writing retreat might be just the ticket. Whereas writer’s residencies are mostly about working in solitude, and conferences focus on networking and lectures, writing retreats fall somewhere in between.
Most of them are in beautiful locations (where, presumably, your creative juices will flow more easily), and offer a combination of tours, workshops and interaction with a small group of writers. They’re a great way to combine a vacation with inspiration, networking and of course, writing.
They’re often pricey, but some offer scholarships, or you could always create your own writing retreat with friends. And remember: A retreat is an investment in your career, as well as a vacation! If they’re out of your price range, then perhaps a writing residency would be a better fit. Or, check out this list of grants for writers.
We’ve compiled a list of 25 writing retreats taking place in 2016. They range in price, location and activities included, so hopefully you’ll be able to find one that fits your needs. We haven’t attended any of them, so it’s imperative you do your own research before signing up!
Unless otherwise noted, the prices include workshops, accommodation, activities and most meals — but not airfare to and from the destination.
Run by the Vancouver School of Writing and hosted by writing coach and author Kathrin Lake, this affordable retreat includes group classes and one-on-one coaching in writing and publishing. Dates for 2016 are January 11-17 and February 16-22.
Cost: $767 CAD (~$575 US) per person (does not include accommodation or most food).
This program will hold its 13th annual retreat from January 14 to 24, 2016, in the Mexican village of Tepoztlán. It’s intended for “Committed writers with projects underway,” as you’ll attend six three-hour workshops on a topic of your choice. For 2016, topics include memoir, poetry, fiction and cultural journalism.
Cost: $1,795 per person (does not include accommodation or most dinners).
We love the sound and attitude of Aimee Hansen’s women-only writing retreats in Guatemala — and we bet you’ll love the price, too. She has six dates on the calendar for 2016: January 30 to February 7, March 26 to April 3, May 1-9, June 23 to July 1, August 21-29 and November 18-26. You’ll stay at The Yoga Forest on Lake Atitlan and enjoy daily yoga, meditation and writing sessions.
Cost: $895 per person.
Want to drum up some courage to tell your story? Check out these women-only writing retreats, which will be held at a resort in Loreto Bay, Mexico from January 31 to February 6 or April 24-30, 2016. You could escape the daily grind, focus on yourself — and even go on a whale-watching tour!
Cost: $2,795 per person.
This weekend retreat might be the ticket for aspiring screenwriters. It takes place in Malibu, California February 5-7, 2016, and is hosted by award-winning screenwriter Bill Boyle, who will guide you through his “Visual Mindscape” method of screenwriting.
Cost: $470-$565 per person.
For more than 50 years, creatives have traveled to this island outside of Savannah to seek inspiration. Past participants include Ralph Ellison, Annie Dillard, Olive Ann Burns, Margaret Atwood, T.C. Boyle, Rosemary Daniell and Alice Walker. The retreat will take place March 4-9, 2016, and includes workshops and manuscript critiques.
Cost: $2,400 per person.
If you’re a fiction writer looking for a quick and affordable getaway, this retreat might be for you. Set in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains March 10-13, 2016, this retreat offers workshops, critiques and readings. The organizers promise you’ll “Find inspiration in the natural beauty that will surround you.”
Cost: $180 per person (does not include lodging).
Though this retreat is expensive, it seems like you get what you pay for: Intimate workshops and panels with world-famous authors like Steven Galloway and Cheryl Strayed. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the beautiful country of Iceland. It runs April 13-17, 2016.
Cost: 247,105-272,000 ISK (~$1,904-$2,096 USD) per person.
In case you haven’t heard of proprioceptive writing (PW), here’s an explanation: “Not formal writing, nor stream-of-consciousness writing but a regular, disciplined practice that can deepen attention and free us to think, write, and speak with strength and clarity.” In this creativity retreat April 16-23, 2016, you’ll practice PW while staying at a traditional Irish bed and breakfast. All your meals and use of the B and B’s five acres of gardens are included.
Cost: €900 per person (~$978 USD).
Want to get away, but not too far away? Try this women-only retreat in Taos, New Mexico, hosted by author Jennifer Loudon May 8-14, 2016. Your fee includes everything: “All lodging and all meals, daily writing seminars, daily yoga classes, on-the-spot writing coaching, plentiful snacks, and love love love.”
Cost: $2,030-$2,430 per person.
