NEKLogoSmallThe Writers’ Retreat Newsletter

January 2010, Volume 10, No 1


In This Issue










Escaping from your busy, over-stressed everyday work world and journeying to powerful, soothing, and exciting destinations around the world. Our retreats, guaranteed to ...

-   Renew your body, mind and spirit

-   Ignite your imagination

-   Revitalize your vision and passion

-   Empower your mindset and thinking


Featured retreat LOCATIONS:

Craftsbury, Vermont
Folly Beach, South Carolina
Ojochal, Costa Rica
Sharpsburg, Georgia
Stanstead, Quebec, Canada
The Spring Creek Retreat of Macungie, Pennsylvania

To contact a retreat directly,
please go to our Web Site home page at to browse them all.

You will be able to contact the on-site mentor by sending a question or reservation with the online form.





The wealth of experience • The sharing of knowledge

Imagine how powerful your writing can be when it gathers with thousands of others. Imagine the power that we each possess if we decide to use the power of words. Imagine the power of knowledge when shared and discussed. Imagine a writers’ retreats network that is defined by its leaders’ interests and passions. Imagine a network of mentors for whom personal and professional development is exquisitely exciting… a network of people who discuss their creativity, accomplishments, success and happiness. Imagine the sharing of inspirational experiences... Imagine writing that metamorphoses, spreads its wings and spans the planet.




In the same way that Nature transforms the butterfly, your writing has the power to transform those touched by it.

Join The Writers’ Retreat and discover a world of workshops, training and discussions led by your preferred instructors/mentors, authors and speakers. Seize the opportunity to create a forum of expression and witness change as you would never before have imagined.

One word after another, your writing becomes a magic wand. Communicate and, for one moment, stop and think about the incredible number of people that your wand can reach, bring together, touch and perhaps even transform.

- Micheline Côté, The Writers’ Retreat.

Shape your Vision into Reality with The Writers' Retreat! 



Catastrophic events often remind us of the comfort which we take for granted or the lack of compassion for the rest of the world. Words for Haiti gives this poem to the world in an attempt to remind you that there is a world beyond our own. May our words linger on in the minds of the apathetic, causing a stench that demands the attention of those who choose to look away.

Words for Haiti is a concept organized by Jason Mars carried out by some of the most talented poets of this generation. As poets our words carry life, our words guide readers to truths hidden behind facades. This site features a POEM concocted by poets from many different backgrounds who recognize the effectiveness of their voices.                  – Jason Mars



By Mary Ann Henry


Let’s face it: we writers spend our entire lives working on our craft. For those of us who have come late to the game, we spend the entire rest of our lives working on it. So the question goes begging: can a person actually learn something about writing in a weekend workshop? The short answer is: it depends on the person and on the workshop.


As a mentor and writing teacher, I have observed a variety of writers: all ages, shapes, sizes, temperament and interest and ability levels. The writers who seem to get the most from a workshop are those who arrive with an open-mind. They bring an attitude that suggests that they know that the onus for learning is on them. They seem to accept that a workshop leader can only lead the writer to the literary trough, so to speak, and it’s up to them to decide whether they’re going to take a tentative sip or a long, cool drink. To add a slaughtered simile to my murdered metaphor, the successful workshop participant is like a successful therapy patient: they go into each session with a willingness to be manipulated. They’ve already done the really hard work: they’ve acknowledged that there’s more for them to learn and they‘re open to trying a new approach. And they know that if any miracles are to happen, they’ll begin with small steps. But those small steps are the most important. 


I received a call from a writer the other day who is interested in an upcoming Short Story Boot Camp workshop. She said that she’d been talking about ‘becoming a writer’ for most of her life and an anonymous person sent her the information. At first she was insulted because she felt that someone was challenging her for being all talk and no walk. Then, she embraced the concept behind the workshop: that of starting and actually finishing a short story in a weekend.  We talked about how hard it is to take those first steps; to put ourselves out there. We spoke of how brave we have to be to believe in ourselves as writers. She added that she “expected and wanted” me to be tough with her, to not let her get away with not getting the job done. I assured her that, while she would not have to get down and give me twenty push-ups, I would take my job as the group facilitator and teacher seriously. I know that when she arrives, she’ll do well because she’s already doing the psychological work. And she’s bringing the f-word that makes or breaks a good workshop experience: focus.  She’s already focused on her goal. And even though she feels some trepidation, her enthusiasm will carry her here, to Folly Beach, and then back home where she will be more likely to meet with success. 


A colleague of mine who teaches workshops is famous for saying, “If one person thinks I’m God and someone else thinks I’m the devil and everyone else learns one thing, then I feel successful.” I don’t think it’s quite that cut and dried. I think that sometimes writers are simply ready for the next piece of the puzzle and they can get that piece in one weekend. Other times, it’s more about growing in self-perception. Being around other writers and comparing one’s work can help to facilitate that, too. The most important thing a writer can take to the workshop is an openness; a willingness to feel the fear and write anyway. And, yes, when a writer arrives with that kind of an attitude, much can be learned in a weekend.


Mary Ann Henry, M.Ed., will be teaching three workshops this spring: Writing Is Good for the Soul: Exploring the Connection Between Spirituality and Creativity; Short Story Boot Camp (The No-Experience Necessary Writers Workshop, and Fiction Writers Workshop: Focusing on the Elements of Fiction. 


Mary Ann can be reached at The Writers’ Retreat in Folly Beach, South Carolina at or by telephone at 843 437-1934. 




By Lynda Stear


We writers have all heard, “Write what you know.”  But, I say, “Write what you have a passion for!” 


