31 Incredible Writing Retreats to Attend in 2017

31 Incredible Writing Retreats to Attend in 2017

We update these resources once each year, so you may find that some deadlines have passed. Click through to each opportunity to find the most recent application information straight from the source!

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.

The 31 writing retreats below take place in 2017; they range in price, location and activities included — so hopefully you’ll be able to find one that fits your needs.

I 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 (often shared), activities and most meals — but not airfare to and from the destination.

1. Under the Volcano

This program will hold its 13th annual retreat from January 12-22, 2017, 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 2017, topics include memoir, poetry, fiction and cultural journalism.

Cost: $1,795 per person (does not include accommodation or most dinners).

2. Sacred Expression Women’s Retreat

I love the sound and attitude of Aimee Hansen’s women-only writing retreats in Guatemala — and I bet you’ll love the price, too.

You’ll stay at The Yoga Forest on Lake Atitlan and enjoy daily yoga, meditation and writing sessions.

So far, she has two dates on the calendar for 2017: January 7-15 and July 7-16.

Cost: $1,195 per person.

3. Costa Rica Retreat for Writers and Families

Bring the niños along on this creative writing retreat from February 4-11, 2017.

You’ll stay on a working farm in the heart of the rainforest, with easy access to both hammocks and hikes. Each morning, you’ll participate in creative writing workshops, and each afternoon, you’ll have time to write or explore.

The week begins and ends with public readings — which your family is welcome to attend!

Cost: $1,345-$1,819 per person (does not include lunch or dinner); $290 per child (if sharing a room with two adults).

4. TLC Writing Retreats for Women

Want to drum up the courage to tell your story?

This women-only writing retreat will be held at a resort in Loreto Bay, Mexico from February 19-25, 2017 — and features more than 25 hours of workshops.

You’ll escape the daily grind, focus on yourself and even go on a whale-watching tour!

The hosts also have retreats in Greece and other U.S. locations throughout the year.

Cost: $2,795 per person.

5. Pele’s Fire

Experience the real Hawaii during this Big Island retreat from March 21-27, 2017.

You’ll enjoy generative and genre-specific workshops, guided conversations, readings and individual manuscript feedback, plus quiet writing time.

The 120-acre seaside retreat center features a pool and jacuzzi, and a “full”schedule” of yoga, meditation and movement classes (one per day is included in the price).

Cost: $2,295 per person.

6. Iceland Writers Retreat

This retreat might be on the expensive side, but it seems like you get what you pay for: intimate workshops and panels with world-famous authors like Sara Gruen and David Lebovitz.  

Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the incredible country of Iceland. It runs April 5-9, 2017.

Cost: 289,000 ISK (~$2,528 US) per person.

7. Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Retreat

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 from April 6-9, 2017, 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 (includes meals but not lodging).

8. Himalayan Writing Week

On this retreat in the Indian Himalayas from April 9-16, 2017 or August 20-27, 2017, you might just find the solace you need to finish that important project.

Three published authors will guide you through everything from discussions to long walks, bonfires, yoga and pottery.

Cost: $1,150 per person.

9. Write Away — Greece

Get away to the Greek islands from April 22-29, 2017, and “unleash your creative potential.”

At this retreat, you’ll enjoy writing workshops, one-on-one mentoring sessions and nightly group dinners, all while staying in a boutique hotel by the sea.

Cost: $1,495 per person (does not include lunch).

10. Proprioceptive Writing Retreat

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 creative retreat from April 29 to May 5, 2017, you’ll practice PW while staying at a traditional Irish bed and breakfast. All your meals and use of the B&B’s five acres of gardens are included.

Cost: €900 per person (~$978 USD).

11. The Taos Writer’s Retreat

Want to get away, but not too far away? Try this women-only retreat in Taos, New Mexico, hosted by author Jennifer Loudon from April 30 to May 6 or July 30 to August 5, 2017.  

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: $2,000-$2,500 per person.

12. Writers Retreat Workshop

For 30 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 from May 6-13, 2017, you’ll participate in workshops, intensive writing and one-on-one meetings with industry professionals.

Cost: $1,840 per person.

13. Yoga & Writing: Creating Fearless Flow

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 22-26, 2017 at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY.

Cost: $820-$1,695 per person.

14. Women Writing Retreats: Paris

Itching to finally write that book? Paris sounds like the perfect place to get started.