For over 25 years, this retreat has been providing an “Intensive learning experience for small groups of serious-minded writers who are committed to improving and completing their novels for submission.” On a private Texas ranch May 12-19, 2016, you’ll participate in workshops, intensive writing and one-on-one meetings with industry professionals.
Cost: $1,895 per person.
To any yogi who writes, or writer who yogis, this retreat might sound like a dream come true. Host and teacher Karen Kenney promises her “Positive, love-centered approach to writing” will help you quiet your inner critic and create fearlessly. It takes place May 22-27, 2016 at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY.
Cost: $820-$1,695 per person.
Get away to the Greek island of Skyros to attend writing classes at the Writers’ Lab. They offer week-long courses on varying topics from June to September. You’ll start every morning with yoga, attend a three-hour writing class and then enjoy all the island has to offer. In this pristine environment, you’ll “Navigate beyond old boundaries and emerge with pieces of writing of which to feel proud.”
Cost: £595- £1245 (~$899-$1,880 USD) per person.
This retreat is hosted by writer and teacher Cary Tennis, who worked for Salon.com for 14 years. Join him in June 2016 in Italy, where you’ll attend writing workshops and explore the medieval hill town of Castiglion Fiorentino.
Cost: $1,799-$2,199 per person.
Want to explore Venice while sharing stories and making new friends? Check out this retreat, which will be led by Pink Pangea co-founder Jaclyn Mishal June 11-15, 2016.
Cost: $895-$1,195 per person (does not include lunch or dinner).
Julie Maloney has hosted writing workshops for more than 10 years, and this summer, she’s bringing her wisdom to the Greek island of Alonnisos. If you join her June 14-23, 2016, you’ll write each morning and have adventures each afternoon.
Cost: $1,995 per person (does not include lunch or most dinners).
Spiritual writers will love escaping to the pristine beauty of the Swiss Alps June 19-26, 2016. The retreat isn’t for working on a specific project; rather you’ll use writing and music to “Access your own inner wisdom and creative energy,” in addition to practicing yoga, meditation and breath work.
Cost: $1,295-$1,450 per person.
Female travelers, rejoice! This women’s writing retreat is hosted by the Nomadic Chick herself, Jeannie Mark, and The Future Is Red’s Leigh Shulman. It will take place at a beach resort in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua July 9-16, 2016, and includes daily yoga, meditation and writing workshops — and of course, abundant opportunities to relax on the beach.
Cost: $1,899-$2,299 per person.
This writing experience will take place from July 28 to August 5, 2016, in the university town of Dundee. It’s hosted by award-winning poet Peter E. Murphy, but is open to nonfiction and fiction writers as well. You’ll enjoy a week of writing and “Get to know the real Scotland.”
Cost: $1,995 per person.
If you’re one of the many writers who love to run, you might enjoy this retreat, which takes place August 3-7, 2016 in rural North Carolina. After a two-mile trall run each morning, you’ll participate in workshops, critique groups and social events. The culminating event is a 10K race through the woods!
Cost: $950 per person.
This all-inclusive retreat will be held in Denmark from August 14 to 20, 2016. You’ll stay at Liselund Castle, where you can “Let your creativity flourish in a historical Danish setting fit for kings and queens of centuries past.” Both beginners and experienced writers are welcome.
Cost: $2,500 per person.
How does spending your days writing at a farmhouse in Tuscany sound? This retreat will be from August 28 to September 3, 2016 and includes writing workshops, daily yoga, body work and all meals (even wine!). While here, “You’ll be invited to awaken the connection between your life experience, your senses and your deepest writer self.”
Cost: $2,150 per person.
Because we can’t get enough of Tuscany: This retreat will take place September 10-17, 2016 at a villa a few miles from the historical city of Florence. Though it doesn’t include lunch or most dinners, it does feature one-on-one sessions with both a life coach and a literary agent.
Cost: $2,137-$2,350 per person.
Learn to tell your story while escaping to the mythical Irish island of Inis Mór September 4-11, 2016. In addition to writing workshops with host Irene Graham, you’ll enjoy guided walks and tours of the remote island — and even a pony trap ride!
Cost: €1,195 (~$1,300 USD) per person.
This 12-day all-female Peruvian immersion will take place from September 30 to October 11, 2016. You’ll observe women weavers, inspiring you to “Open the pages of your journal and weave your own tapestry with words.” Rather than staying in one location, you’ll visit several different places in Peru, including the iconic Machu Picchu.
Cost: $3,500 per person.
Which one of these looks most exciting to you? Which ones did we miss?