Brought to you by award-winning novelist Joan Dempsey
October 17 – 23, 2020
With special guest, Lily King
Give yourself the gift of time to finish your novel.
The gift of uninterrupted time to focus solely on your novel.
Powerful inspiration to jumpstart your confidence and ignite your determination.
Unequivocal support to banish any doubts and fears.
Feedback to get you over the finish line.
Intimate connections with four other writers, all of us determined to finish our novels.
The magical beauty of the Maine coast—those ocean ions will lift your spirits.
Helping you finish your novel!
(Limited to Only 5 Writers)
Five Writers Only
You're right for this retreat if you . . .
When you choose to surround yourself with natural beauty, and get utterly pampered inside a gorgeous modern home, and have only supportive people who are also writers as companions, it’s easier to focus entirely on your writing in all the best ways.
Think about it. You’re so busy taking care of everything else in your life, who has time for much writing?
This retreat gives you the luxury of time to write.
You’ll have all sorts of wonderful spaces for writing—in your own private room, in the garden, on our private beach, out on one of the decks overlooking the ocean, at one of several large tables both inside and outside the house, or in front of the fire on a cozy couch.
We begin with a reception early on Saturday evening.
We'll have all day Sunday through Thursday for your private writing time, private coaching sessions with Joan, group work sessions and readings, craft Q&As and downtime.
All meals are prepared by our personal chef. Breakfast and lunch are available whenever you wish, and we'll have dinner together in the evening, including dinner with our special guest, award-winning novelist, Lily King.
Wednesday is a "free" day with no organized gatherings—head off to the beach, for a hike, or into town (Freeport, Brunswick and Portland are all a short distance away).
Friday morning we'll have a farewell breakfast together, then send you on your way.
(Limited to Only 5 Writers)
I've been stymied in moving forward and now I know I can reach for the end of my novel and put it all together. I know it's better now than it was before the retreat.
I feel much better about my novel, after talking to Joan. You can just be yourself and do what you love to do. It's going to be hard to leave the retreat, to be honest.
I'm feeling comfortable now in believing that my novel is worthy of being written, and my work is really going to be enhanced by having worked with Joan.
This retreat has been life-transforming. I feel fantastic about my novel now. Do whatever you can to come to the retreat—it will change your writing life.
"There are very few things I would love to do other than a life of writing."
Our guest for dinner on Tuesday, October 20, is Lily King. Lily grew up in Massachusetts and received her B.A. in English Literature from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her M.A. in Creative Writing from Syracuse University. She has taught English and Creative Writing at several universities and high schools in this country and abroad.
Lily’s first novel, The Pleasing Hour (1999) won the Barnes and Noble Discover Award and was a New York Times Notable Book and an alternate for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her second, The English Teacher, was a Publishers Weekly Top Ten Book of the Year, a Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year, and the winner of the Maine Fiction Award. Her third novel, Father of the Rain (2010), was a New York Times Editors Choice, a Publishers Weekly Best Novel of the Year and winner of both the New England Book Award for Fiction and the Maine Fiction Award. It was translated into various languages.
Lily's novel, Euphoria, won the Kirkus Award for Fiction 2014, the New England Book Award for Fiction 2014 and was a finalist in the National Book Critics Circle Awards. Euphoria was named one of the 10 Best Books of 2014 by The New York Times Book Review. It was included in TIME's Top 10 Fiction Books of 2014 and the Amazon Best Books of 2014. Reviewed on the cover of The New York Times Book Review, Emily Eakin called Euphoria, “a taut, witty, fiercely intelligent tale of competing egos and desires in a landscape of exotic menace.” The novel is being translated into numerous languages and a feature film is underway.
Her new novel Writers & Lovers is a New York Times Book Club pick of the Month, an Indie Next List March pick, and has starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, Bookpage and Library Journal.
Lily is the recipient of a MacDowell Fellowship and a Whiting Writer's Award. Her short fiction, essays, and reviews have appeared in many publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and several anthologies.
Hello! I'm Joan Dempsey.