This all-female retreat, which focuses on first-time writers, will take place from May 29 to June 2, 2017. It’ll include writing sessions, creativity sprints, and group feedback and support.

Cost: $1,695 per person until February 14, 2017 (does not include breakfast or dinner).


15. Literature & Landscape of the Horse

Let horses inspire your writing on this women’s retreat, which takes place May 29 to June 3, 2017.

You’ll partake in rides across Wyoming’s wide open spaces, and writing under the guidance of Page Lambert — all while staying in a riverside cabin and enjoying the hot tub and saloon every evening.

Cost: $1,725 per person.

16. Stories of Your Days: Learn to Write Your Memoirs

If you can only get away for a few days — and are itching to tell your story — check out this affordable weekend retreat in the mountains of Pennsylvania from June 2-4, 2017.

Even if you don’t have any writing experience, memoir writing coach Jay Speyerer will help you get your story on the page.

Cost: $599 per person (price increases after February 2, 2017).

17. Cambodia Travel and Food Writing Retreat

On this small group trip run by Lara Dunston and Terence Carter of Grantourismo Travels, you’ll not only dive deep into Cambodian culture — you’ll leave with a working draft and photographs.

You’ll travel through Cambodia from June 9-18, 2017, experiencing markets, cooking classes and temples, and writing and photography workshops, coaching and support.  

Cost: $2,155 per person.

18. Pink Pangea Travel Writing Retreat

Want to explore Venice while sharing stories and making new friends? Pink Pangea co-founder Jaclyn Mishal will lead this women-only retreat from June 11-15, 2017.

You’ll stay in central Venice and participate in daily writing workshops and tours.

Cost: $895-$1,359 per person (does not include lunch or dinner).

19. Greece Writer’s Retreat

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, 2017, you’ll write each morning and have adventures each afternoon.

Cost: $2,050 per person (does not include lunch).

20. Writers Who Run Retreat & Race

If you’re one of the many writers who love to run, you might enjoy this retreat, which takes place June 19-24, 2017 in rural North Carolina.

After a two-mile trail run each morning, you’ll have a full schedule of workshops, critique groups, writing time and social events. The culminating event is a 10K race through the woods!

Cost: $1,499-$1,899 per person.

21. Aegean Arts Circle Writing Workshop

What is it with writers and Greece? Something about this country and its magical islands must really inspire.

This retreat — now in its 15th year! — will take place on the island of Andros from June 24 to July 4, 2017.

Hosted by poet and author Linda Lappin, it features workshops in the mornings, free writing in the afternoons and group dinners each evening.

Cost: TBD (last year’s rate was $1,600; does not include lunch).

22. Novel Writing Retreat

A “characterful manor house” in Southwest France will be your home during this retreat from July 2-8, 2017.

Two bestselling authors will teach you everything they know about creating a novel — from developing characters and themes to driving plot and narrative — and two literary agents will also answer questions and offer advice.

Cost: £950 per person (~$1,162 US) if booked before December 2016.

23. Creative Revolution Writing Retreat

This women’s writing retreat is hosted by The Future Is Red’s Leigh Shulman.

It will take place at a resort in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua from July 8-15, 2017 and includes daily yoga, meditation and writing workshops — and of course, abundant opportunities to relax on the beach.

Cost: $3,800-$4,200 per person (price increases by $1,000 in 2017).

24. Get Away to Write — Spain

This writing experience will take place July 11-18, 2017, in the cliffs of northern Spain.  

It’s hosted by award-winning poet Peter E. Murphy, but is open to nonfiction and fiction writers as well. It includes workshops, writing time and excursions to Barcelona.

Cost: $2,149 per person.

25. French Alps Writing Retreat

Spiritual writers will love escaping to the pristine beauty of Chamonix, at the base of Mont Blanc, August 6-12, 2017.

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 breathwork.

This year, host Debra Moffitt is also offering the option to attend virtually at an early-bird rate of $299.

Cost: $1,295 per person (increases to $1,450 after March 31).

26. Hamlet’s Hideaway

This all-inclusive retreat will be held in Denmark from August 20-26, 2017.

You’ll stay in the shadow of Fredensborg Palace, a “magical setting” where you can “dream and create.” Both beginners and experienced writers are welcome.

Cost: $2,500 per person.

