Writing Workshops, Retreats, Mentoring

writing sanctuaries

7 Day Summer Writing Retreat

July 4th to 10th

What could you create in seven uninterrupted days of writing on the shores of Lake Simcoe?

In July 2011 you have the chance to find out.

Inkslingers returns to the Loretto MaryHolme Retreat Centre (Only an hour from Toronto) for seven days. Each day you will have the entire morning in silence to write.

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Each day you will also have the opportunity to submit work to the facilitators for same-day feedback.

Some evenings you will have the opportunity to write in community with other writers.

Some days you may choose to offer gentle feedback to others in the group.

Some evenings you may decide to participate in creating SoulCollage® cards.

And EVERY day you make the decision to support yourself as a writer in whatever way you need the most!

The objective is to leave the retreat exhilarated with what you have accomplished as a writer.

Chef Deb

And if having 7 glorious summer days to write, receive feedback and share the writer’s journey isn’t enough incentive, you will be nourished by the signature sumptuous meals of Chef Deborah A. Rankine!

To learn more about the culinary expertise of Chef Deb,
please visit:

The InkSlingers’ Writing Retreat Location:
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Loretto Maryholme is a spirituality centre, a ministry of the Canadian Loretto Sisters with a special focus on the areas of justice, education, and spirituality. Located at Roches Point on a hilltop overlooking Lake Simcoe, this glorious 1870’s historic family estate offers a place to rest and renew yourself.

As you travel down the lane of tall pines and spirea to the spectacular lake view you can feel yourself relaxing into that mindset that inspires great writing.lmh-27aug08-129

Dates: July 4th to July 10th, 2011

Registration Fees:

Earlybird Fee:

$1195 + HST
(If booked up to and including April 30th, 2011)
[quickshop:Early Bird price for Inkslingers July Retreat:price:1350.35:end] $1195 + HST = $1350.35 (double occupancy)

PLEASE NOTE that a 5% Discount applies for WCDR and other affiliate members
[quickshop:WCDR member Early Bird price for Inkslingers July Retreat:price:1282.83:end] WCDR Member Earlybird rate for Inkslingers July Retreat$1135.25 + HST = $1282.83(double occupancy)

If booked March 1, 2011 or afterwards:

[quickshop:Regular rate for Inkslingers July Retreat:price:1576.35:end] $1395.00 + HST = $1576.35 (double occupancy)

PLEASE NOTE that a 5% Discount applies for WCDR and other affiliate members
[quickshop:WCDR member Regular rate for Inkslingers July Retreat:price:1497.53:end] WCDR Member Regular Rate for Inkslingers July Retreat $1325.25 + HST = $1497.53(double occupancy)

Registration fees cover all tuition, meals and double accommodation.
The retreat site is spacious. The bedrooms are beautiful. The extensive grounds, gardens, shoreline, common rooms and enormous sun porches provide many private locations to curl up in and write.

If you prefer single accomodation, there is a $350 surcharge.
[quickshop:Single occupancy surcharge:price:350:end] $350 single occupancy surcharge

Payment schedule:
To save your spot, a non-refundable deposit of $500 is required at the time of every registration.

[quickshop:Deposit for Inkslingers July retreat:price:500:end] $500 Cdn. deposit for Inkslingers July retreat
To take full advantage of our earlybird fee structure, 50% of the registration fee must be paid by April 30th, 2011.

The entire registration fee must be paid in full by June 4th, 2011 (30 days before the retreat).

Cancellation Policy:
For a cancellation requested up to and including June 4th, all but the deposit is refundable. After June 4th, no refunds will be available, although, if the retreat is sold out, fully paid retreatants may transfer their fee to another person.

Please note that although the Centre is owned and operated by the Canadian Loretto Sisters, they do not reside on the premises and will not be attending the retreats.

Radical Restoration Retreat in Costa Rica

Registration is done on the Balanced Body Studio website. CLICK HERE to go to the website and register.

How would you like to spend a week in the jungle and on the beach, in deep communication with yourself, body and soul, through yoga, meditative dance movement and writing?

I am delighted to announce that I will be returning as the writing facilitator at a retreat on a large private estate on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica from February 15 to 29th, 2012. You may attend either one or both weeks. Price per person per week is $1300 and includes the program, all meals, and double accomodation, and local transportation. Air flights are extra.

