Writer’s Retreats

by | March 28, 2019 | General | 4 comments

I went to a writers retreat hosted by Broad Universe in mid-March. Broad Universe is a networking group for women who write speculative fiction. I’ve been a member for several years. This retreat was held at Starfield Farm in central Massachusetts. There were lots of trees, birds, peace and quiet. I spent four days working on short stories, blog posts and part of a novel.

Everyone cooked in some fashion. I had brought cookies I had made at home. One woman made some delicious Mexican food. Another made scrumptious kugel. I was in gustatory heaven, which made the experience ever more enjoyable. During the evenings we socialized, drank homemade mead and sangria made by two of the women, and enjoyed a brief snowfall.

The isolation and quiet made for easy writing. The house dog (the retreat’s mascot) came to me often for petting (and hoping for table scraps), which was a nice break. I did finish a short story and I wrote two blog posts. The novel is coming along nicely.

I like writers retreats more than conventions now. For one thing, I think I get more for my money. I am not trapped behind a table in the dealer’s room for eight to ten hours at a time. I can rest whenever I want to which is important at my age. And I felt inspired by all the other women around me and by the locale. Writers retreats are well worth the money I spend on them for room and board, which was inexpensive for this one.

If you are a writer and are in the market for a writer’s retreat, here are a few to apply for that I’ve read are worthwhile:

Wellspring House Retreat – Located in Ashfield, Massachusetts, Wellspring is open year round. Rates per week are reasonable and vary depending on season and if you are coming along as an individual or a couple.

Yaddo – This one is an artist’s retreat that welcomes writers. You must apply to be accepted. According to Wikipedia, collectively, artists who have worked at Yaddo have won 66 Pulitzer Prizes, 27 MacArthur Fellowships, 61 National Book Awards, 24 National Book Critics Circle Awards, 108 Rome Prizes, one Nobel Prize, and more. The name “Yaddo” rhymes with “shadow”.

Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Retreat – Can you imagine your muse inspiring you in the Rocky Mountains? Then, you’d like this retreat. This retreat spans three nights and often includes agent and author guests. Prices vary up to $399 for a private bedroom for the duration of the retreat. You may also stay for one day for $65 including meals.

Retreats located outside the U. S. that may appeal include the Himalayan Writers Retreat, Luova Retreats in Provence, France, and the women-only A Writer Within in Tuscany.

I may be going on another writers retreat near Cape Cod around Memorial Day weekend. This one is also hosted by Broad Universe. It is a bit more expensive, but that’s okay. It’s five days long and at a beach house. The rate is higher because it’s the beginning of the peak summer season. Once again, we’ll provide our own food and there will be plenty of peace and quiet. One thing I like about these retreats is I tend to see the same people over and over again since this is the New England chapter of Broad Universe, which is very active. I plan on soaking up some rays, walking on the beach, and getting lots of writing done. These retreats are a welcome part of my writing future.


Elizabeth Black writes in a wide variety of genres including erotica, erotic romance, horror, and dark fiction. She lives on the Massachusetts coast with her husband, son, and her two cats.

Web site: http://elizabethablack.blogspot.com

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Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/elizabethblack


Elizabeth Black

Elizabeth Black's erotic fiction has been published by Cleis Press, Xcite Books, Scarlet Magazine, Circlet Press, and others. She also writes dark fiction and horror as E. A. Black. She lives in Massachusetts next to the ocean with her husband, son, and three cats. The beach calls to her and she listens.


  1. Rose

    Hi, Elizabeth,

    Your post makes me wonder if there is a niche for a kind of AirBNB of writers’ retreats. I went to one, once, which cost me nothing except one meal. We each brought food. There were only four us, but the woman (a colleague, at the time) hosted it at her family’s big old farm house, so there was no lodging cost involved. She said that the previous year they’d had 15 people, but it could vary widely from year to year. They could sleep as many as 21.

    It was actually really cool and a wonderful experience. I did get a lot of writing done that weekend (three days, two nights). Plenty of private spaces/rooms to go and super quiet.

    Even in the great room, with the enormous stone fireplace (it was November and so perfect New England November weather…overcast, windy, brisk outside, so we had a fire going, thanks to me being the Queen of Fire) there were nice cosy spots in different areas of the room that provided privacy even though someone else was at another cosy spot on the other side of the room.

    I’d recommend a retreat like this for anyone wanting to just devote a weekend to writing without being responsible for anything else around them, except for perhaps a meal or two. The thing is, the kind of retreat I’m thinking of is exactly that kind…for poor people, poor writers, or at least for those to whom $400.00 for a weekend is way too much too much money. $400.00 is a lot of money for some people. Even $100.00 is lot of money for some people. I was able to afford what basically came down to a free weekend, back when I went for that retreat, but at that time, even $100.00 would have been impossible. $200.00 or $300.00 would have been unimaginable. That’s the kind of money that pays the utility bills for a month. Even now, when I know I could afford that much if I saved up that much, over a few months, for a three-day weekend if I really wanted to, I’d definitely think twice about it. It’s still a lot of money. I sought out writers’ retreats in New England, on the web, but when I look at the prices, I just can’t bring myself to spend that money on a nice, quiet bird-filled, forested area, because I live smack-dab in the middle of such an area (Vermont) and I know that it isn’t “place” that gets the creative juices flowing, it’s state of mind. At this time, my state of mind is not a writing place.

    On the other hand, I have the perfect makings (with some renovation expense involved) for hosting a retreat, for providing an inexpensive space like that for writers who live paycheque to paycheque, who could at best, afford maybe a hundred bucks for a three-day-two-night retreat. No special guest writers of course, but definitely a place to get away from it all, forget about the bills for that time, and just focus on writing. (All cell phones and smartphones dropped in a basket for the day, of course, to be returned after retreat activities are done. Kind of a secondary purpose of rehab for smartphone addicts.)

    I do wonder if such a niche would fill a need. I do know that retreats work, but I know that for many writers, they’re out of financial reach. Oddly, I think that some of those writers are the once who could use a writing retreat the most. I have been thinking seriously about what I might do (that might also generate a wee bit of income), when I retire, besides goofing off. I’ve had this idea for about three years now and I hope to retire in another three, so it may yet become something more than just an idea.

    Rose 😉

  2. Lisabet Sarai

    I think New England is particularly well-suited for this sort of retreat. There are lots of moderately remote and deliciously scenic locales, and you don’t have to compete (too much) with tourists.

  3. Elizabeth Black

    Thanks for your comments, Rose. That’s one thing I like about the New England branch of Broad Universe. The retreats are affordable. I’m not rolling in dough but I was able to get to that retreat at Starfield Farm. One of the Broads owns the building. I’ve seen plenty of writers retreats that cost a lot of money – much more than $400 per week but even that is steep. I bet AirBnB would be a wonderful idea for finding or setting up a writers retreat. Room/board would depend on how many people sign up for it. Thanks for commenting.

  4. Elizabeth Black

    Lisabet, I think it also depends on the time of year. Seasonal rates would apply in some places. I live on the Massachusetts coast. Summer rentals can be quite expensive but some inns have very reasonable winter rates that would be discounted depending on a group rate. I would like a retreat at the beach off season as well as one in the mountains off season. Those are very relaxing and amenable to writing and even some sightseeing.

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