Writing Retreats

Overdue for some quality time with your muse?

Rekindle your relationship on a writing retreat with me.

Whether your writing gathers dust on the “someday” shelf or you’ve been elbows-deep in word count and copy for a while, your creativity deserves a few days at the center of your universe.

Come away with a small group of writers and their writing coach to luxuriate in the experience of being a writer who writes in the company of other writers who speak their language.

Honor your creativity.
Draw inspiration from a new environment.
Draft off the energy of the people around you who are equally enthralled by writing.
Spark the beginnings of deep and meaningful connections with other writers.

I host several writing retreats every year, most in Northern California
where we have an abundance of choice within a few hours of the San Francisco Bay Area,
from the coast to the wine country, farmland to foothills, deep lakes to high mountain tops, and more.

I specialize in boutique experiences for groups of six to ten writers. My retreats are designed with individual personalities in mind and the intimacy of small group dynamics at heart.

At my retreats, I balance individual attention with group engagement. I provide plenty of room for work and play in a safe, nonjudgmental space. I want you to know that in one of my writing retreats, you belong exactly where you are, exactly as you are, and we just wouldn’t be the same without you.

Each retreat is a safe space because I believe in (and have witnessed) the power of safe spaces to invite access to deeper expression and stimulate new levels of creativity in all kinds of people.

I do this for the thrills. I find it thrilling to witness the beginnings of great stories and meaningful progress on WIPs in action. Even more exciting is when a blocked writer breaks through from stuck to flow and gets to wallow in the amazing feeling of being a writer who writes again.

Sure, you can do a writing retreat on your own — and I encourage you to do so, if you can’t make it to one of my retreats — but when you add other people to the mix, you add layers and dimension to your experience, which can’t help but add layers and dimension to your writing.

The most popular and best writing retreat for newbies is the Write on the Rails retreat we embark on twice a year, once in the summer and once at the top of November.
Click below to check it out.


Pre-Requisites for Newbies

1. Participation in at least three To Live & Write activities. Free online choices include Write Along – offered multiple times a week, and Proof of Write – offered weekly.

2. Zoom chat with the coach (hey! that’s me!) before making a deposit or payment.

For more information or to set this up, email [email protected].


Our Typical Writing Retreat

~ Itinerary ~

My retreats are boutique experiences, meaning small groups of 6-12 people. I keep them small for the sake of personal attention and the ability to customize the experience. Every retreat has a different group dynamic, but this is the basic structure.
Appropriate modifications are made for the Write on the Rails retreats, but it’s close.

Friday Afternoon Check In

Arrive at the retreat location. Meet your fellow writers, settle into your room, explore the house and surroundings.

Find space in the kitchen for your food
– every writer gets their own shelf in the fridge and a cupboard or pantry. Snacks to share live in a designated area. No one goes hungry, but no one eats anyone else’s food without permission.

The first afternoon and evening are pretty laid back. Different writers want to get into the retreat mindset in different ways and in their own time.  Disconnecting from work and family can be challenging for some, but super easy for others. This casual treatment of time accommodates almost everyone.

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Evening Meal

Gathering at the table to share a meal is a great way to close out a long day of writing, form and deepen connections with other writers, and reflect on your progress with people who understand what you’re talking about. 

Evening meals are a group effort. We do them Stone Soup style, meaning every writer contributes a protein or side dish (there’s a spreadsheet for this). Every writer will also be expected to help prepare the food or clean up the mess each night, no exceptions. 

You can abstain from eating with us if you need to eat at a different time, but you cannot abstain from joining us at the table; this gathering is mandatory.

Evening Meal is about community building and shared experience at the retreat.

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Morning Meeting – 900am

Saturday and Sunday begin with Morning Meeting. This is a mandatory activity. It’s where early risers and late bloomers come together to being the day.

Morning Meetings are for being heard and listening to others as we all map out the day and set goals and intentions for ourselves and our writing.

Writers are welcome to eat and drink tea or coffee before, after, or during Morning Meeting, but are not allowed to prepare food or drink, write, or use phones or laptops while it’s in session.  Breakfast is up to you, meaning you bring your own breakfast food. Sharing does happen at most retreats, but not all, so don’t rely on it.

