Writing Retreats

IMG_9170Which type of Writing Retreat is right for you?

Sometimes is seems like everything in our daily lives can get in the way of our writing time. Work, play, family, travel, and a million other things can conspire to push our reading, writing and editing time further and further away. So occasionally we need to step out of our daily lives and make a specific, immersive, dedicated time to focus on our work. Writing retreats are gifts writers give themselves, investments in moving their writing work and their projects forward.  So for writers who need a serious jump-start, a writing experience that is more intensive than just a class, a Writing Retreat might be just what you need.  These retreats are a chance to settle down and focus on your writing for a day, a long weekend or even for a couple of weeks.

We off two types of Writing Retreats: Private solo Writing Retreats in the location of your choice or the Annual 10-Day Boulder Projects Retreat held in June of each year.

Private Writing RetreatsIMG_0038_2

Private customized writing retreats can be held in Boulder, Colorado, on the small Caribbean island of St.John USVI or in another location of your choice. These retreats can be especially useful to writers immersed in a specific project or manuscript. On Private Writing Retreats students are housed in hotels, B+Bs, rental apartments, villas, houses or cottages. Private Writing retreats run anywhere from 2 to 25 days and can be scheduled at various times throughout the year. Private retreats include the option to meet with Max one on one every day reading/evaluating/editing your work including doing a full Read/Eval of manuscripts in progress. These daily coaching sessions give you the chance to discuss the work in detail and get specific, customized support in moving your work forward. Private sessions with Max begin at $90/hr. and the minimum tuition for private Retreats is generally $180/ 2 hrs per day. Tuition does not include student’s housing costs, round trip airfare, ground transportation or meals, unless you choose to add these items to your tuition and have us arrange these details for you.

For Private Writing Retreats in Boulder, Colorado, writers stay in downtown Boulder, walking distance to stores, shops and the Pearl Street walking mall. Boulder is a beautiful college town at the foot of the Rocky Mountains and is a great place to visit at any time of year. If you are a skier, hiker, bookstore wanderer, foodie or even if you just need a quiet place to get away from home, relax and work intensively on your project. If you work best in small, charming, walkable towns at the foot of the mountains then this is the place for you.

To see more information about Boulder Colorado, scroll down this page to the info on the Annual Boulder Projects Retreat.

For Private Writing Retreats on the island of St.John, in the US Virgin Islands, writers stay in small private villas, or the full-service Westin hotel or in one of the world-famous Eco-campgrounds on the island. St. John is a US territory just a few flight hours from Miami, so no travel visa, passport or inoculations are required for entry. Two thirds of the island is a National Park, so it is a small quiet place of white sand beaches with flat, warm, crystal-clear blue water. If you are most relaxed and productive when living by the sea, the this is the place for you. PLEASE NOTE: as of January 2018 the island of St.John USVI is still in recovery mode for the two major hurricanes it survived in September of 2017. The island and the national park are well on their way to recovery, but Private Retreats will resume on St.John in 2019.

Private Retreats in Other Locations

Private Retreats may also be set up in other locations; Max has designed customized writing retreats for recent clients traveling to the island of Hydra in Greece; Vail, Colorado; Traverse City, Michigan, Salt Lake City, Utah and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. To inquire about setting up a Private Retreat please contact Max.

images-5The Boulder June Writing Projects Retreat

Session 1: June 7-16, 2019 – OPEN

Session 2: June 21-30, 2019 – OPEN

This annual retreat is for writers with a current writing project or idea. What if you had 10 days just to focus on your writing? We all have writing projects that end up “on the back burner” waiting for us to have a day off, a week’s vacation or an imagined “someday” during which we can pull out those files and notebooks, sit down, get organized and really get some writing done. But when those times arrive, they invariably fill up with other tasks and events, leaving us wondering if that project will ever see the light of day. This 10- day writing retreat is a chance to step out of your everyday lives, work and schedules, and dedicate some time to getting your writing project off the ground. We will meet together in small groups once a day to talk and strategize about the work that needs to be done. Together we will discuss your project and come up with a work-plan customized for each student. Every other evening we will hold a Salon to share a meal and hear some of your work-in-progress. Tuition includes two private sessions with Max to discuss your project in-depth, one at the beginning of the retreat and one at the end. By the end of the week each project should be more structured and well underway. This retreat is open to local students as well as those joining us from writing communities outside of Boulder. We welcome all your messy files, old journals, disorganized pages and wild ideas, no matter how tiny or gigantic. Tuition is $1500 and does not include airfare, housing or meals. There is a $450 deposit and registration is limited. Two different Retreat sessions are offered in June. Each session is a separate event with its own roster and curriculum. For students who want to attend both sessions (“marathoners”) we will offer the Marathon Discount, $200 off your total tuition.

What is your Writing Project?