Here is an article I wrote for the WordWeaver on our experience during February 2011:

Radically Restored Writer

by Susan Lynn Reynolds

Blue Morpho on the wingOver the last 20 years I have been on many writing retreats. The gift of time away from everyday life to rest and reconnect with that inner creator is invaluable to any artist. However, particularly for someone who so relentlessly processes words, this quiet time is essential.

At this moment I sit in a building open on three sides to the densely textured green jungle. I sip my coffee and watch a Morpho butterfly dance an erratic jig across the green tapestry. I have always associated the name “Morpho” with Morpheus, the god of sleep and assumed that they were given the name because they look like something from a dream.

Every morning at about this hour one of these giant blue creatures (the size of a sandwich plate and the colour of the most perfect summer sky) has performed this dance and then floated away. It’s probably the same butterfly each day. Its appearance contributes to this ongoing feeling that three days ago when I got off the plane I emerged into another universe—a space with no deadlines, no snowflakes, and lots of space and time to simply be.

I had heard about the marvelous yoga trip that WCDR member Deepam Wadds did to Costa Rica in February of 2010. When she asked if I would consider coming the next time to lead the group in writing every day, it seemed too good to believe; but that didn’t stop me from saying yes. I was desperately tired—tired from working and teaching every waking hour (the life of a freelancer writer), exhausted from living through the very recent death of my best friend. The trip couldn’t have come at a better time.

WCDR member Barbara Ponomeroff and Jenafir House, Poet and Relief Worker from HaitiNow I am sitting in the breakfast palapa at Alberge de Alma in Hatillo, Costa Rica. On the plate before me are chunks of banana (harvested right on this property), chunks of paypaya (ditto), pineapple (ditto); and whole grain toast with a variety of jams and spreads dotted around my plate like blobs of paint on a painters canvas: mango jam, guava jelly and chocolate spread, all made from fruit grown right here. Oh yes—and there’s that fuel indispensible for most writers: coffee. In this case, locally grown and roasted Costa Rican coffee. With every bite, flavour explodes in my mouth – and I don’t know whether it’s because these foods have never been vibrated in a truck or whether it’s just that I’ve slowed down enough over the last few days to pay serious attention to the way things taste. I think it’s a bit of both.

I woke briefly at 4:30 this morning to the barking of a dog and the experimental err-err-ERRR! of a rooster warming up like a poultry Pavarotti, but the orchestra didn’t swing into the full morning overture for another hour. The air is full of sound all the time here. Nearby livestock is always commenting on life in Hatillo, squawking and barking, neighing and lowing. The buzz and rattle of insects rises throughout the morning to a steady sound like the ringing of thousands of sleighbells that makes my ears throb when I tune into it. The shrieks and caws of various birds embroider the soundscape. And all day and all night the distant steady boom of the Pacific surf pulses like a slow heartbeat under it all.

Esana's compassionate yoga practiceAt 7:00 a.m. we assemble quietly in the yoga palapa—an open-sided structure on the mountainside. Esana leads us in the most astounding yoga practice I have ever experienced, despite all my years of Iyengar and Flow yoga. Through an hour and a half of deep presence, she turns us ever inward—she talks about “sensation” rather than “pain” or “discomfort” and reminds us that we are the authorities in choosing what our bodies need. The practice is deeply compassionate and self-loving. It reminds me of the instruction I give writers, especially memoirists—the permission to decide for themselves how deeply they want to go into their stories, how closely they choose to look at their material.

Group of yoga writers in Costa RicaAt 8:30, newly grateful for this incarnation, we go for the aforementioned explosive breakfast. And at 9:30 we gather together to write to prompts I prepare in response to the yoga practice from that morning. There’s usually a short teaching component, but mostly the writing is a furthering of this process of slowing down, going inside, going back, and connecting with our deepest knowing. Esana teaches yoga the way I teach writing, and the combination of the two practices one after the other, day after day, leads each writer deeper and deeper into their authentic voice. The group bonds—fast—and a sacred space is created where it’s safe to say things, safe to experiment with voice and story.