My fiction professor told me years ago that when I wrote anything with a medical theme or had a nurse as the main character, it was some of my better writing.  Not only did I have first hand knowledge, but my characters came alive, imagery resonated, and consequently, more reader interest.


Yes, we take assignments for money or byline, and when duty calls, we write whether our heart is in it or not.  But, consider this, first write about what really interests you, and then find the market.


Some years ago, I was working in labor and delivery, and not only did I have a current knowledge base for this specialty area at the time, but I also had a new-found interest in HIV/AIDS.  The combination worked, and I had an article accepted by a nursing journal about preinatal patients (before delivery) with AIDS. 


The follow up to this more research-based article was a short piece in another nursing periodical about one of my patients who died of AIDS at the age of nine. It was accepted for publication, and I only had to change one word. 


I found my voice in the nurse character.  I am wired to look at life through my senses with a more global perspective and have the need to find the character’s moral compass in my writing.  So my character can say, “This is what I see; this is what I feel; this is what I hear; so this is how I am going to get you through your life dilemma, and in the end, the character will have a life-changing revelation to be able to move on.


However, if you are wired to see life in slices or in little pieces, and you are more linear in your way of seeing and dealing with the world, then your passion might be to write the “How to book” with lots of details and sequential steps toward the outcome. Or, you might be like an Emily Dickenson and should write about that buzzing fly or the murmur of a bee, because you have a passion for the minutia in life.


Think outside of your own perception of yourself, and let go of notions of what you think you ought to write and write about what drives you – your passion! 


If you have no imagination, and never have, then fiction is not for you. Real life circumstances might be your passion rather than flying saucers and space stations.


Is your writing safe, because you do not want to write the passion you felt about having to deal with an abusive parent whom you could incorporate into a fiction or nonfiction piece and find some resolution?  Do you continue to edit, because you have never thought that you could write something that people would read.  Let go of your comfort zone and write with untapped passion in 2010! 


To reach Lynda Stear at The Spring Creek Retreat in Macungie, Pennsylvania, please go to or send an e-mail to







October 6-7, 2010: Script Consultant Clinic (see

October 8-10, 2010: Screenwriting Clinic: Making a Good Script Great

Cost:  $800+

Location: Cascade, Colorado

Register online on our workshop page at or

Email Linda Seger



February 26-28, 2010: Writing Is Good for the Soul

March 26-28, 2010: Short Story Boot Camp: The No-Experience Necessary Writers Workshop

April 30-May 2, 2010: Fiction Writers’ Workshop:  Exploring the elements of fiction

Cost:  $175; partial scholarships available.

Location: Foley Beach, South Carolina

Register online on our workshop page at or

Email Mary-Ann Henry



February 13, 20, 27, and March 6 and 13, 2010 from 9-11 a.m.:

The Lyric Essay: “What happens when an essay begins to behave less like an essay and more like a poem?”

Cost:  $95

Location: Morrisville, Vermont

Register online on our workshop page at or

Email Julia Shipley


To participate in a workshop, you will find the full description on the Workshops’ page at and the online registration form.




In case you missed our last missive, SPRING CREEK RETREAT of MACUNGIE in PENNSYLVANIA, United States will open to residents this May, and you may already write and secure your space.


The two-story home located in the Lehigh Valley near the cities of Allentown and historic Bethlehem faces an old farm house and Spring Creek Park. It accommodates one resident at the time. It offers a little bit of country for that “get-a-way” feeling, and enough city to enjoy local attractions and some of Pennsylvania’s finest university and college libraries. 


Location:  In Lehigh Valley, the retreat is a 2-hour drive from New York City, one hour from Philadelphia and a short commuter flight from Toronto, Canada.


On-site mentor: Lynda Stear. Lynda is a medical professional and freelance writer with a degree in creative writing. Her thirty years of writing includes nonfiction (medical, religious, and miscellaneous freelance), and creative writing (poetry and short story). Lynda is currently preparing several books for publication for the religious and cross-over market.


Go to Spring Creek Retreat of Macungie on our website or write to Lynda Stear to book your studio.



First, a residential retreat for writers differs from a B&B or Guesthouse establishment in a number of important respects. What is exactly a residential writers’ retreat? What natters for a successful retreat? What are the requirements to operate your own writers’ retreat, the criteria? Do you want to earn a living running a retreat or at least make a profitable venture out of it?


If you are looking for advice on the whole “setting up a retreat business” in your area or if you only need to improve the visibility of your established retreat, we’re here to help!


Some of the residential retreats for writers are located in beautiful natural settings where writers are pampered with good food, comfortable rooms, ample technology, and access to professional editors. Do you think you could replicate this with your limited budget and your own property? Of course, you can! And we’re here to guide you if you want to do it right the first time. We help people get started with the logistics of retreat all the way to success! We will even share our marketing strategies with you.


If you are ready to open your doors, please read the registration process online and post your retreat on our Web site at  Follow the link ADD YOUR RETREAT where you will enter all your retreat information and pictures.  Do not worry if you have started filling out the online form and you decide to postpone your decision, your retreat will not be published on the Internet until we review it and we approve it by sending you a confirmation. Also, keep in mind that you may join The Writers' Retreat network even if your retreat is not quite set up to officially open its doors to residents. A note will be posted on your Web page indicating your official opening date; it will allow writers to contact you for information and you will be able to accept reservations prior to your official opening.


We are excited by the growth of The Writers’ Retreat network, the possibilities of innovative literary projects, and by the prospect of serving more writers at more locations.  We welcome your participation in creating a broader choice for our community of writers.

Call us directly at 819-876-2065.  You may also send us an e-mail to


Happy Writing!


Micheline Côté, Executive Director

The Writers’ Retreat


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