27. Autumn in Tuscany

How does spending your days writing at a farmhouse in Tuscany sound?

This retreat is from September 3-9, 2017 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: $2,500 per person, with a $100 discount for signing up before 2017.

28. The Creative Writer’s Workshop: Fiction & Autobiographical Fiction

Learn to tell your story while escaping to the mythical Irish island of Inis Mór from September 3-10, 2017.

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: €1,295 (~$1,421 USD) per person.

29. Western Caribbean Writing Retreat Cruise

Cruise to writing success on this nautical retreat from September 10-17, 2017.

You’ll participate in workshops, writing sessions and parties — and also make land in three different Caribbean ports: Cozumel, Mexico; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; and Falmouth, Jamaica.

Cost: $1,750 per person.

30. Your Beautiful Writing Life Retreat

Because we can’t get enough of Tuscany: This retreat will take place in September 2017 at a villa a few miles from the historical city of Florence.

It’ll include workshops, professional development and coaching, and optional offerings like art and cooking classes.

Cost: $2,600 per person (does not include all dinners).

31. Ossabaw Island Writers’ Retreat

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 takes place October 27-29, 2017, and includes workshops, readings and one-on-one manuscript critiques. (There’s a longer session in the spring, as well.)

Cost: $1,095 per person.

Which one of these looks most exciting to you? Which ones did we miss?

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  • Susan!

    Thank you so much for including our Creative Revolution Retreat in this list. I absolutely love the way you describe it.

    For anyone who wants to know more, btw, feel free to ask. Or you can also join some free writing webinars we’re hosting every week in November.

    People can sign up for webinars or listen to past ones here: http://creative-revolution.com/webinar-resources/

    And again, thank you! I am on pins and needles excited for February to arrive.


    • Thanks for sharing, Leigh!

      TWL Assistant Editor

      • Karen says:

        Hi there,
        Cost is a problem with Writing Retreats admittedly! – not just the cost of attending one, but also organising one: the cost of the speakers, their flights, the accommodation (we rented a twelve bedroom house) and the catering (freshly cooked local food to inspire).

        At http://www.achapteraway.com we offer five-days full board and accommodation for £1000 in a manor house in beautiful SW France.

        Novel & Memoir course June 12th – 19th 2016, or Novel & Historical Fiction course, July 6th – 12th.

        HOWEVER, we are running competitions to offer TWO FREE places (inclusive of tutorials, food, accommodation, but not travel costs to France) to writers of talent and merit over the coming year and to start with, on the two courses above.

        The first two candidates of merit to submit work will win.

        There will be a reduction of £100 for any reader of this article.

        Please contact me for details and to submit your work. Don’t let the fact you can’t afford a retreat put you off – we are currently looking for writers of talent to introduce to our literary agents.

        We work with leading UK literary agents including Andrew Lownie and Jonathan Pegg, as well as many UK University professors and published authors of acclaim.

        Look forward to seeing you in France!


      • Mathew Tang says:

        My names are Tang Mathew. Am a certified writer of screen plays and novels. I wish to participate in this conference please what is required of me

    • Another retreat to add is a brand new one coming to the scene in 2016. Writers Who Run (or Walk) Retreat in western North Carolina with a focus on novel writing. 5 days, 4 nights in woodsy setting with morning trail runs (or hikes), 2 morning workshops each day, Daily Mile Markers, 2 hours of writing time, and Roundtable critiques for First Page, First Chapter, and Synopsis. Last day finale is an actual running race on the trails! 6 miles. Non-runners will hike with each other and soak in the beauty of the forest. First year inaugural price is only $950. Includes lodging and all meals and race entry fees. Visit http://www.writerswhorun.com for more info and to register.

    • Hello there,
      I am a lifelong writer and a teacher. I am launching into the world of hosting Writing Retreats at my own home in central France in the lesser-known Creuse area, with its connections to George Sands – including two of her homes in beautiful locations which I will take guests to visit. My husband is in charge of cookeing for both meat-eaters and veggies. We recognise the importance of laying on all meals and refreshments and we think that our affordable pricing will come as a pleasant surprise.
      The website http://lemotjuste.org/

      I will be on hand to do critiquing, and hope that the intimate atmosphere – just four writer guests, each with their own room – might inspire the sharing of support and the giving of feedback on one another’s work.

