"This weekend was exactly the jumpstart I needed. Having this time away from all my obligations was perfect. I wrote 25 new pages and made some really important decisions about my book. I gained new clarity and the momentum I need to continue. Thank you!"

—Cooper Gallegos, author of The Waterhauler

Online Work Weekend

Friday, August 5th-Sunday, August 7th, 2022
Three Full Days
Location: At Home with Intermittent Meetings on Zoom

Dear Writers,

If you keep promising yourself that you're going to dig deeper into your writing but can't seem to make the time or find the focus, my Writer’s Journey Work Weekend may be the perfect opportunity for you.

  • Do you find it hard to focus on your writing in your busy, daily life?
  • Do you ever wish you could carve out a serious chunk of time to dive deep into your creativity?
  • Do you wish you could spread out and accomplish a body of work that would help you move concretely toward your writing goals?
  • Would you like the support and inspiration of meeting with a group of writers who are as intent on their goals as you are on yours?
  • Do you have a writing project that is gnawing at you for time and attention?
  • Do you have an idea for a new project that you haven’t yet carved out the space to dream about or begin?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, this online work weekend will provide you with the conditions to work, to dive deep into your material, and to have long stretches to focus on meeting your writing goals.

ld-vv-peru-writers-last-class

Past work weekend students include memoir writers, novelists, fiction writers, essayists, cookbook writers, young adult writers, those writing as a tool for exploration and healing, and people compiling family histories. Some developed ideas for a new project, others did research, still others were deeply engrossed in the fourth draft of a manuscript or put together the promotional plan for a soon-to-be-launched book. But everyone had one thing is common: a great hunger to write and the desire to have sacred, uninterrupted time to dive deeply into the work of their choosing.

What most writers lack is time—and this weekend will help you designate and commit to taking that time. You will have the opportunity for real concentration amid a cohort of your peers who are all wholly focused on writing, and nothing but writing. Even though you will be writing in different locations, the fact that our whole group shares the same intention will help you keep to your goals for the weekend.

Even though you’ll be at home, your intention should be to treat this weekend as a retreat. You’ll be expected to block out the entire weekend from normal family, work, and community obligations. In between our periodic daily online meetings, you’ll be writing on your own: “writing” includes work at your desk, in your notebook or on your computer, brainstorming, research, noodling on a pad, as well as dreaming while walking, napping and other forms of introspection. Writing does not include caring for your kids, going out to dinner, watching TV, listening to news, going out to buy groceries, visiting friends, or participating in regular family life.

"The time, space and safety I experienced at this retreat were gifts beyond measure. I felt safe, nurtured and valued the whole time."

—Caroline Bliss-Isberg

Why an Online Work Weekend?

I’ve been offering these work weekends in person on a quarterly basis for years, primarily to serve my Santa Cruz-based students, but as we move into year three of this pandemic, with more uncertainty ahead, I’ve decided to offer an online version of this popular and productive work weekend that will help you accomplish the same goals while benefiting from the enthusiastic support of a community of writing peers.

The online version of the work weekend will offer the following additional benefits:

  • Safety and comfort. You’ll attend an inspiring, supportive retreat from the safety and comfort of your home.
  • Learning to create space for deep thought and creativity at home. You’ll practice setting boundaries with family, friends, work, social media, and anything else that gets in the way of achieving deep concentration and creative flow in your home environment.
  • A work strategy you can build on. You’ll develop and create an effective work style and environment that you’ll be able to maintain long after the retreat
  • Peace of mind. You’ll not have to worry if the retreat will be canceled due to a new Covid surge.
  • Affordability. You’ll not have to travel or pay for airline tickets or lodging.

"Thank you for creating a very secure environment where my goals were my own. There was no pressure, just a nurturing, warm, and encouraging environment. Everyone was kind, supportive, talented and funny. I got exactly what I needed."

—Simi Monheit

Here’s How the Online Retreat Will Be Structured:

Before the retreat occurs, I’ll send you strategies and guidance for preparing for a home retreat that will maximize your productivity and success.

Friday, the first morning of the retreat, we’ll meet on Zoom at 8:00 AM Pacific time (11:00 AM Eastern) for an initial check-in meeting. I’ll review ground rules for the weekend. Then, one at a time, participants will introduce themselves, outline their projects and specific goals for the weekend. I’ll ask questions, prod a little for clarification, and make some specific suggestions.

For the rest of the morning, writers will work in their own environment. They might be at home, sitting in a backyard shed, holed up in a friend’s extra bedroom, or renting a nearby Airbnb.

