Writing Retreat

The Power of Owning your Story 11th -15th October 2023

Writing retreat with author Helen Garlick at the Smugglers Rest, Mortehoe.

The Smugglers Rest, Morthoe
The Smugglers Rest, Mortehoe.

A writing retreat like no other, this interactive course is designed to give you the space, encouragement and freedom to write, reflect, and find your path back to yourself and your story with boosts of enthusiasm, insight, support and inspiration.

Time to breathe. Time just for you. Time to create. Time to write.

The Power of Owning Your Story writing retreat has been specifically created for writers (fiction, memoir and/or short story) who really want to get their writing successfully underway. Where better to tap into the flow of creative energy than in a timeless village set on the edge of the Atlantic, looking straight out towards Lundy – and then America.

Mortehoe and its surrounding area offers an extraordinary space to be inspired and power forward with your writing. Like all wildernesses, the headland of Morte feels hidden, a place of intense stillness, gifting visitors an uncanny sense of coming home. As the National Trust sign states at the entrance to the walk leading to Morte Point, ‘Morte is the place that heaven made last and the devil will take first’.

We will benefit from whatever the weather throws at us. If it’s beautifully sunny with clear skies, you might walk locally in this designated world class area of outstanding natural beauty or even go in the sparkling blue sea. Participants can also choose to go out at night to look at the stars: course dates have been chosen to maximise dark skies (no moon). The weather of North Devon is however unpredictable so if we have rain, wind and storms, then the weather gods are smiling at us in their own way: more time to write indoors, with a warm welcome at Smugglers Rest. It’ll all be good (and, in any event, good copy.)

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    Itinerary in brief

    Wednesday 11th October – Day 1

    The Power of Owning Your Story

    Arrival 3pm – 4.30pm Hot chocolate, Devon cream tea (and cold refreshments)

    Settling in to your rooms and environment.

    5pm – 6.30pm Welcome: Orientation to the course, venue, programme and Mortehoe.

    Introductory welcome exercise. Aims and objectives: setting intentions. Group discussion.

    6.30pm for the rest of the evening an opportunity to write and later have dinner at Miss Fea’s Bistro (choosing your preferred times with Will and Stacey at the Smugglers Rest).

    Thursday 12th October – Day 2

    Themes: Inspiration. Landscape. The Key Elements to Writing Success. Writing Habits.

    8am – 9am Breakfast in Miss Fea’s Bistro

    9.30 am – 11 am Mortehoe Village Hall. A sense of place. Getting grounded. Immersive  writing involving all of the senses. Exercise: Your place on the planet.

    Packed lunch available. Your time. Opportunity to write/walk/relax etc.

    2pm – 3.30 pm Successful writing habits. Making writing work for you, whether you’re a night owl or morning lark (or a mix of both). Owning being a writer and carving out your space. Journaling. Writing it all down. Dealing with the enemy of distraction. Believing in and taking care of yourself.

    3.30pm – 6pm Your space. Time to write/relax/walk.

    6pm – 7pm Reconvene. Joined by local writer.

    Dinner at Miss Fea’s bistro at times booked with Will and Stacey.

    Friday 13th October – Day 3

    Themes: Character. The hero’s Journey, flaws and all. Relationships and challenges.

    8am – 9am Breakfast at Miss Fea’s bistro.

    9.30 – 11am Creating characters and stories relevant for our time which are meaningful. Truth in fiction and memoir. Spending time with character(s) and getting to know them.

    Writing exercise on Character.

    Light lunch at Miss Fea’s Bistro. Followed by Your time. Opportunity to write/relax/walk

    2pm – 3.30pm Your character’s interactions. Relationships. Yearning and desire.

    Endings. Beginnings. Loss and grief. What to leave out and what to keep in. Hope.

    3.30pm – 6pm Your space. Time to write/relax/walk

    6pm – 7pm Reconvene. Joined by local writer.

    Dinner at Miss Fea’s Bistro at times booked with Will and Stacey.

    Saturday 14th October – Day 4

    Themes: Your story: Your audience.

    8am – 9am Breakfast

    9.30 – 11am Plot and the Narrative Arc. Scene creation. Using a screenplay approach, how can you create lean, mesmerising, compelling stories which hook the reader in? Dialogue. Spaces between words: creating space to honour your reader. Rock bottom. Finding ways through. Redemption. Twists in the tale. Dreams and signs.

    Writing Exercise: a Tale of the Unexpected.

    Packed lunch available. Your time. Opportunity to write/relax/walk

    2pm – 3.30pm Your audience. Your purpose. Who are you writing for? Who or what is stopping you writing? Your plans for the future. Exercise: Your Audience.

    3.30pm – 6pm Your space. Time to write/relax/walk etc.

    6pm – 7pm Reconvene. Joined by local writer.

    Evening. Open Mic. An opportunity to share your work with others.

    Dinner at Miss Fea’s bistro at times booked with Will and Stacey.

    Sunday 15th October – Day 5

    Breakfast and goodbyes

    Should you wish to extend your stay to the Sunday evening, the Smugglers Rest have a special offer to course participants for a pre-booked Sunday overnight stay at £75 per room.

    Helen Garlick is a writer, trainer and speaker who lives in Mortehoe. Formerly a family lawyer, mediator and trainer for 35 years in communication skills and talking solutions, Helen first ran writing courses in her thirties and is now joyfully coming back to her first love of writing at double that. Author of ‘compelling’ and ‘mesmerising’ debut memoir No Place to Lie (shortlisted for the BookBrunch 2023 SelfiesAwards) and contributor of short stories, Helen has also written books about divorce, relationships and family law, including academic textbooks and periodicals. She has worked with international writing coach Gabriela Blandy and studied with Curtis Brown Creative and Cathy Rentzenbrink. Ambassador of charity Zero Suicide Alliance, Helen has a YouTube channel called Hello! It’s Better to Talk and regularly writes articles, talks and broadcasts about issues she deeply cares about. NLP Practitioner and consultant.

    Venue: The Smugglers Rest and Miss Fea’s Bistro.

    Please pop over to their website to see your room options and eg check directions.

    Please note that all rooms are situated on the first and second floors and there is no lift. Unfortunately, this venue is not appropriate for those with impaired mobility.

    Cost: £1025 all inclusive of food for Hartland (Lundy already booked)

    £950 all inclusive of food for Rockham and Combesgate (Exmoor, Croyde and Lee already booked)

    NB Lynton and Lynmouth can either be a twin room for two friends at £795 pp or £950 for single occupancy with super king sized bed

    Welcome pack and course materials all included

    Parking included (please supply the venue with your registration number)

    Please also provide the course organiser and venue with details of food preferences and any allergies. Travel and drinks excluded and at your own cost

    Non-residential rate: £650 all inclusive of food. (Only two spaces available)

    Please ensure you have your own travel and health insurance in place.

    I’m in! What’s next?

    Please arrange a phone call with Helen for a chat to make sure that the course is right for you. Set up your chat by emailing hello@helengarlick.com.

    We will need a minimum balance of £250 by end April to secure your booking, the balance to be paid by no later than 30th June 2023. Refunds only available if your space can be filled by another participant.

    We CAN’T WAIT for you to join us.

    Allow yourself to begin to dream how this could be …

    woman writing

    © Helen Garlick March 2023

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