Brought to you by award-winning novelist Joan Dempsey
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)
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?
This retreat includes a private dinner with the award-winning author of the novels One in a Million Boy, Any Bitter Thing, My Only Story and Secret Language, as well as the acclaimed memoir, When We Were the Kennedys.
This retreat includes a private dinner with the associate director of the Stonecoast MFA program, who is also the faculty advisor to the Stonecoast Review and an expert in writing for social justice on the page, stage and screen.
This retreat includes a private dinner with the author of the novels Elsey Come Home,Paris Was the Place, and Landslide (forthcoming from Knopf in early 2021), as well as the Oprah Magazine Top Ten Pick memoir, The Foremost Good Fortune.
This retreat includes a private dinner with the author of the multi-award-winning novel, Euphoria. Other novels include Father of the Rain, The English Teacher and The Pleasing Hour. King's new novel, Writers & Lovers, is forthcoming in March, 2020.
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 one dinner with our special guest, a literary light from Maine.
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.
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!