Each day, I’ll host an optional midday meeting that will provide anyone who wants it the chance to check in, troubleshoot stuck places, and connect with me and their fellow writers. We’ll fishbowl any issues that arise.

For the rest of the afternoon, writers will work alone.

Friday evening at 5:00 Pacific time/8:00 Eastern time, we’ll have a three-hour, all-group session. These evening meetings will provide the heart of our community time. Everyone will get to do a brief check in about the day’s work and then half the group will have more substantial time to share. People might read a couple of pages of their day’s work or ask a question of the group (brainstorming a title, discussing the hook of an opening scene, talk about writer’s block, etc.). I’ll offer feedback to each writer and others in the group will have the chance to chime in. I’ll ensure that each writer gets both encouragement and the type of feedback they need, appropriate to their level of experience and where they are in their project.

The same schedule will repeat Saturday—a brief morning check-in and goal-setting session, morning work alone, an optional midday meeting, afternoon work alone, and a second evening feedback session, where the other half of writers will have the chance to share their work.

Sunday will begin with a brief morning check-in and goal-setting meeting, morning work alone, optional midday meeting, and conclude with another evening feedback session. In the final feedback session, everyone will get a chance to share, and people will talk about their goals going forward.

writinggroup-revised11

Laser Coaching: In addition, each writer will get a 20-minute private, individual, laser, coaching session with me on Zoom or FaceTime. These consultations are optional and deal with whatever issue is uppermost on your mind. I might respond to a piece of your work, brainstorm a strategy for carving out time to write, or provide personalized prompts to help you get unstuck.

Optional Bonus Sessions: For those who have read my 2021 memoir The Burning Light of Two Stars, I’ll offer a half-hour question and answer session about how I wrote, constructed, published, and promoted the book.

Here's a sampling of what some of the participants had to say:

"Attending Laura’s digital work weekend helped me to take my writing to a deeper level. Laura is an exceptional writing teacher and an excellent facilitator. She held the group and created a sacred space for each of us to find our true writing voice. If this retreat was not online, I most likely could not have participated. One morning I stayed in my pyjamas and I wrote the best work of the weekend. Thank you Laura. Thank you for sharing your gift."

—Annie Rosenberg, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

"The digital work weekend blew me away! It kickstarted my confidence to write about my life. The safe and wakeful space Laura created, encouraged me deeply. Her advice was keen and fresh, sometimes surprising but always bang on.  It was also a gift to meet such a kind group of people."

—Pam Rubin, Nova Scotia, Canada

“Attending Laura's online writing "work weekend" was exactly what I needed--peaceful, protected time to immerse myself in writing, surrounded by a community of wonderful women, and led by a teacher and guide with just the right blend of support, perceptive feedback, humor, and warmth. I've already signed up for the next work weekend, and can't wait.”

—Toni Littlestone

Now That You See What You Can Accomplish, Why Don't You Join Us?

Next Writer's Online Work Weekend

Friday, August 5th-Sunday, August 7th, 2022

All Group Meeting Times:
PACIFIC TIME:
Friday: 8:00 AM first meeting; 5:00-8:00 PM all-group feedback session
Saturday: 8:00 AM first meeting; 5:00-8:00 PM all-group feedback session
Sunday: 8:00 AM first meeting; 5:00-8:00 PM final all-group session

MOUNTAIN TIME:
Friday: 9:00 AM first meeting; 6:00-9:00 PM all-group feedback session
Saturday: 9:00 AM first meeting; 6:00-9:00 PM all-group feedback session
Sunday: 9:00 AM first meeting; 6:00-9:00 PM final all-group session

CENTRAL TIME:
Friday: 10:00 AM first meeting; 7:00-10:00 PM all-group feedback session
Saturday: 10:00 AM first meeting; 7:00-10:00 PM all-group meeting
Sunday: 10:00 AM first meeting; 7:00-10:00 PM final meeting

EASTERN TIME:
Friday: 11:00 AM first meeting; 8:00-11:00 PM all-group feedback session<
Saturday: 11:00 AM first meeting; 8:00-11:00 PM all-group feedback session
Sunday: 11:00 AM first meeting; 8:00-11:00 PM final meeting

Limited to 14 participants

Fees: Cost for the weekend: $400

To Register . . .

Complete the form below to indicate your interest right away. Let me know about your project and what you’re hoping to accomplish. We’ll communicate via email or on the phone and your confirmation letter will inform you how to prepare and to make your payment.

