Join Me for a Santa Cruz Writer's Work Weekend
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, all of my in-person retreats have been temporarily suspended. This page will always have the most up-to-date information about their availability. You can scroll to the bottom of this page to sign up to be notified about future opportunities to write and travel with me in person.
In the meantime, to learn about my online offerings during the pandemic, you can go to this page.
"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.
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."
Here's how your work weekend will go….
Twelve 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 15-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."
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."
"The retreat was powerful. The energy of twelve focused writers buzzed throughout the entire weekend. It was uplifting and productive."
"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."
"The prompts Laura gave me yesterday opened up a whole new level of my writing. I'm delighted with the outcome."
"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."
"Being here helped me believe I am a writer and that I can really write."
Now That You See What You Can Accomplish, Why Don't You Join Us?
Next Writer's Work Weekend:
Laura hopes to start these up again once it's safe to gather.
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 12 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.