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Writing Coach Retreat

As a writing coach, I think I have one of the most fun jobs in the universe. I love the process of helping people:

  • Clarify their book ideas
  • Learn the secrets of good writing
  • Write a compelling book proposal
  • Attract a top agent and publisher
  • Enjoy the benefits of being  a published author

There’s just one problem…time to write my own books…I tend to push my own personal projects to the back burner. There’s only so much time in a day–especially when you have young kids.

I often stay up late to read a client’s manuscript, answer e-mails, or work on my writing coach web presence. When I only had one child, who often slept in, I’d write my own work in the mornings. Now, my toddler is an early riser.

I realized there was only one solution if I wanted to make serious headway on my next book.

The writing coach needs a retreat. At first I just blanked out one day a month on my calendar for writing. One day seemed a little skimpy though. And wouldn’t it be nice to add a few perks to my personal retreat and maybe even “get away from it all?” No phones. No meals to cook. No e-mails. No one to take care of but me.

Six days ago I looked at a yoga center website to book my own personal retreat. Then I figured, why not see if there’s a writing workshop that weekend. There is. My mother-in-law, who is practically a saint, changed her schedule to accommodate my writing retreat.

My writing retreat now includes body work, vegetarian meals, yoga classes and a writing workshop.  I’m dreaming about my retreat–the fall colors in the Berkshires, maybe even a light snow (it was snowing when I called), time to go inward and think about…nothing.

I have this feeling I need to create some fallow space in my life for this next book. I can’t just go from my nonstop lifestyle to writing this next book.

How about you? Could you use a writing retreat? Your retreat doesn’t need to be costly. You might know a relative or friend with a vacation condo or a cabin in the woods and head out for a weekend. And it could be just a day, or a few days, blocked out in your calendar for writing and maybe a walk in the woods.

But make the time. You’ll be glad you did.

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Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

Reader Interactions


  1. lisatener says

    Hi Yolanda,

    If you’re looking for a literary agent to secure a publisher, you’ll need an air-tight book proposal. I recommend Michael Larsen’s book How to Write a Book Proposal for that.

    There are some great books out there to help you understand different agents and what their specialties are. You can also do some googling on line.

    When a client has worked with me on their proposal, I will often suggest a particular agent or two and contact that agent on their behalf, but only once we’ve worked together on the proposal.

  2. Ann Zuccardy says

    I went on a writing retreat last weekend in Vermont’s northeast kingdom. It was a combination writing/meditation retreat in a beautiful setting with healthy locally grown vegetarian meals and a lot of silence. As a person who gets paid to write for a living, it was hard for me to surrender to the flow of writing for me…because I adore it, but once I got into the swing of the weekend, I realized it’s essential to my well-being to write(just for me) and meditate daily. If any New Englanders are interested, I can provide information on this place…solo or group retreats are possible. I’m thinking a small group this winter, combined with some cross country skiing might be fun.

  3. Chris Bramley says

    Hi Lisa,

    I was wondering if you ever do any coaching in speechwriting? If not, can you recommend anyone?

    Also, are you still located in Vermont?



  4. lisatener says

    If you’re looking to immerse yourself in a totally nurturing retreat check out Stephen Webber’s Summer Writing Retreat in Umbria, Italy. It sounds so yummy–great writing instruction, yoga and sound healing. If my kids were a bit older, I’d be hopping on a plane myself and joining the retreat this summer.

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