The first $100 of your tuition is a non-refundable deposit. After July 22nd, refunds on your retreat balance can only be given if I can find someone to replace you. (Or if you find someone to replace you and I approve them).

I hope you decide to join us!

In service,
Laura

Name*
Do you want to sign up for the weekend of August 5th-7th?
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Do you want to be on the waitlist for any cancelations for the weekend of August 5th-7th?
If you check "yes please", Laura will be in touch if cancelations arise.
Want to be informed of future dates for online work weekends?
If you check 'yes please' Laura will email you as soon as dates are released for future weekends.
Would you like to be added to Laura's email list?*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

In-Person Work Weekend

ONE SPOT LEFT

Next Date: Friday, June 3rd-Sunday, June 5th, 2022, Santa Cruz Mountains

"This weekend was exactly the jumpstart I needed. Having this time away from all my obligations was perfect. I wrote 25 new pages and made some really important decisions about my book. I gained new clarity and the momentum I need to continue. Thank you!"

—Cooper Gallegos, author of The Waterhauler

If you keep promising yourself that you're going to dig deeper into your writing but can't seem to make the time or find the focus, Laura's Writer's Journey Work Weekends may be the perfect opportunity for you.

  • Do you find it hard to focus on your writing in your busy, daily life?
  • Do you ever wish you could carve out a serious chunk of time to dive deep into your creativity?
  • Do you wish you could spread out and accomplish a body of work that would help you move concretely toward your writing goals?
  • Would you like the support (and inspiration) that naturally arises when you are surrounded by a group with other writers who are as intent on their goals as you are on yours?
  • Do you have a writing project that is gnawing at you for time and attention?
  • Do you have an idea for a new project that you haven't yet carved out the space to dream about or begin?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, Laura's work weekend will provide you with the conditions to work, to dive deep into your material, and to have long stretches to focus without interruptions or the distractions of daily life and daily obligations.

ld-vv-peru-writers-last-class

There will be abundant time to work in silence--to sort through dozens of old notebooks looking for themes, to rewrite that story or redraft that piece of memoir you've been meaning to get to, to outline a broader framework for a large piece of work, to carry a piece all the way through to completion.

What most writers lack is time--and this weekend will give you that time. I will also provide you with something else you can't find at home: the opportunity for real concentration in an environment where everyone around you is wholly focused on writing, and nothing but writing.

These weekends, held 3-4 times a year, are non-residential, commuter retreats and are held at a beautiful private home in the woods where natural beauty will surround you. Local writers are recommended to carpool.

There will also be places to throw down a sleeping bag or a blow-up bed if you want to stay over. There will be spots indoors on the living room floor. Writers from out of town have also rented spots at local air bnbs, though most participants are local.

"The time, space and safety I experienced at this retreat were gifts beyond measure. I felt safe, nurtured and valued the whole time."

—Caroline Bliss-Isberg

Here's how your work weekend will go….

Thirteen writers gathered with Laura at a beautiful home in Santa Cruz. Included in our groups were memoir writers, short story writers, novelists, and people working on compiling family history. Our last group was diverse, including a technical writer, a published author, people deep into a specific project and those just beginning. But everyone had one thing is common: a great hunger to write and the desire to have sacred, uninterrupted time to dive deeply into the work of their choosing.

Friday morning, as each writer arrived, she (or he) staked out their territory--a comfortable couch, a cushy chair, a desk, one end of a big rambling table--and unloaded their notebooks, laptops, books and research materials. One woman even brought her big desktop computer.

We nibbled on chocolate and almonds, dates and popcorn, and sipped tea as we gathered into our opening circle. One at a time, participants outlined their projects and specific goals for the weekend. I asked questions, prodded a little, and made suggestions.

Within an hour of arriving, everyone was deeply engrossed at their work station and the silence that filled the house was rich with creative fervor. I, too, found a corner to work in, and an hour later, when I got up to stretch my legs and grab more chocolate, the environment was calm and focused, electric with promise of words.

People brought their own lunches. The first night we shared a pot luck supper. After dinner, half the group got to share part of a work in progress or to ask a question of the group (brainstorming a title, discussing publishing, talking about writer's block, etc.) and to receive feedback and encouragement on their work.

Saturday morning, people arrived early, grabbed a handful of dried fruit or some cheese, a cup of coffee or some tea, and settled back into their work spaces.