      Our first Le Mot Juste retreats (with early booking discount) are on the following dates:
      Monday 14th August 2017 – Saturday 19th August 2017

      Monday 4th September 2017 – Saturday 9th September 2017

      Monday 25th September 2017 – Saturday 30th September 2017
      Free pick-up/drop-off service to/from Limoges Airport or Station.
      Each of the above retreats consists of a five-night fully catered stay
      Discounted price £380 if booked before 20th December 2016.

      Looking forward to seeing you in France!


  • Sucks. I can’t afford any of them.

    • Susan Shain says:

      #3 and #6 are quite reasonable, Leigh. Or you could always create your own writing retreat with some writer buddies!

    • Candace says:

      Hi Leigh,
      You’re right. The pricing is steep. Check out The Watering Hole at twhpoetry.org. They host affordable retreats and residencies for poets of color.

    • I’m heart is broken. Are we the only struggling writers out here? I’m a senior on a fixed income who would love to attend.

      • outsiderart says:

        Yes. All these listed are much too expensive, plus still having to pay regular bills even though away from home. There ARE places that give subsidies and/or cost nothing or next-to-nothing, e.g., MacDowell, Hemingway-Pfeiffer, etc.

    • maria says:

      Then apply to Hedgebrook. It’s free (lodging and 3 meals), throughout the year, and the best writers retreat in the world. I wonder why the article did not talk about it. All you need is to be talented.

    • ….we are happy to take up to 2 volunteer helpers on each course. We try to fit the genre of the writer with the course, so would ask to see work.. but this is one way of being able to take advantage of the lessons, for a little help organising. There would only be the flight to pay… Karen

  • Carolyn Boyles says:

    The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center in Piggott, Arkansas (yes, the Ernest Hemingway–he had a house there) holds three writers retreats each year. The instructor varies.

    The website is http://www.hemingway.astate.edu

    Hemingway wrote parts of A Farewell to Arms in his studio in Piggott.

    The cost of the retreat does not include accommodations or food. It’s cheap compared to those listed on this website and you don’t need a passport.

    For those of you who are old movie buffs, the movie that made Andy Griffith famous, A Face In The Crowd, was filmed in Piggott, Arkansas. In the movie, it’s Pickett, Arkansas.

  • Patricia Patterson says:

    I have attended the TLC Writing Retreats and recommend them. I was lucky enough to attend three retreats in different places. I love getting away to write, learn, and experience the uninterrupted peace and beauty. I came away with a renewed confidence in my writing. Tammy Coia is an experienced writer and teacher who shares her love of life and adventure.

  • eve says:

    Sorry to sound pathetic, but what about those of us who can’t afford to pay a grand or even a few hundred bucks? Are there are any free ones, especially for women who have survived abuse and/or are currently in an extremely …horrible situation? Are there any grants or ‘scholarship’ type programs? Thanks in advance….

    • Hi Eve — we wrote about writing residencies (usually low-cost or free) and grants for writers (money to fund your writing) in separate posts. Let us know what you think, and best of luck with your writing journey!

      TWL Assistant Editor

      • Diana Osberg says:

        Hi Heather– Yes, retreats are usually pricey, but a good investment in your career. However, when you have to choose between paying your bills and going to a retreat, of course you have to be practical. I’ve put together several retreats that only some can afford. BUT I’m offering FREE attendance to 5 people for my Visual Mindscape Screenwriting Retreat with award-winning screenwriter Bill Boyle. If you’re a screenwriter, TV writer or even a playwright, you may want to enter for a chance to win this fantastic retreat. Here’s the link to enter: http://www.miaterratours.com/enter-to-win.html

    • Debbie says:

      Or suffering from Fibromyalgia or any other chronic pain disease. At least take a percentage off of their choice of retreat. I would love to go to Tuscany, France or Ireland. I just have a book inside of me that wants to come out but I need help getting the beginning down on paper. Or something like that. LOL.

  • Are there any writing retreats held in the United Kingdom?

  • Page Lambert says:

    Susan, thanks so much for including our “Peru Weaving Words & Women” 2016 retreat! I know that’s more than a year away, but this gives everyone a chance to save a little money every month. My 2015 offerings include the “Literature & Landscape of the Horse” retreat in Wyoming this June, and “On the River of Discovery with Women of Influence” in Utah, September 2015. Couldn’t pass up the chance to mention them. Thanks again, Susan! Page Lambert

  • Janelle says:

    Just wondering if there is a workshop for poetry writers.