I am fortunate enough to call the state of Maine "home," and I want to share the magic of this place with other writers who, like me, are writing novels.
I love, love, love working on novels (mine and yours)!
And I adore retreats. Many of my most cherished writing experiences (and—no surprise—best work) happened while away from home.
Plus, I'm an educated and experienced fiction editor and writing coach.
So, I got to thinking . . . why not combine these passions and invite some gutsy writers to join me so we can retreat together?
What kind of fun would that be?!
Want to find out?
Inside your room at your private writing desk, or with your personal lap desk on the deck, shore, or by the fire, or at one of the many spacious tables inside and outside our retreat house, you'll have ample time to do what you wish. This is your time to apply what you’re learning in the way that works best for you: write, revise, journal, reflect, think, plan, write some more. All of what you do during creative time will inform your Writing Contract, which is the tool you’ll take home to ensure your success.
Come on up to what's become fondly known as "Joan's Tower" for two private coaching sessions, and enjoy one session post-retreat via Zoom video conferencing or phone. I’m here for you, so we’ll plan our sessions according to what you most need. Got a character who needs further development? We’ll bring her to life. Feeling concerned about whether your writing is really any good? We’ll turn that concern around so fast you’ll forget you ever worried about it. Need to find time in your schedule to focus on your novel? We won’t just find time, we’ll create it! Whatever will help you finish your novel, we’ll tackle it together.
I will provide detailed feedback on your full manuscript or whatever you've drafted by the time you attend the retreat. If you send your manuscript a month before the retreat, I'll have feedback ready and waiting for you and we can discuss it in person during our private coaching sessions. If you aren't able to get the manuscript to me a month before the retreat, you can bring it with you and I'll provide feedback within a month after the retreat.
Before you leave, you and I will privately assess all you’ve learned during the retreat, and use it to create a Writing Contract that will set you up for post-retreat success. Capitalize on your momentum from this week and finish your novel.
You’ll have an opportunity to sit in the optional Retreat Seat—a safe environment in which you can share your concerns and toss out your ideas, all of which will be heard by me and your generous and wise retreat companions. We’ll put on our best thinking caps and respond with constructive observations, suggestions, questions, celebrations, resources and whatever other ideas we believe will help. We'll also have two optional Gutsy Great Readings—a secure environment in which you can read a brief excerpt from your novel-in-progress and hear readings by your retreat companions. Finally, we'll have two Q & A Sessions in which you can ask me anything about the craft or the business of writing.
All you have to do is eat when you’re hungry . . . no need to decide what to make for a meal, no cooking, no cleanup. Isn’t it time someone catered to you? Our own Personal Chef, Tara Bombardier, will make us nourishing and scrumptious food that will leave you feeling both energetic and pampered! Fair warning . . . you might not want to go home.
Creativity takes energy, and energy needs to be rejuvenated; this week is all about what you need to be your best creative self. Hike the nearby trails at Wolfe’s Neck State Park, head into Freeport to visit LL Bean and myriad outlet shops, kayak from the front yard in Brickyard Cove, take a nap in your room or in an Adirondack on the deck, read a book from our retreat library (lots of great novels and books on the craft of fiction), play a game of horseshoes . . . whatever works to support you!
Here's what you get at the retreat:
I deliberately don't advertise the specific cost of the retreat—this is why:
So, if you're serious about finishing your novel and want to work with me—you can submit your application and we can weigh out the pros and cons together and determine whether the retreat will meet your needs and whether you're a good fit for the retreat. The retreats are best for writers who are ready to make a leap, take action and work hard to realize the dream of finishing their novel, whatever that takes.
Because I keep the group so small—five writers plus myself—and because this exclusive retreat is expensive to run and takes a lot of my own time and energy, not everyone can afford to spend a week with me. But for those who do, I work extremely hard to make sure the experience is priceless.
My goal is to get you past any obstacles that stand in your way and provide you with the unique support, tools and feedback you need to realize your dream of finishing your novel, all while feeling inspired and confident.
(Limited to Only 5 Writers)