NEKLogoSmallThe Writers’ Retreat Newsletter

January 2013, Volume 13, No 1


In This Issue







Upcoming workshops and clinics:


To enroll in a workshop of your choice, please browse our Workshop Page at



Next e-newsletter:  The deadline for submissions to the next edition of the e-newsletter is April 10, 2013. Please send your announcement in text format to


This electronic newsletter is compiled from information sent to TWR. Listing an item does not constitute an endorsement. Please check with the individual organization/retreat for accuracy of dates, times, submission criteria, etc.


Shape your Vision into Reality with The Writers' Retreat!




The Thirst for Quiet in 2013!


In today's fast-paced, high-speed connected, smart-phone addicted culture, it's becoming more and more difficult to find quiet. As a rule, we lead loud lives. The noise of the everyday frequently drowns out the gentle whispers of our creative voice.


For artists and writers, maintaining a balanced, healthy lifestyle becomes even more challenging. Many are on the brink of putting an X on that project. Without significant positive change, some talented or hardworking writers will drift away from their project. Does this describe you?


Do you ever just long to:

Take a quiet walk and breathe in the fresh air?

Engage in an authentic, unhurried conversation with your characters?

Sit by a stream or an ocean and read a good book?

Write and rewrite a new version of your work without pressure?

Spend some unforgettable moments rediscovering your true desires?


Are you ready for a change in 2013? The mentors and retreat operators at The Writers’ Retreat are ready to help! We invite you to take the first step, contact one of the retreat hosts today, and find out how they can be part of your 2013 goals and desires. Go to and search for the appropriate retreat.

We’ve come to that point of the New Year, time to reflect on what we’ve achieved in 2012. First, I want to express my deepest thanks and admiration to all members of The Writers’ Retreat network who have helped make this year a success to many writers. I’d also like to thank you—our writers, readers and residents—because your presence makes our work with the writing community so worthwhile.

So, in that spirit, we’re raising a glass to you all for the year 2013! It’s going to be a terrific year—have an inspiring writing journey!

Micheline Côté, The Writers’ Retreat.


We are proud to announce the opening of a first writing retreat in Southern California, and delighted to welcome Terri Zumstein, your host.


The Southern California Desert retreat is located in the desert at Borrego Springs, two hours from San Diego. The spacious nature retreat features three writing studios, magical gardens with flowers & fruit trees, pool and plenty of private areas to work, relax or gather with residents. Included in the rates are breakfast & lunch. Printout of your book, book cover design, binding and editing available on-site.


Terri Zumstein, retreat operator and author, has just completed her first novel. She is a former TWA stewardess and recently spent the last year writing a novel to be published early 2013. She also owns a printing service center in San Diego.


To find out more or to secure your space, please contact Terri via e-mail at or The Writers’ Retreat in Borrego Springs, California.



By Adilah Barnes


I am always excited when a new writer arrives at my Writer’s Well retreat in Georgia!


My guests offer diversity of ethnicity, age, or genre of writing. Writers have included those working on memoirs, one-woman plays, screenplays, academic nonfiction books, and one was even completing a children’s pictorial book based on her mother.


I already have a sense of each writer prior to arrival because we have initially spoken at length by telephone and each has completed an application that I review. The application includes both vital information, as well as snapshots of their genre of writing, writing habits, challenges, strengths, target readers, and ultimate aspirations. It is important that we both feel my retreat is going to be a match for them, especially since I offer an intimate environment designed for self-motivated female writers.


After each writer has settled in, we start out by sitting down to set his or her goals for their stay—be it a few days, a week, or even a month. In this orientation, writers define for themselves in very specific terms how they plan to achieve their goals in measurable objectives. (i.e., what they will be working on, how many hours per day, a work schedule, etc.)


This year I began to include daily sensory exercises to jumpstart the writing process. The exercise is especially enjoyed by those who need a tangible start each day with a clearly defined beginning, middle, and end. The exercise is only one page so the writers will not become distracted from the writing they have come to explore for their stay. Interestingly enough, some writers have actually incorporated their daily writing exercises into their projects, particularly if they are working on memoirs and autobiographies.


Writers are encouraged to have a balanced experience by eating a healthy Continental breakfast, which is included. They are invited to take breaks to ride one of the bicycles, walk the property that spans 1.8 acres of land, walk around the subdivision neighborhood, and to allow time away from the computer in some way to refresh, reflect, and release.


I am one who enjoys and appreciates beauty and to that end, I provide such simple pleasures as flowers, candles, and incense in their studios. The aromatherapy fragrances throughout The Writer’s Well strongly activate the sense of smell.


Since my guests tend to be self-directed, our time together over occasional meals allows for time to socialize, process the work, and take a much-needed break from the solitary work of a writer.


The Writer’s’ Well also offers The Serenity Room. This open space with soft pillows and a sound system allows the writer to use this room as she chooses. Some have used the space for yoga, exercise, meditation, singing, and dancing. Some simply sit on a pillow and gaze out the bay windows as they inhale the beauty of the maple, oak, and Georgia pine trees that face them. One sang her heart out whenever she was alone at the retreat.