By 11:00 the formal activites are over for the day. Like the Morpho, we have danced through our morning routine and now float into the exotic green spaces to explore our own rhythms. The afternoons are totally free to do whatever – laze in the salt water pool, write, read or nap in the privacy of our rooms, walk along the deserted Pacific shore a short drive from the estate, go ziplining through the jungle, kayaking in the mangrove swamp, or—for those who are suffering electronic withdrawal—go into the town of Dominical and log on at the Internet café.

Wide open Costa Rica beach with two writersBy the end of our time here, one piece of inner knowing I have attained is that one week in this dreamtime space, especially when I have to stay tethered to the earth enough to teach well, is not enough. Next year we will come for two weeks.

When I get home I look up “Morpho” and discover it has nothing to do with Morpheus – it’s actually from an alternate name for the goddess of love, Aphrodite. Perhaps that makes even more sense. Through slowing down, through living in my body, and giving myself that time to write in the land of the Morpho, I have remembered how to love my life all over again.

The Details:
Registration is done on the Balanced Body Studio website. CLICK HERE to go to the website and register.

A $250.00 deposit is required to hold your spot for this. (Limited to 12 participants per week).

Writers’ Sanctuary Dates January to June 2012

As a mother of a young child I used to dream of having a place I could go to periodically to write. Not for too long – there was too much going on at home. But a day now and then – a few hours to devote to my poor book that so often got shunted to one side because of all the other demands of my life.

And then, as it has a habit of doing, life changed. My beautiful boy got older, I moved into this cozy space in the woods full of bookshelves, a fireplace, a kitchen where the coffee pot is always ready to pour a cup or two, and a yard where the wildlife parades past the windows and serenades day and night (everything from blue jays and chickadees, juncos and nuthatches, to wild turkeys, deer, a weasel, raccoons, skunks, coyotes, wolves, and – just a couple of times in the spring – a black bear).

It’s a magical space and I realized I could share it with other writers and make those creative days I had once dreamed of happen, for myself and for other members of the writing tribe.

And so, Writers’ Sanctuary Sundays were born.

At a Sanctuary Sunday, we begin at 10:00 a.m. Writers are welcome to arrive a few minutes early to settle in, grab a coffee or tea, and muffin or some fruit and chat with the others.

The morning is spent doing a series of on-the-spot timed writing exercises to stretch those stiff writing muscles and get the creative writer in you feeling more relaxed, focused and perhaps even a little experimental.

After the delicious lunch (provided) the afternoons are spent in silent communion with other writers, working either on a computer or by hand on whatever project is preoccupying you as a writer these days. If you don’t have a laptop but want to work on a keyboard, you will be provided with a computer. Your Word file can be emailed to you at the end of the day.

Uplands is in a peaceful rural location, so you are also welcome to go out for a walk on quiet country lanes if you need a break. There’s even a couch or two if you need your afternoon nap for half an hour to wake up refreshed and ready to write some more!

Writing is over at 4:45 p.m. for those who need to get home, but if you wish to stay, there will be an opportunity to sit a while longer, to share some of what you’ve been working on and to debrief, discuss issues of craft, etc.

02 Morning visitor January 11 2009

Space is limited.

Place: Uplands – 10 km west of Port Perry, 10 km southeast of Uxbridge.
Dates from September 2011 to June 2012:

For Fall 2011:

Saturday, October 15
Sunday, October 16
Sunday, November 6
Saturday November 19
Sunday, December 4th

For Winter/Spring 2012:

Sunday, January 8
Saturday, January 21
Sunday, February 5
Sunday, March 4
Sunday, March 25
Sunday, April 15
Sunday, May 6
Saturday, May 19
Sunday, June 3
Saturday, June 16

Cost: $65. per Sanctuary, lunch included.

[quickshop:Payment for Sanctuary:price:65:end] $65.00 Payment for each Sanctuary date from September 2011 to June 2012

Please Note: Because Sanctuary dates are so popular, and because the group is limited in size, your registration is not confirmed until payment is received. If you prefer not to use Paypal, you can pay by cheque. The mailing address is:

Sue Reynolds
13240 Mast Road,
Port Perry, ON
L9L 1B5

SOULCOLLAGE: In October 2010 Sue was certified as a SoulCollage® facilitator Click here to read more.

To read what one participant wrote about the Sanctuary experience, please click here.