  • Dear Susan, Here’s a link to the video summary of the 2014 French Alps, Exploring the Voice of Your Soul (retreat: http://www.awakeintheworld.com/#!travel-/c146f ). It gives a good idea of the place, the good food, and the diversity of the group.

    I’m open to answering any questions about it — or putting those of you who are interested and want to know more, in touch with some of the 2014 participants. The group bonded so much that we continue to meet by phone once a month.

    Thanks for including it in your 2015 retreats!

    Debra Moffitt

  • Karen Kenney says:

    Such a wonderful list and love to see my friends from Wide Open Writing listed here! Yay! Thank you for your consideration – I’d like to share that I’ll also be offering a week-long workshop at Omega in Rhinebeck, NY in May 2015: Yoga & Writing: Creating Fearless Flow. http://www.eomega.org/workshops/yoga-writing#-workshop-description-block

  • Suzanne says:

    Ooooh, I love this post!!! Incredible writing retreats. Here’s a great post on how to pick a great writing retreat: gatelesswriting.com/the-truth-about-writing-retreats/
    And I’m partial to the gateless method of doing writing retreats that include bodywork, fabulous organic food and are based on brain science that says in order to make our work soar, we need to learn where we shine, where the strengths are and how to lean into our innate talent. http://suzannekingsbury.net/writing-retreats/
    xxxooo, S.

  • Melissa says:

    What about Yoga and Creative Writing in Italy with editor from going OM Melissa Carroll?


  • Jenny Wright says:

    Nice retreats for the Elite . Yes they can be valuable and helpful. But most of us are starving artists.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Here’s another incredible writing retreat:

    “Writing at Sea” – Pangaea Exploration – April 4 – 13, 2015 – Dominican Republic to Florida

    ‘Writing at Sea’ offers the remarkable opportunity to expand your creative writing skills while sailing through some of the most breathtaking parts of the Bahamas. During this 10-day voyage aboard S/V Sea Dragon, you will be provided with a unique space to create new writing that cultivates an awareness of our marine environment and takes into regard the ecological challenges humans place on the oceans.


    This expedition will combine facilitated discussion; hands-on sailing experience; and practical workshops on writing fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, and environmental journalism.

    Pangaea Exploration is offering THREE $500 grants to writers to join the “Writing at Sea” expedition

    Writers participating in this voyage will also get the opportunity to submit work to the online blog of Whole Terrain, the award-winning journal of reflective environmental practice. Exceptional pieces of writing may also be chosen to be published in the print journal of Whole Terrain. Writers will also get the opportunity to publish blogs via the Pangaea Exploration website.

    For more information about the writing grants and to apply, please visit: http://panexplore.com/grants/
    Applications are due on February 14th, 2005.

  • Irene Graham says:

    Writing in Ancient Ireland – with Irene Graham
    Set on the western shores of Ireland on Inis Mor, one of the Aran Islands, this Fiction and Autobiographical Fiction Writing Workshop and Retreat evokes creativity, the heart of your story…and your sense of self.

    Eat gastronomical delights, stay in high-end accommodation at the foot of Dun Aengus Fort, enjoy walks to ancient sites with a Celtic scholar, and let the raw beauty of this ancient landscape nuture your soul, and your writing.

    Another Retreat, Memoir Writing – is nestled beside The Cliffs of Moher, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean…you can read all about that here…

  • Kai says:

    Great list!

    I’d like to add the Mokulē‘ia Writers Retreat on the North Shore of Hawai‘i, May 3–8, 2015. This annual retreat is led by Constance Hale, author of Sin & Syntax. Lodging and meals are included in the cost.

    “The Mokulē‘ia Writers Retreat is an annual gathering that brings three dozen writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, essays, and memoir to the North Shore of O‘ahu for a week of intimate workshops and one-on-one coaching. The retreat is high-level and professional — but also low-key and tuned in to the beauty of the surroundings. We foster an exchange in two directions — between islanders and mainlanders, published writers and budding writers, Native Hawaiian artistry and mainland publishing.”

