One week after Women at Woodstock, our dedicated Writers Retreat welcomes bloggers, memoirists, fiction writers, poets, and nonfiction writers of all levels. Our content-rich, quiet, working session offers two tracks: Writers-In-Process and Emerging Writers. As with Women At Woodstock 2017 the weekend prior, we meet at Lifebridge Sanctuary in Woodstock, NY. The retreat starts on Thursday evening, October 19 and runs through Sunday night, October 22, with checkout on Monday morning, October 23. During your time at the Writers Retreat, you have your choice of the Writers-In-Process track or the Emerging Writers track – it is up to you which you will choose.
You will start each day with a one-hour workshop taught by resident writing coach Linda Lowen and then the morning will be open for you to write, think, and map out your writing future without interruption, surrounded by other like-minded women also pursuing their own creative quests.
You will join in an intensive full-morning writing workshop with resident writing coach Colleen Geraghty, where a safe space will be created for you to write and practice your developing skills with prompts, discussions, and short writing sessions. In the afternoon, depending on the day, you will either attend an afternoon writing workshop or spend quiet time for uninterrupted writing on any prompt or project you choose.
Options For Everyone
For everyone at the Writing Retreat, there will be plenty of space and opportunity for private coaching, collaborative conversations, or total quiet – whatever it is that you need. In the late afternoon we’ll gather for an Evening Salon of wine and cheese and readings, sharing what we wish from the day’s work. After dinner, we’ll continue with wine, chocolates, and conversation, or take advantage of the gorgeous “silent room” at the top of the sanctuary where you can write in peace into the wee hours if you wish.
Resident Authors / Writing Coaches
Linda Lowen – Writers In Process / The Publishing World (Track 1)
Linda Lowen, writing instructor for The Downtown Writer’s Center, in Syracuse, NY, and at writing festivals and retreats across New York state, is our resident writing coach for Track 1 – Writers-In-Process at the Women at Woodstock Writers Retreat. She will conduct a short workshop at the start of each day on all aspects of writing, from starting a new work, mapping out your full plan, honing your craft, building scene and character, story arc, and finding an agent or publisher. You will have time to meet with Linda individually for review of your work and guidance you as you write and refine and mold your work toward publishable shape.
Linda edited the anthology Hopeful – Grateful – Strong: Survivor Stories from the YMCA of Greater Syracuse’s Cancer Support Programs, published in June 2015, and her essay, “Hillary Clinton, Everymother” is featured in the anthology, Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradox, edited by Joanne Bamberger. Her non-fiction story “Christmas Eve Service” is included in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Volunteering and Giving Back, and her column “Storytime” appears in the monthly magazine Family Times: The Parenting Guide of Central New York. Linda has written for national media outlets including MSN.com and MSN Living, and the website About.com when it was owned by the New York Times Company. Linda will teach a daily morning workshop for the Writers in Process track of the Writers Retreat, for women who have a work in progress and want to write intensively for the weekend under the guidance of a writing coach, who will advise on all aspects of bringing her work to publication. Linda will be available to meet with every track attendee individually to review and critique a sample of her writing, and discuss avenues to getting published.
Colleen Geraghty – The Story Cottage / Amherst Method (Track 2)
Colleen Geraghty, a published author and a writing coach certified in the Amherst Writer’s and Artist’s Method who has facilitated workshops for women writers in the Hudson Valley for many years, will lead The Story Cottage, our track for emerging writers who wish to experience an intensive weekend of writing guidance, exercises, prompts, and feedback in a welcoming environment. Colleen employs the Amherst Writer’s and Artist’s method of writing that supports all genres and skill levels of writers by using a non-hierarchical approach, a diverse array of writing prompts, and constructive feedback based on the Amherst Method.
A member of Wallkill Valley Writers, her stories have appeared in Wallkill Valley Writers Anthology 2012 and 2013 and in Slant of Light: Contemporary Women Writers of the Hudson Valley. Her story, “The Beer House,” highlights issues related to child abuse and neglect, and received first prize in the Hudson Valley Writer’s Guild 2013 Short Story Contest. Two of Colleen’s original songs from her Deep Ravines CD, “Hymn for Matthew” and “Nikolay,” have been used by community groups and educators to raise awareness about hate crimes and PTSD. Colleen has also designed the curriculum and taught songwriting for musicians at Dutchess County Community College Continuing Education Program. and she was the coordinator of the very successful 2013 Women Write Conference and the 2014 Celebration of Women’s Voices: Women Writers Past and Present Conference held in New Paltz New York to commemorate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. She is also the recipient of Ulster County New York’s 2014 Raising Hope Award for Mentors.
Amherst Writer’s and Artist’s method facilitators comprise an international community of writing workshop leaders committed to the belief that a writer is someone who writes and every writer has a unique voice. All are encouraged to leave any assumptions about writing and writers aside and to write freely. As a certified AWA workshop leader, Colleen Geraghty works with both novice writers who have been led to believe they have no voice and with experienced writers who want to hone their craft. Both beginning writers and more experienced writers work together in the same workshop to generate new material and/or explore stories, poems, or other reflections that they wish to deepen. Colleen will focus on voice, power, confidence, and craft.
As part of Women at Woodstock 2017, Colleen will offer participants an opportunity to explore the Amherst Writer’s and Artist’s method and to write in a creative cauldron that affirms the following five essential beliefs:
1) Everyone has a strong, unique voice.
2) Everyone is born with creative genius.
3) Writing is an art form that belongs to all people, regardless of economic class or educational level.
4) The teaching of craft can be done without damage to a writer’s original voice or artistic self-esteem.
5) A writer is someone who writes.
Pat Schneider, founder of Amherst Artists and Writers