You. Your book. A writing retreat. Is this your next step? You know you need something—feedback; affirmation; advice; the TIME to write; peace and quiet for God’s sake; camaraderie, even pampering, although you’re not even sure what that would feel like these days. Such a foreign concept, pampering.
I assure you, an escape from dishes, shopping, cooking, CLEANING, and everyone who needs you—just long enough to catch your breath and get those spiraling words in your brain down on the page already—feels glorious. Like deep breathing ocean ions. Like being seen and heard by the most loving, joyous, brilliant sisters. Like eating the best hearty, comfort-foody meals of your life. Like opening your computer in the morning and shutting it at night with a knowing smile on your face.
You’ve seen me post stunning photos and videos of Carmel.
You’ve heard me and my retreaters rave about the organic food; the experience of being waited on; the laughter; the productivity; the ecstasy of speedy/inspired creation; the writing, brainstorming, agent, publishing, and marketing magic.
It’s a big commitment to be here. An investment. In time, energy, and cash. It takes planning to clock out of your life and make your way to our tree house by the ocean. But it might just change everything, as it did for Maia Toll (see her words below).
“You don’t market the retreats enough.” “You need to blog more about the experience.” I hear those comments a lot from my clients.
Thankfully, I’m blessed with strong word-of-mouth support and haven’t had to do much marketing in recent years. But every once in a while, I think it’s fun to share what others share with me. Especially since Miss Merry and I are here in Carmel now, retreating with these wonderful writers.
So, here goes.
The following email was sent to me by Maia, the aforementioned 2016 Carmel alum, to a friend who’s considering coming. She sent it to me this a.m., encouraging me to share it with you in case it can likewise help you realize your dreams of authorship.
OMG! I’m so glad you’re considering going to Carmel with Linda. For me, it was life-changing. Not because I had some huge revelation or got some big kick in the ass, but because I got confidence in my writing. Real, unshakable, grounded confidence.
It was that confidence which put me in a position to get my book deal (do you know I have a book deal?!).
What Carmel is: A writers workshop on steroids. What it isn’t: lessons or a class on writing.
What I love about Linda? She is balls-to-the wall, all in. She brings her whole self and holds nothing back. She’s in love with her work and her people and this love oozes out every luscious minute at Carmel. She loves you into being your best self.
My group, a year later:
- one book deal
- one agent signing + ghost-writing contract + book deal (for Erin Brokovich!)
- one full length, award-winning documentary
- one (2 if you include Linda!) TedWomen talk
You know you’re ready if you feel almost, but not quite, ready. ;)
P.S. While you get tons of writing time, this isn’t a monastic experience. The friendships I made were priceless (and pricey since we keep flying around the country to be together!).
It’s hard to put into words what this all means to me. I was never a girl’s girl. Never a joiner. Not much of a hanger-outer.
But these small, precious groups have become my total and complete joy. My happy place. I’ve met some of my dearest friends here. Cutting edge doctor/healers, artists, legal minds, tech mavens, travel aficionados—you name it. I can hardly believe who walks through the door each retreat—I’d never have access to these people otherwise. Whenever I need to know anything or anyone—I contact my former retreat girls, and someone (usually multiple people) points me in a stellar direction.
Connection is queen, ya’ll.
Yesterday at our lunch feast, the gals in the group were talking about how much they were loving the experience of being + working together. I was breathing it all in and thus didn’t grab my pen fast enough. But I’d asked them specifically why they thought this format works so well, and here are a few gems I was able to scribble down:
“The other writers aren’t bound by the ‘rules’ of our individual worlds.” Ana
“Everyone comes in with an energy that sees beyond what we can see.” Betsy
“I’m not woo-woo, or a girly girl, but surprisingly, I’m loving every minute of this.” Liz
… and from Pamela Burns… our world-class chef (and owner of the Wild Plum Cafe & Bistro in Monterey, as seen on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on the Food Network):
“The first time I came into this house, I thought everybody knew each other. That’s how well everyone got along. I was stunned. What I find in each one of these retreats is that the women present… it’s just meant to be… It’s amazing.”
I can’t choreograph this, folks. Once interested writers fill out the registration form, I interview each person to be sure they’re a good fit, of course. I invite the writers I feel I can help, women who will also be an asset to the group. Sometimes, not often, there’s an odd bird. A shy one. A nervous one. Someone who needs healing beyond what we can offer. And, sometimes a person decides later not to finish her book—ever—or can’t get beyond her own fear or pain, for whatever reason.
Those instances are rare, but that’s life. We love her as best as we know how while she’s here, and let her have her process once she’s gone. We learn and GROW and are better for the experience. We are all on our own journeys. But our similarities far outweigh our differences. And we’re better together.
When people ask me, “Which date am I supposed to come to?” I always say, “Pray about it.” I leave the timing up to the Universe. She knows better.
I focus on what I do best. In the past week, I’ve polished queries for 3 previous retreaters, sent them out to my favorite agents, and celebrated with two over the phone who signed contracts. Just yesterday, I got an email from a 2015 retreater, a retired male doctor turned novelist (one of our few boys) that a Hollywood agent I introduced him to months ago finally got a chance to read his book. They’re now talking books AND movies! I KNEW it! His writing has cinema all over it. I knew the agent would see what I see it if he’d just take the time to read it. Fortunately, with a few gentle reminders (I’m persistent like that), he did!
It was a good week. They nearly all are.
Can you tell I love this stuff?
If any of this speaks to you, let’s connect. I have 3 remaining dates for the year, and several spots open in each. September 18th, October 18th, or November 6th. You. Me. Your tribe. Your book. Everything you could want to know about our time together—the daily schedule, price, format, travel info, what to expect, post retreat follow up, videos and testimonials—it’s all here.
Paradise. Thanks for reading; I look forward to meeting you in my favorite spot on earth.
Here’s to finishing 2017 strong. Together.
P.S. Many of our retreat alums, and a whole lot of other writers, gather online together for encouragement, accountability, and writerly inspiration over at the Beautiful Writers Group. If you’ve been to a retreat, we’re probably already in contact (and, in case we’ve somehow missed each other on social media, I’m an Instagram-ahoic). But it’s so much fun to connect in the BWG. If a retreat’s not yet possible for you, this group (where friends don’t let friends write alone) is an inexpensive way to experience some of the love and support.