Write on the Rails 2021

Two spots left!

Friday, August 20 through Monday, August 23

Imagine yourself on the upper level of Amtrak’s California Zephyr as she winds her way across the Sierra Nevadas to Reno, rising steadily into the mountains, majestic pines parading past your window as you compose the opening scenes of your 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 be writing a novel to Write on the Rails with us this summer, 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 at 8 a.m. Friday, August 20. 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.

Bring your favorite mask, because it has to be worn the entire time. You can opt out of the train ride and drive if you don’t want to wear a mask for the entire journey, but you must have proof of Covid-19 vaccination to attend this writing retreat.

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’ll use writing prompts and sprints, timed focus blocks, scene synopsis challenges, and a whole lot of encouragement and moral support to keep you going. Our collective energy and enthusiasm will be the steam that keeps your engine chugging away.

Before you know it, we’ll be disembarking in Reno, hailing an Uber, and 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 retreat suite, 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 months progress, so this Facebook group evolves. Think of it as 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
  • membership in a secret Facebook group
  • invitations to follow-up write-ins through the rest of the year, exclusive to retreat participants

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 for $399*

The nonrefundable but fully transferable fee is required in full by August 1, 2021. 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 info@toliveandwrite.org.

To Live & Write retreats are hosted by Bronwyn Emery, the writing and creativity coach behind this organization. She keeps the groups small to provide a strong level of individual attention and facilitate connection and support among participants. Each retreat is a safe space because she believes in (and has witnessed) their power to invite access to deeper expression and stimulate new levels of creativity.

Basic schedule: You are an adult and may opt in and out of most of the scheduled activities. Dinner together is the one mandatory event on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 

900am-1000am: Gather in the observation car or retreat suite to set goals and intentions for the day and do Daily Pages.
1000am-100pm: Morning session: Timed focus blocks and check-ins for writing, pacing,  and goal-spotting. 
100pm-300pm: Lunch break: pair off, enjoy time alone, or join a group for a meal and rest. 
300pm-600pm: Afternoon session: Fewer Timed focus blocks with longer stretches between check-ins for writing, pacing, and goal-spotting.
600pm-800pm: Dinner break: We all dine together at an agreed time and place
800pm-900pm: Proof of Write: prove you wrote that day by reading up to 5 minutes of the day's work to the group for positive feedback 

*This is a one-time special “welcome back to the world of in-person retreats!” price. Future retreats will average $150-$200 per day, excluding travel, meals, and accommodations. If you would like us to take care of your train travel, hotel accommodations, and food and non-alcoholic beverages for either retreat, Email info@toliveandwrite.org to discuss details and payment options.

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