NEKLogoSmallThe Writers’ Retreat Newsletter

July 2013, Volume 13, No 3


In This Issue









Upcoming workshops and clinics:


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



Next e-newsletter:  Members of the network may submit an article of 650 words to be published in our e-newsletter. Please send it to


This electronic newsletter is compiled from information sent to The Writers' Retreat. Publishing a text/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!




Greetings from Micheline


Happy Summer writing, everyone! 


Summer is officially here, and those long lazy days are not conducive to dedicated quality writing time - or are they?

As a writer, I feel this is a good time to change my work schedule and adapt to the season in a way that allows me to maintain and even boast productivity.

Around this time a couple of years ago, the weather was hot and instead of holing up in a dark office with only my computer screen for light, I chose the beach - a four-hour drive from home. I checked the weather in Maine, printed my first draft, and packed my car with camping gear to stay within my tight budget.

By noon, I had my toes in the sand listening to the sound of splashing waves. Energized and inspired by the vibrant life around me, I spent the rest of that day under a parasol contentedly focused on my writing project. I reviewed, re-wrote, and self-edited that first draft by hand - yes, with a pen! Back home two days later, I updated the manuscript on my computer and generated another printout for my next beach getaway.

I made four trips that summer and by the time the cool autumn nights returned, my final version was ready for the editor. I never thought I would have such a good time writing my first book! Although there were moments of difficulty, the process was also refreshing and inspiring because of the way I did it.  And I plan to renew the experience with my 2nd book this summer!

It's that season again, time to play catch, jump off a dock into the lake, weekend at the beach or plan a mountain hike. Summer is here and I hope you all find it an enjoyable one. As always, have fun and keep writing! Remember, just because we say we are "working" on our writing projects doesn't mean that it actually has to feel like work.

Visit the retreats around the world at and book your own retreat soon.


Micheline Côté, The Writers’ Retreat.


Congratulations and welcome to Jacquelyn Schuman, on-site mentor, for opening a new retreat in Bostic, North Carolina.


The Deer Mountain Writer's Retreat is located in Bostic, North Carolina and situated on seven acres. Jacquelyn Schuman is a college nursing professor, and when she is not teaching she's writing. She's a member of the Florida Writer's Association, has written a fiction novel and currently working on her second novel along with her first children's book.


For more information, please contact Jacquelyn Schuman or The Writers’ Retreat at Bostic, North Carolina.


A warm welcome to Karen Walasek, on-site mentor at the retreat in Pulaski, Tennessee.


The Hillhouse Writers’ Retreat is a 34-acre sustainable farm nestled in the hills of Tennessee in the hometown of Southern Agrarian writer John Crowe Ransom (of the Fugitive Poet fame alongside William Penn Warren).


Karen Walasek’s relationship with animals interweaves throughout her creative work and practical life. Appropriately the first story she ever published “Is your Pet a Spiritual Weathervane?” (Earth to God, Come in Please..., 1991) explores the metaphysical side to these relations. She is the Fiction Editor at Elohi Gadugi Journal and writes a blog about radical motherhood

For more information, please contact
Karen Walasek via e-mail at or The Writers’ Retreat in Pulaski, Tennessee

We are also delighted to welcome Elizabeth Tillar, on-site mentor, for opening a new retreat in Tamworth, New Hampshire.


The retreat is located in Tamworth, New Hampshire, a village with spectacular mountain scenery, quaint shops and cafes, and a library within walking distance. The Lakes Region and White Mountains offer plenty of winter and summer outdoor activities with easy access to nearby towns and villages.


In addition to teaching university students for more than 25 years, Elizabeth Tillar has written and edited fiction and numerous scholarly articles and books, Elizabeth is available for consultations and editing during the writer's stay. She has a M.A. Creative Writing from the University of New Mexico in 1983.


For more information, please contact Elizabeth Tillar via e-mail at or The Writers’ Retreat at Tamworth, New Hampshire.




By Kathleen Hegedus


Congratulations, you’ve set aside some time (a week, a month, or more) and booked yourself into a writer’s retreat. Finally, some uninterrupted time to focus on your writing! Before you start packing, there are a few things you can do to ensure you’ll have a successful writing experience.


First, set a goal – a clearly articulated goal, such as finish the manuscript. Or, perhaps several smaller goals, such as daily word-counts, or polish the first three chapters, or strengthen the character traits of your protagonist. Having clearly defined goals help you to gauge your progress and motivates you to stay on task.


Second, create a schedule. It can be flexible, but it’s helpful to have an idea about how you want your day to be organized. How many hours a day do you want to write? Are you more creative in the morning, the afternoon, or the evening? Are you also planning to do some online research? Schedule that apart from your dedicated writing time. Be sure to include some physical exercise to keep yourself alert and energized. Perhaps the retreat has bicycles available or access to other activities. You may not have enough time every day, but some days it might be nice to step out for a cultural activity, like visiting a nearby town, historical site, or art gallery. These outings can also fuel your creativity.


Third, take advantage of the literary services your retreat offers. These vary greatly from one retreat to another. Some are highly interactive, making use of workshops you can register for and other writers you can interact with. Others are much more reclusive, where you have the opportunity to work independently, but may still have access to literary consultations either on site or by email. Often, some of these services are included in your retreat fee so don’t miss the opportunity to learn from others.


