Write on the Rails

Imagine yourself on the upper level of Amtrak’s California Zephyr as she winds her way across the Sierra Nevadas to Reno, November snow dusting the mountain tops and majestic pines parading past your window as you compose the opening scenes of your NaNoWriMo novel. Does it sound like a dream to your writer soul? Every year, a group of writers just like you make it a reality. Join us. You know you want to.

You don’t have to participate in NaNoWriMo to Write on the Rails with us in November, but you do have to engage the drive to ignore your inner editor and power through extraordinary word count goals if you want to get the most out of this 4-day retreat.

We meet at the Emeryville Amtrak station by 8 a.m. Friday, November 1 2019. We climb aboard, find our seats, and quickly meet up in the observation car with laptops, notebooks, snacks, and an eagerness to launch into our writing that cannot be denied. While the world slips past your window, you and your fellow writing passengers knock out word count goals faster than the train can pull through stations. We use writing prompts and sprints, timed focus blocks, scene synopsis challenges, and a whole lot of encouragement and moral support to keep you going. Think of our collective energy and enthusiasm as the steam that keeps your engine chugging away.

Before you know it, we disembark in Reno, hail an Uber, and are on our way to The Peppermill. Check in, settle in, put your feet up, and turn your brain off for an hour or so before meeting up with us again for dinner and socializing.

The group writing activities continue across the weekend in the main retreat room, with several 3- and 4-hour blocks you can sign up for (or opt out of) each day and into the night. You choose whether to write alone or with the larger group.

We’re back on the train early Monday morning. The observation car will probably be occupied for most of the trip, so make plans to pair off or write on your own to accomplish your return-trip goals.

When you embark on this adventure aboard The California Zephyr, you are a member of a tight-knit group of writers who have already connected on Facebook in a secret group where you have shared your word count goal, the premise of your novel, a brief idea of who you are, and whatever snacks and/or drinks you plan to bring on the trip. This group remains in play throughout the weekend as a tool to record achievements, set reminders, coordinate meals, make plans, and continue to encourage each other.

As the month progresses, so this Facebook group evolves. Consider it an extended retreat, where the idea of old-fashioned moral support in a modern world really comes into play and you find yourself invited to several follow-up write-ins and opportunities to share. This group exists to provide custom support, accountability, and camaraderie to this specific set of writers.

The Write on the Rails price includes:

  • group writing activities and discussions
  • workshopping the specific challenge(s) your project presents (optional)
  • individualized attention / one-on-one coaching
  • goal setting, tracking, and accountability to pull you through your project
  • time to write or dream on your own
  • opportunities to share your work with the group
  • opportunities to make deep and meaningful connections with other writers
  • the chance to write on a train as it crosses California, climbs snow-covered mountains, and emerges in Nevada
  • the chance to do it all again in reverse on the trip back
  • a solid chance to ‘win’ NaNoWriMo this year
  • invitations to follow-up private write-ins throughout November

The Write on the Rails price does NOT include:

  • train tickets and/or insurance and/or associated fees
  • accommodations and/or associated fees and/or deposits
  • food and/or beverages

Write on the Rails with us: $459*

The nonrefundable but fully transferable fee is required in full by October 31, unless other arrangements have been made. I regret that as a solopreneur I am unable to refund any part of the retreat—but if you can’t make it, you may sell or gift your place in the retreat to another writer or use it as credit for coaching or future workshops.

For alternative payment information, email Bronwyn Emery: info@toliveandwrite.org.

Take this opportunity to feed and pamper yourself with a writing adventure on the rails, just like you’ve always promised.

We’re excited to meet you and support your efforts and write along beside you.

Write on the Rails with us this November! You know you want to.

*If you would like us to take care of your train travel, hotel accommodations, and food and non-alcoholic beverages for this retreat, the total price becomes $1,000. Email info@toliveandwrite.org to discuss payment options.

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