    More details are available on the retreat Web site: http://campmokuleia.com/retreats/writers/

  • Fiona says:

    Wonderful list, Heather. I’m late to the party but wanted to let anyone interested know that we still have spaces available for the 2015 IRELAND WRITER TOURS, one tour in August, and one in September. These are unique week-long writers’ conferences facilitated by best-selling authors with private editing sessions, group workshops and classes, combined with guided tours of Ireland. It all comes at a great price that might cover an edit OR a vacation ($1,625 USD). Each tour is limited to 12 participants to ensure personalized attention. Further info on FB, Twitter and our website: http://www.irelandwritertours.com. Thank you.

  • Barbara Barnes says:

    I know others have mentioned this, but..the prices of these things! How could struggling writers afford any of them? Seems a total mis-match between what is offered and the people who would need it. Just saying.

    • Barbara,

      You make a good point. I run the Creative Revolution retreat mentioned above, and we do try to make the retreats as affordable as possible. Most of the cost for us covers food, lodging and all the other extras of the retreat itself. It is cheaper than a regular vacation but still costs.

      That said, not all writers are struggling. Many, also, are transitioning from full time jobs to writing, so they have the income to support a retreat but not the experience of writing. For others, a retreat is a good investment for a career. A semester long writing class costs even more.

      But of course, retreats aren’t for everyone, and many writers create their own retreats, too.

    • Barbara,

      It is a big investment, but one well worth planning ahead for. I run the Rainforest Writing Retreat in Australia and I get a lot of writers talk about how much they’d love to do this, but can’t afford it. We’re all in that situation at times and my advice is to plan to give this to yourself one day (we also run ours at cost just to provide a service for other writers, but it is still a big expense). You deserve this. Maybe not this year, but maybe next year or the one after.
      You will make the most amazing connections at a retreat, and you’ll push your career forward. Every retreat would see success stories emerge from that experience.

      I really want to run one on a fancy train one year (a mystery retreat!), but it’s out of my affordability to set it up just yet (all these venues require big deposits), but I’ll work toward it!

    • I will agree and say that these retreats are [mostly] very expensive, as they do not include the cost of missed work, airfare, etc. That said, for most people, one of these retreats is a “special” thing and not a yearly choice. If you choose the right one carefully and do the work, it will sustain you for some time to come.
      I started running workshops this summer, and I’m always stretched between how much it is costing me and how much to charge. I have patrons who can subsidize my costs [sometimes].
      Recently I taught in Paris in a very prestigious location; I was aware that most people who attended did not live in Paris and had to pay for a hotel and flight, so I figured out other creative ways to fund the class.
      But a writing retreat has to make the instructor money too, otherwise they are just giving their work away.

      The best thing, I think, to look at are not testimonials on websites or ads for retreats that make you feel good–but retreats run by writers with accomplishments that you appreciate. Go look at what they have published–do you think they are worth what they are charging? Do you see a published platform and writer who you feel can lead you and teach you, and be worth the money you just saved and spent? If you don’t see the kind of work you’d like to be crafting–or at least enough work of quality to admire–then choose a retreat by someone else.
      This always helps me decide if a conference or other event is worth my time.

      Another alternative is to look at events run thru convents and monasteries or retreat centers. They often have lower rates, and include meals and rooms for 50-75 a night, which over a three day stay is very affordable indeed. Services are not usually mandatory and they have programs for people who cannot pay oftentimes.
      I’ve gone to some of the best classes in convents and retreats–and appreciated the quiet from the world.


      • Leigh says:

        Hey AGA,

        Lovely to see you here! 🙂

        I wanted to add. Yes, retreats like the one I run are more expensive than many other ways of writing. That said, we find some really amazing places, get good prices and choose our locations based on creating a retreat that is affordable. It is also going to be less than if someone went on a vacation to the same area and paid for food and lodging on their own.

        And as far as choosing a retreat. Yes. Choosing a retreat based on writers whose writing you love is a good guide, but it’s also important to remember that not everyone who writes well also teaches well. They’re too very different skills.

        In that sense, it’s important to find a retreat that has a philosophy that fits your needs. For example, our retreat caters specifically to women who want to start writing or step up their writing. Most are in non-writing professions, and many want to travel. We also place a huge focus on self care as a way to support creative energies.

        We’ve found, too, that once people join our webinars and get to know us online, they want to work with us in person. We give a lot of ourselves to the women with whom we work, and we love doing it.

