Join Me for a Productive, Supportive
Online Writer's Work Weekend
Friday, January 19th - Sunday, January 21, 2024
Three Full Days
Location: At Home with Intermittent Meetings on Zoom
- 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 organize 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.
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.
“I was so amazed to find that the online retreat brought me right into a state of writing inspiration. Thanks to Laura's excellent pacing and clear schedule coordination, I was able to achieve the writing goals I set out to complete. I enjoyed the optional morning and afternoon check-ins with Laura and the group because they kept me on track. I was also able to read what I'd written during the morning and get immediate feedback from Laura.
"I was thrilled and amazed at her spot-on ability to make suggestions to better my writing. She has such a great ear that she can listen to a piece and immediately read her notes on changes. These changes made the difference between something mediocre and something I'm truly proud of. . . .
"In all, I loved the online work weekend. I have a renewed sense of relationship with my writing and I enjoyed spending time with all of the talented writers—especially Laura.”
—Lisa Mitchell, A Fiber Life Podcast, Clinton, Washington
Why an Online Work Weekend?
The online work weekends offer the following 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.
- International participation. People from different countries, continents and time zones can participate.
- Affordability. You won't have to travel or pay for airline tickets or lodging.
Laser Coaching: In addition, each writer will get a 15-minute private, individual, laser, coaching session with me on Zoom. 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 award winning 2021 memoir The Burning Light of Two Stars, I’ll offer an hour-long question and answer session about how I wrote and constructed the book.
Note: This is a participatory workshop. Participants will share their concerns, questions, and work in the group, keep their cameras on during all Zoom meetings, and participate with the other writers. Although you’ll spend much of the weekend working on your own, the real superpower of this weekend is the intimate and supportive community we build together.
“Laura’s digital work weekend far exceeded my expectations. . . . Laura’s expertise and support was immeasurable. She helped move many of us over the humps we were facing with individualized exercises or prompts, empathy and sometimes a little push. Always compassionate and respectful of where people were at. . . .
Even though we were online, I felt held and carried by the group energy every bit as much as I would have if we were in person. This surprised me. I really didn’t think it would be so powerful writing from our own separate homes, but it was.
I would do this again . . . and again . . . .”
—Helen Greenspan, Oakland, California
FAQs About the Online Retreat
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 morning: 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.
Rest of the morning: writers will work in their own environment.
Optional midday meeting: provides 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.
Rest of the afternoon: writers will work alone.
Friday evening: we’ll have a three-hour, all-group session. These evening meetings will provide the heart of our community time. Half the group will share work with the group the first night. The other half will share the second night. Everyone will get a shorter turn the last night. With their time in group, 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.
Sunday: 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.
Friday, March 3rd-Sunday, March 5th, 2023
All Group Meeting Times:
Friday: 8:00 AM first meeting; 1:00-2:00 pm optional check-in; 5:00-8:00 PM all-group feedback session
Saturday: 8:00 AM first meeting; 1:00-2:00 pm optional check-in; 5:00-8:00 PM all-group feedback session
Sunday: 8:00 AM first meeting; 1:00-2:00 pm optional check-in; 5:00-8:00 PM final all-group session
Friday: 9:00 AM first meeting; 2:00-3:00 pm optional check-in; 6:00-9:00 PM all-group feedback session
Saturday: 9:00 AM first meeting; 2:00-3:00 pm optional check-in; 6:00-9:00 PM all-group feedback session
Sunday: 9:00 AM first meeting; 2:00-3:00 pm optional check-in; 6:00-9:00 PM final all-group session
Friday: 10:00 AM first meeting; 3:00-4:00 pm optional check-in; 7:00-10:00 PM all-group feedback session
Saturday: 10:00 AM first meeting; 3:00-4:00 pm optional check-in; 7:00-10:00 PM all-group meeting
Sunday: 10:00 AM first meeting; 3:00-4:00 pm optional check-in; 7:00-10:00 PM final meeting
Friday: 11:00 AM first meeting; 4:00-5:00 pm optional check-in; 8:00-11:00 PM all-group feedback session
Saturday: 11:00 AM first meeting; 4:00-5:00 pm optional check-in; 8:00-11:00 PM all-group feedback session
Sunday: 11:00 AM first meeting; 4:00-5:00 pm optional check-in; 8:00-11:00 PM final meeting
YOUR TIME ZONE NOT LISTED?
You can use the converter here to figure out the times of the meetings in your time zone.
What some of the past participants had to say:
“Attending Laura’s digital work weekend renewed my fire for writing. Her expert teaching skills encouraged me to improve my writing and not give up. I also appreciate her ability to provide a safe group container where sharing was invited with acceptance and pointers for growth and without judgement.”
—Leah Danley, Oklahoma
“Laura is the best workshop leader I have ever had; she is so knowledgeable about writing, so encouraging and empathetic, and never shaming. It was my first time participating in a live Zoom gathering of any kind and it was (almost) just like being in the room with people. . . . I cannot say enough about how this weekend put me on a new path in my writing
—Liza Porter, Tucson, AZ
“This writing intensive weekend got me back on the path to my writing. Laura gives incredible feedback, zeroing in with laser focus on what works and helping turn your attention from what doesn't work, without judgment. . . . If you want honest feedback and a collaborative atmosphere of support and caring, this workshop is for you.”
—Danna W, Kensington, MD
“Laura’s work weekend was very supportive and inspiring. Thank you for the excellent and respectful feedback and for modeling a way of teaching that invites each of us to be our best.”
—Charlotte Taft, Glorieta, NM
“I’d recommend Laura’s work weekends to anyone seeking to realign to their creative flow within a supportive and talented environment of fellow writers.”
“Laura’s guidance before the retreat began, three check-in meetings a day, a focused individual meeting, and great group sessions all worked together to form a seamless whole that assisted me as a writer. Being able to be in my own home and not worry about travel was a real advantage. . . . I would highly recommend this retreat!”
—Nicola Mendenhall, Urbandale, IA
“Laura’s virtual workshop was fantastic for my writing skills. . . . Thanks, Laura, for expertly guiding us through a dedicated writing intensive and for gathering beautiful writers to share their words with each other.”
—Angela Clark, Cortez, CO
"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."
—Annie Rosenberg, Vancouver, BC, 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, NS, 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.”
—Toni, Albany, CA
Now That You See What You Can Accomplish, Why Don't You Join Us?
Logistics and How to Register . . .
Limited to 15 participants
Fees and Deposit: Cost for the weekend: $800; the first $100 of your tuition is a non-refundable deposit.
Students currently enrolled in Laura’s weekly classes at the time of the retreat get a $200 discount and can attend for $600.
Registration: Click the link below to submit your payment and fill out your registration form. If you have not worked with Laura in the past, she may wish to have a phone conversation with you after registration to ensure that the weekend will be a good fit for you.
Cancellation: After January 5, 2024, refunds on your retreat balance can only be given if Laura can find someone to replace you. (Or if you find someone to replace you and Laura approves them.)