Finally, remember to reward yourself. You’ve probably chosen a retreat that is in a beautiful location. After you’ve put in the hours of hard work writing, treat yourself to that walk on the beach, that swim in the pool, or that fresh seafood dinner with your toes in the sand, watching the moon’s reflection over the waves with a margarita in your hand.


Have a successful and enjoyable retreat!


Kathleen Hegedus is the retreat operator for Casa Larimar on Cabarete beach. Even you are not able to visit Casa Larimar in the beautiful Dominican Republic, you can inquire about our literary services via e-mail at for help with your writing project.


For more information, please contact Kahleen T Hegedus-Beeksma at or The Writers’ Retreat in Cabarete, Dominican Republic


By Suzan Erem


The greatest struggle for writers, especially women, is making writing a priority. It’s easy to find men in history who found time to write. Hemingway went through a few wives in aid of his addictions, including writing. Henry Miller lived on thin air and the good will of his friends while pounding out his tropics and trilogies.


If the movies are any indication, the last women who hired people to raise their kids so they’d have time to write died with Victorian England. Today’s woman wants it all – career, children, spouse. That’s tough competition for something as “selfish” as writing. We are the caretakers after all. We’re here for our loved ones. Our day jobs, if we’re lucky, are where we can find fulfillment.


But what if you must write? If you wake up every morning wondering if you’ll find time to write, and go to bed wondering how you’ll ever find time to write, you’re in trouble. This is not, as they say these days, sustainable.


What to do?


First, wrap your head around the idea that your mental health is important. When you are happy and fulfilled, you have more of yourself to give those you care about. When you are resentful and angry, that’s all you have to offer. Figure this out and the rest is easy.


Second, once you know your needs are important, your writing becomes important. Let it compete fairly with your other priorities. Think about that. Your writing is just as important as, say, your job, or cheering your kids on at their basketball games or cuddling with your spouse.


Third, apply solutions from other parts of your life to your writing. Who watches the kids when you have to work late? What’s for supper when there’s no time to shop? Those same solutions apply to writing time. Ask for help from friends and neighbors. Take shortcuts on a meal now and then. Let someone else help with the homework one night a week. Turn off the TV!


Fourth, don’t look for other things that will occupy that time, and if they show up, don’t let them in. Once you’ve scraped away an hour or two to write, sit down and do it. If you have to leave the house, do that. If you can’t find any privacy, take over the bathroom or the basement. It might mean staring at a blank page the entire time, but that’s OK. Gathering wool is permitted, so long as you’re not pretending to gather wool while doing the dishes or laundry or driving to work. That’s not writing. It’s rationalizing about writing.


Finally, if you’ve discovered that writing is what you must do, invest in your craft – a conference, workshop or yes, week or two at a writer’s retreat. Working writers know this kind of investment is crucial if we want to hone our craft. Time away can give you the opportunity to hear your own voice, or enough time to finish (or finally abandon) a project you started years ago. It can be a time when you decide for yourself whether you’re a writer or not. What could be more important?


“Life isn’t a first draft,” someone once said. This is your life. Remember to let yourself become the person you were meant to be.


Suzan Erem is author of Do I Want to be a Mom? A Woman’s Guide to the Decision of a Lifetime, and several other books, magazine, newspaper and journal articles. She invites men and women to come hone their writing at Draco Hill, 80 acres of rolling prairie, timber and river valley in eastern Iowa.


Contact Suzan Erem at or see more about The Writers' Retreat in Iowa City, Iowa.



By Tamra J. Higgins


In the northern beauty of Vermont, you can join other poets to discuss poetry, share your work, receive feedback, and muse over new creations. Included in this idyllic workshop setting are four gourmet meals and the chance to read your work at a community reading at our local art gallery.


Located on forty-six acres in beautiful north-central Vermont, SPR offers two-day workshops on particular themes in poetry. For the fall 2013 session, these include Introduction to Poetry, Nature Poetry, and Narrative Poetry. During each workshop, you will discuss poetic elements, share your work, give and receive feedback (sharing and feedback are optional for the Introduction to Poetry workshop), and partake in poetry writing exercises. Delicious catered meals (lunches and dinners) are sure to keep you energized and are included with the cost of the workshop. Time is built into the program to enjoy the outdoors, whether it is getting some physical exercise or sitting and reflecting by the pond. You may also partake in an optional public reading at a fine arts gallery in our quaint Vermont village.


Choose from four two-day workshops offered this summer and fall by Sundog Poetry Retreat, LLC.  Themes include: Introduction to Poetry (August 9 and 10), The Poetry of Nature (September 13 and 14), Narrative Poetry (October 4 and 5) and a newly added Poetry and Loss (November 8 and 9). To learn more about Sundog Poetry Retreat, go to Sundog Poetry Retreat  or e-mail Tamra J. Higgins, owner, Sundog Poetry Retreat at We are located in Jeffersonville, Vermont, 45 minutes drive from Burlington Vermont, two hours from Montreal, and four hours from Boston. I look forward to seeing you in Vermont!


The Writers' Retreat    ----    ----

You may forward this link / newsletter to a friend