Writer Travel – Santa Fe! June 21-26, 2016

Windy Lynn:

Studying the craft of writing with Susan Pohlman is one of the surest ways to improve your prose. I’ll be a student at this week-long retreat this June. Come learn with me!

Originally posted on Moments That Matter:


Writer Travel – Santa Fe!

Writing Retreat

June 21- 26 2016

“Writing is the painting of the voice.” ~Voltaire

An agent once told me that the one thing she looks for in a submission is a solid sense of voice. Craft can be taught, editors can be hired, but voice is the real deal. A command of voice and style proclaims to the reader that you can be trusted, that you know who you are and will lead them on a worthwhile journey to a place of truth.

Mindful travel coupled with daily workshops on craft and creativity will help you develop your authentic voice. How do I know? It happened to me! (Read about it here.)


Travel is a powerful writing instructor, leading us somewhere that classes and seminars can’t always do effectively. Travel leads us to self-knowledge. Self-knowledge strengthens voice.


Surround yourself with other seekers and writers…

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A Writing Residency I’ll Never Forget

I’ve recently returned from my first ever writing residency and let me tell you, I’m hooked. I was awarded a residency by the Dorland Mountain Arts Colony (in Temecula, CA) who hosted me in the adorable little cabin pictured below. I was all by myself with nothing to do but work on my craft for nearly two weeks. Amazing!

Prior to this getaway I’d researched writing residencies and kept hearing the same productivity equation:  Two Weeks in a Writing Residency =  Two Months of Work in the Real World. I DID NOT BELIEVE THIS. But then I found myself at Dorland with no outside interruptions. No television, no internet, no humans or pets to care for, and no laundry waiting to be folded. I didn’t plan a meal around anyone else’s needs or tastes. I ate when I was hungry. I slept when I was tired. And I only cleaned up after one person–me!

The result: in those two weeks, I got AT LEAST two months worth of writing accomplished. I’d brought a very tangled novel draft with me and hoped to work through development issues. Not only did I complete that project, but I was able to move on to creating a new scene list and begin the second draft. I also read three novels, read several short stories, edited three of my own short stories and started working a new one (inspired by my beautiful cabin view). I hiked every day, meditated, napped, visited the nearby wine country, shopped for antique books in Old Town, and took myself out for ice cream. I returned home rested and refreshed, ready to work at a new pace for the rest of the year.

If you’ve got a writing project that needs uninterrupted attention, think about applying to one of the many writing residencies available across the US. I found Dorland through Poets & Writers magazine, but even a quick Google search will net you a long list of opportunities. Expect a lengthy application process, similar to applying for grant fund opportunities. You’ll need to submit a specific project plan and sample pages of your best work. Also, have at least two industry-related references and a statement about why the residency you’re applying for is a good match for your work. If yore interested in the darling little cabin pictured below, check out the Dorland Mountain Arts Colony’s Residency page here :)

The Horton cabin at Dorland Mountain Arts Colony

Horton cabin at the Dorland Mountain Arts Colony

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Self Editing

I’m working on a personal piece of writing this week, but the go is slow. There’s a dark scowling editor hovering over my shoulder making all kinds of judgements. Every time I get a few sentences down, he rolls his eyes. I’ve hardly got a full page done.

“Don’t tell that,” he hisses. “Don’t even hint or wink a knowing wink about it.”

I delete my words and try again.

“Stop! You can’t tell people about that!”

I try again.

“Put a smile on your face and play nice,” he warns, tapping the delete button for me.

I know better than to listen to my inner naysayers during a creative phase, but this guy has me completely blocked. He’s panicked. For me, or himself, and I can’t tell which.

His hands raise as I type my words now, just waiting for me to step out of his comfort zone. I tense against his criticism, and only let an edited version hit the page where he can see. The rest of the story is stuck in my shoulder area, sharp and brittle.

I keep typing anyway, but soon, something even more unsettling happens.

Those unsaid words begin to loosen up and drift piece-by-piece down my arm to my elbow. I type faster and feel a few of them gather dangerously close to my wrist.

If I don’t stop them soon, they will fly out of my fingers for everybody to see.

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