        But every writers wants something different. We’re not right for everyone. But the women who are right do not regret the money they spend on our retreat. We work incredibly hard to make that a reality.

        • Hi Leigh,
          Well it’s certainly true that not everyone who can write well can teach well. I’ve thought a lot about this, having been to a few courses where the instructor was wonderful, but couldn’t help me get my writing plan on course. They are two very different skills, as you say, but personally, why not go for both?

          For myself, if someone asked me for advice, I would tell them their instructor must have a writing track history they appreciate, as well as testimonials of on their manner and friendly approach. That is the perfect pairing, in my view. One without the other means I might feel motivated but not walk out with a skillset I need. I ask myself: is what this teacher done reflect any aspect of my own goals? Can they give me the skillset to reach them? Have they reached their own? I want to get better. I want to walk out shining, which some writing in hand that I love.

          I agree that a retreat or course must also have a philosophy which suits your needs. There’s nothing worse than showing up to a yoga writing retreat if you hate yoga., or a retreat which asks so much of you creatively that you are too tired to create.

          As for my comments on cost, those addressed the comments I read–there were many asking what is less expensive. I’m sure every retreat on this list has done it’s finest to be economical, and they aren’t cheap to run. My suggestions were more directed towards people who cannot afford several thousand dollars to go write, no matter how much they would like to. I have supported your retreat and publicized it in the past, so I’m not addressing your retreat in particular–or really any retreat here in particular..

          Many instructors also provide short courses, or webinars–like yours. I have agreed to teach one workshop in Paris each year for practically nothing–it is such an expensive city; other workshops I teach are quite expensive. I like to provide a little something for free or very cheaply once a year.

          But as I mentioned above, self led retreats at convents, Buddhist centers, monasteries–or asking a few friends to come–also makes for a great retreat. A good friend of mine has a retreat at her house once a month for writers–everyone comes and writes. There are many ways to have a retreat.

          To combine a retreat with a travel experience is a lot of work. My retreats in foreign lands are in the thousands next year. As we both know, the cost of details, food, hotel–it is adds up.

          All the more reason to choose your retreat carefully: a teacher you relate to and admire, who writes beautifully, has successes you can apply to your own plan, and who you can lay your writing life down in front of with confidence that they will gently help you shape with it care….you’ll get where you want to go!


    • Lara Dunston says:

      Hi Barbara (in case you’re still receiving these responses)

      I hear you, which is why we selected accommodation with a wider range of rooms (and therefore prices) for our retreat in Cambodia this year, which will be our second.

      My writer-photographer husband and I are hosting a 10-day retreat in late May 2016 Siem Reap, gateway to Angkor Wat, including almost all meals, all activities, experiences, tours, transport, guides, plus creative workshops, starting at US$1,200 – and I must say, participants will be staying in absolutely beautiful, intimate boutique hotel properties, eating in Cambodia’s best restaurants, and doing some phenomenal experiences, most of which they couldn’t arrange on their own. Some participants are getting US$700 flights so for US$2,000 it’s a bargain and that’s what we intended.

      We are not only covering writing, however, we’re covering writing opportunities, pitching, and blogging, as my husband and I have not only had a very long and successful career as writers for print (scores of guidebooks, including many first editions, and hundreds of stories for magazines, newspapers etc), we also run a popular blog, do online work (at the moment we’re doing a series of long-form narratives and video clips for the site of an Australian broadcaster) and we’re writing a cookbook. Writers who leave our retreat should be able to make their retreat costs back by publishing a few stories – and we’ll tell them how to do that.

      If you look at it that way, as has been said below, it’s really an investment and if you made the right choice about which retreat to do, and which is right for you, then it should be a good investment that pays off.

  • Liz says:

    Great list 🙂 I missed quite a few of these though (darn it!). Do you happen to have any other recommendations for retreats in Autumn/Winter?

  • Laura Ell says:

    For those of you who are disappointed that they missed the past retreats, there is an amazing writers retreat coming up August 8-15, 2015 at the award-winning Jungle Bay Dominica which has been named among the top retreat properties in the world by Conde Nast Traveler magazine and Huffington Post:

    Unleash Your Creative Power Writing Retreat
    August 8-15
    Jungle Bay Dominica (in the Eastern Caribbean)
    email: retreats@focis.life

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