This gathering is a great way to start the day feeling inspired, motivated, and like there’s enough interest in what you’re doing to hold you gently but firmly accountable to what you have said you will do.

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Morning Session 930am-100pm

Morning Session begins when Morning Meeting ends. Your job is to write. My job is to pay attention to your stated goals and intentions and figure out how best to serve you on your writing retreat.

My role includes making sure you start strong, keep you on track, check in with you regularly, be available to bounce ideas off, and meet with you 1:1 if you need personalized, focused support.

I have several years of tricks up my sleeve to do all of this for you and using them to your benefit is one of my favorite things to do on the planet. 

Depending on the needs of the group, we may do a morning workshop, an all-day workshop, or a full day of independent writing.

Morning Session is more interactive than Afternoon Session, but you are welcome to separate from the group to write privately.

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Afternoon Session – 300-600pm

Afternoon Session begins after a midday break where you are encouraged to take a walk or take a nap, eat food, drink a lot of water, and step away from writing for a couple of hours. While I conduct 1:1 sessions with the writers who want them, you move back into flow and spend a lovely few hours working on your WIP without (much) interruption.

I make it a point to check in on each writer to acknowledge progress, readjust goals if necessary, provide feedback, and otherwise help everyone stay focused and feeling accomplished.

Reminder: Lunch is BYO food and beverage. Often, the shared snack table offers a variety of options, but keep in mind that you and the other writers donate to this set-up, with no obligation on anyone’s part to do so. Make sure you bring enough food for yourself. 

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Proof of Write – 900pm

Proof of Write is a To Live & Write tradition that goes back to 2020. Every member of our writing community is welcome to join the Friday night Zooms to share 5 minutes of what they wrote that week.

Proof of Write on retreat is in person and exclusively for the writers in the room — which is the whole group because this is the third and final mandatory activity of the day. 

Proof of Write is a safe space. What we share is rough, raw, and not ready for critique. We provide positive feedback and do no damage. This means that even if you are diametrically opposed to another writer’s content, you have to keep it to yourself. We are all vulnerable together. Be kind.

Proof of Write is about encouragement. We listen for what the writer has done well and comment on that, ignoring what still needs work; they will edit later.

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Remaining 2024 Retreats

Write on the Rails ~ Spring Retreat

June 14-17: FULL

Friday: Write on the train

Saturday & Sunday: Write at The Peppermill Reno (and swim in the pools)

Monday: Write on the train

Write on the Rails June

Write on the Rails ~ NaNoWriMo Retreat

November 1-4: Filling up fast!

Friday: Write on the train

Saturday & Sunday: Write at The Peppermill Reno

Monday: Write on the train

NaNoWriMo participation is optional (you are invited to set your own goals).

Most popular retreat.

Write on the Rails November

Write on the Waves ~ Private Retreat

August 9-11

Friday: Sail aboard a Catamaran to an undisclosed anchorage in the vicinity of the San Francisco Bay Area. Write.

Saturday & Sunday: Split writing time between the sea and the shore.

Monday: Sail home. 

Under Construction: New Retreat

November 8-10 or 11

Venue local to the San Francisco Bay Area

More info coming soon.

Past Retreats

Write to Reno ~ November 2017
Write in the Woods ~ June 2018
Write by the Waves ~ September 2018
Write on the Rails ~ November 2018
Write in Scottsdale ~ Private ~ June 2019
Write on the Mountaintop ~ July 2019
Write on the Rails ~ November 2019
Write in the Snow ~ February 2020
Write by the Pool ~ July 2021
Write at the Resort ~ August 2021
Write in the Wetlands ~ January 2022
The Serial Collective Retreat ~ April 2022
Spring Writing Retreat ~ June 2022
Write by the Lake ~ August 2022
Write by the Lake ~ September 2022
Write on the Rails ~ October 2022
Write by the River ~ Private ~ March 2022
Write in Windsor ~ Private ~ May 2023
Write on the Rails ~ June 2023
Write on the Rails ~ November 2023
Write in Windsor ~ Private ~ May 2024
Write on the Rails ~ June 2024