Saturday morning was also the time people could meet with me individually. People signed up for 20-minute laser consultations—I'd look at a piece of their work, brainstorm a strategy for carving out time to write, give them personalized prompts to help them with their projects or places they were stuck. These consultations were optional and dealt with whatever issue was uppermost on each writer's mind.

"Thank you for creating a very secure environment where my goals were my own. There was no pressure, just a nurturing, warm, and encouraging environment. Everyone was kind, supportive, talented and funny. I got exactly what I needed."

—Simi Monheit

writinggroup-revised11

People broke for lunch when they wanted to and worked steadily all afternoon. Some went on walks; others were so engrossed they ate at their computers. We broke for a catered dinner at 5:30 (provided by me), and afterwards, checked in as a full group. Then the other half of the group read excerpts of work in progress and got feedback from me and the group--exactly the kind of feedback they requested (or none if they didn't—then they simply got the encouragement to continue).

Sunday morning, people dove into fresh coffee and leftover fruit salad and moved directly back into work. By our third day together, the depth of concentration and focus was electric. After working all day, we had another catered dinner together and then, one last time, shared work, feedback and encouragement, finally setting goals for where we were going next with our work once the retreat was over.

Here's what some of the participants had to say…

"The space you hold, the environment you create, the trust you build, and the community you create are always incredibly productive for me. I valued the peace and quiet, the escape from my day-to-day life, the flexibility of the schedule, and the specific suggestions I got from you."

—Veronica Robinson

"The retreat was powerful. The energy of twelve focused writers buzzed throughout the entire weekend. It was uplifting and productive."

—Kathy Dana

"I have stories I don't share because of the demons that come up with them. The space created by the retreat gave me the safety to be able to write the truth."

—Melinda Iuster

"The prompts Laura gave me yesterday opened up a whole new level of my writing. I'm delighted with the outcome."

—Meredith Born

"I hoped to jumpstart my writing by shutting out daily demands and I looked forward to the opportunity to hear from a group of wonderful writers. I got what I expected and then some."

—Barbara Levitt

"Being here helped me believe I am a writer and that I can really write."

—Simi Monheit

Now That You See What You Can Accomplish, Why Don't You Join Us?

Next Writer's Work Weekend:
ONE SPOT LEFT

Friday, June 3rd-Sunday, June 5th, 2022
You can indicate your interest using the form below. 

Friday: 9 AM to 9:30 PM (eat breakfast before you come or bring something with you)
Saturday: 9:00 AM to 9:30 PM
Sunday: 9:00 AM to 9:30 PM

Limited to 13 participants

Fees: Cost for the weekend: $400. Participants bring their own breakfast and lunches; Snacks, tea and coffee and Saturday and Sunday dinners will be provided. Everyone will bring something for a pot luck dinner the first night.

To Register . . .  

Complete the form below to indicate your interest. If you have not worked with Laura previously, a short phone consultation is required to see if this work weekend is a good fit for you at this time. Laura can also help you brainstorm what you might work on. Remember, you can be at the beginning, middle or end of a project and make great use of this time.

Send Laura a check for your tuition. You can pay $100 deposit to hold your spot. Or you can pay in full. Laura will let you know where to send your payment.

The first $100 of your tuition is a non-refundable deposit. Within a month of the retreat starting date, refunds on your retreat balance will only be given if Laura can find someone to replace you.

COVID PROTOCOLS

  • Being fully vaccinated is a requirement of attendance. Proof of vaccination must be sent to Laura when you register.
  • Everyone will be required to get Covid-tested within 48 hours of arrival and provide proof of a negative test. Home tests are okay.
  • Snug fitting cloth masks or N95 masks must be worn in all common areas.

These Covid-related guidelines may be updated depending on conditions closer to the dates of our weekend. If I deem the weekend unsafe, I will cancel and everyone will get a refund. If I don’t cancel and you decide not to attend, you will not receive a refund.

Name*
Do you want to sign up for the weekend of June 3-5?
If you check "yes please", Laura will be in touch shortly with next steps.
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Do you want to be on the waitlist for any cancellations for the weekend of June 3-5?
If you check "yes please", Laura will be in touch shortly with next steps.
I’m not able to make these dates, but please inform me about the next work weekend.
If you check 'yes please' Laura will email you as soon as dates are released for future weekends.
Would you like to be added to Laura's email list?*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

A Gift to Inspire Your Writing

Subscribe to my mailing list and I will immediately give you a beautiful eBook: Writing Toward Courage: A Thirty Day Practice.

Subscribe to my mailing list and I will immediately give you a beautiful eBook: Writing Toward Courage: A Thirty Day Practice

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