Ritualistically, the final night before leaving, the writers, caretaker, and I go into The Serenity Room and dance to music. Many are feeling torn about leaving and this allows us a moment of gaiety. We have even danced to upbeat soul music that includes James Brown!


The stay ends with an entry in The Writer’s Well’s guest book. It is such a treasure to have recorded entries from women from around the United States and as far away as Ghana and Puerto Rico. I often see my guests thumbing through the pages reading the entries of others permanently left behind before they leave their own mark. I also relish reading afterward how the experience has influenced each guest.


I am always humbled that for a short time, The Writer’s Well has been a part of a writer’s creative journey!


You can reach Adilah Barnes by e-mail at or visit her website at (Georgia location).



By Inge Bremer


A family organization hiatus of nearly a decade had caused a writer’s block. Staying at Ora Ora Retreat, our guest happily unfolded her creative skills and sharply analytical resources and wrote two short stories and ten chapters of her novel—nonstop.


Hosts Inge and Rolf talked about some of their experiences in East Asia, which seemed to help the writer. The guest’s private chalet and the Lord of the Rings river walk from the garden gate also seemed to inspire her. Both parties enjoyed the convivial time together.


Views of the beautiful subtropical permaculture gardens that provided vegetables for meals also seemed to have supported the unblocking of the writer's mind allowing her to concentrate on the subject.


Sometimes, the time at Ora Ora just sets fresh creativity free, indulgence to have the time for you to vent new ideas to appreciative listeners, or take note of the new developments and reflect on them. Occasional shared meals, activities, and excursions provide an opportunity to avoid isolation without limiting the privacy required for constructive writing.


It might be well worth your while to try out our little piece of paradise.


Inge Bremer operates Ora Ora Retreat, Kerikeri/Bay of Islands, New Zealand. To reach Inge, please send an e-mail to



By Terri Zumstein


A long career as a book printer, my one unfulfilled wish was to become a writer. I printed so many books for authors and secretly wished to pen one of my own one day. Easier said than done, that’s for sure. I wrote poetry in high school and was the recipient of awards, so I had confidence that I’d be able to produce a self-help book. Since “someday” is a word that’s just another word for “never,” I took positive steps toward the realization of my goal. I decided to get my feet wet with a simple book of quotations. I designed a cover, drew the interior illustrations, and completed the quotes for each illustration. The title is Canned Advice for Living & Loving. A novel would be my next undertaking. I came up with a title, did the cover design, and wrote a very rough draft.

Then I was deadlocked, so I decided to seek a location that would be more conducive to the writing experience. I semi-retired from my book printing company and let my son take the helm. I soon found myself living in paradise in the Anza-Borrego Desert of Southern California. The estate I purchased had every luxury amenity one could want. The grounds were fertile with citrus trees and flowering bougainvillea. Fountains graced the front entrance and poolside in the backyard. I placed tables and chairs throughout the extensive property. I had four bedrooms, each with different views, a living area with floor-to-ceiling windows that provided a vista of the outdoors, and a gourmet kitchen outfitted with a cappuccino machine built into the wall. My own little Starbucks had sprung to life. This secluded luxury estate is a writer’s dream. There is no need to go anywhere for anything. I began to write. I traveled from one bedroom to the next, from one area outside to another. The daunting task of writing a novel became a joy. Bam! I did it! After rounds of editing, a book was born, The Stewardess Diaries.

I sought out to include my place in the pool with others. I wanted writers to come and experience what I had experienced. I even tested the waters, so to speak, by offering to allow three authors whose books my company prints, come to stay for two weeks to work on their new novels. Their success was identical to mine. We all decided there is magic in these walls and on the grounds. (I learned this site was an Indian burial ground many moons ago.) Perhaps their spirits are alive and well!

Because I print for self-publishers, I’m able to offer several benefits, such as a digital press on-site to print your book out as you go along. I can design a cover, print what pages you have done, and bind it into a book. You can carry it around and even fall asleep with it if you wish. My niche in my company was book cover design and formatting, so I can help you with those tasks. I don’t charge for any of these services. When you finish your book, I’ll print and perfect bind fifty black and white books with a color cover for no charge. I know the feeling of seeing your book hot off the presses that has your name in big bold letters on the cover. My desire is to be an instrument for aspiring and experienced authors in their creative process. I’m in the printing business because I love it. It isn’t work. It’s a hobby with benefits.

Look for workshops at the retreat this year presented by a retired Random House executive. For information on this southern California desert retreat, contact Terri at   or call (619) 234-8797 or visit her website at (Borrego Springs, California location).




The Writers’ Retreat Network provides the perfect source for retreat operators to maximize their visibility; our network provides an efficient way to reach the right people – writers and authors.


Join our network today and reach 2,000+ subscribers with the publication of your article in our April issue. Reserve your space now, our deadline is April 10. To assist you in setting up a retreat, please read a few pages of our guidebook A Writers’ Retreat: Starting from Scratch to Success!  at The book is available in print, e-book, and audio formats. For more information, send us an e-mail at       


The Writers' Retreat    ----    ----

You may forward this link / newsletter to a friend