Maybe you have an unfinished novel or story. Maybe you have a stack of journals that you have always wanted to transform into a memoir. Maybe you are right in the middle of a writing project and need to get the whole thing organized. Maybe you have a series of poems you would love to edit and turn into a collection. Maybe you have a family lineage project, a book or collection of stories you would like to leave for future generations. Maybe you are on the final edit of a book before you send it out to publishers and you need to read it with new eyes. Or maybe you just have a compelling idea for a project that will simply not leave you alone. Regardless of what stage of the writing process you are in, this immersive 10 days of working every day will help you bring your project to life.

images-3Daily Retreat Schedule

The goal is simply to focus on your writing project, without distractions or procrastination. We will begin with a hosted Welcome Dinner on the first evening of the Retreat. Then the group will be divided into two small working groups, with 5 to 8 writers each. Each small group will meet once a day for a 2hour class, either in the morning or in the evening. If your group met in the morning yesterday then you will meet in the evening today. During our daily classes we will sit and outline your goals and discuss the aspects of the writer’s craft that will help you accomplish your work. What do you want to get done? Where are you stuck? What comes easily? Where will you do your work today? Do you prefer to write in your house, hotel room or cottage? Maybe you will choose to work in a quiet library cubicle or in a local coffee shop. Maybe you need to sit by the creek and read for a few hours. Each writer will have a lot of solo work time during every day, and every other evening we will meet for a group Salon, a chance to check in, see how the work went, share a meal and read to one another from the work in progress. Each small group will have certain mornings and evenings off to write, read, sleep in or just relax. Max will schedule two one-on-one private sessions with each writer, one at the beginning of the retreat and one at the end, to discuss your specific project, text and goals.

UnknownDowntown Boulder

Boulder is a beautiful little college town at the foot of the Rocky Mountains 30 miles northwest of Denver. (In fact National Geographic voted us the happiest town in the USA in October 2017! check out the article here: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/destinations/north-america/united-states/happiest-cities-united-states-2017/)

Our June Retreat class will be centered in the downtown area of Boulder, and daily classes will be held upstairs in the Upper North Room at Boulder Bookstore located on the Pearl Street walking mall. Pearl Street has many small cafes, shops, and benches where you can sit in the sun. You might also chose to write in one of the quiet spaces at the modern and light-filled Boulder Public Library. While the focus of this week is to organize your project and to get a lot of writing done, we will also have time to play. If you need a break, you might rent a bike from University Bikes and ride down the Boulder Creek Path, hike in the foothills, wander the Farmer’s Market or catch an outdoor movie or live band playing on Pearl Street mall. There are local copy shops for those who need to copy or print and many places have free WiFi, for those who need to check email or do some research.

Travel and Housing

Non-stop flights from Baltimore, Houston, and many other cities go into Denver International Airport, which is about 45 minutes southeast of Boulder. When you arrive in Denver you will board the bus, uber or van service to your hotel or accommodation. Please note that the round trip cost of the shuttle is not included in the tuition. There are many different places to stay in downtown Boulder, depending on your budget, from rental houses and apartments to small hotels to B+Bs to cottages to luxury hotels. Please arrange to stay as close to downtown Boulder (Pearl Street and 11th st.) as possible so that you can walk or take public transportation to and from class everyday. Check out http://www.vrbo.com to see vacation rental homes downtown, renting an apartment and sharing accommodations with other retreat participants may be the least expensive option. If you are interested in attending either session of the Retreat, we suggest that you look for and secure housing AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, especially if you would like accommodations within walking distance to The Boulder Bookstore where our daily class meetings will be held.


There is a large organic grocery store within walking distance of downtown Boulder, as well as numerous restaurants and cafes catering to every taste and price range. Folks renting houses, apartments or cottages may have kitchens of their own and might choose to prepare meals together. We will have four Salon dinners which will be hosted by Max with simple, healthy food. Our Welcome Dinner will be held at The Dushanbe Teahouse, which officially opened on May 15, 1998, a gift from Boulder’s sister city, Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Handcrafted by more than 40 Tajik artisans, it is the only one of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.

Extending Your Stay

Retreat writers who want a bit more time away from home may take the option of staying in Boulder and continuing their work for a few days after the 10- day retreat has ended.


The Retreat will start with a group dinner on Friday evening and students generally depart 10 days later on Monday. Tuition for each session of the retreat is $1500, it includes daily class sessions, 2 private sessions with Max and 5 dinners.

We would love to have you join us, but please make sure the class dates and deadlines work for you before you register:

  • Registration opens on July 1st 2018. A $450 non-refundable deposit is required upon Registration, which holds your place in the class. If you require a Payment Plan please contact Max as soon as possible. For cancellations between Registration and March 1st, students forfeit their deposit. 
  • Balance of the Tuition, $1050 is Due By May 1st, 2018.
  • For cancellations after May 1st students are responsible for the full tuition.

Students are responsible for their own airfare, housing, meals and ground transportation once they arrive in Boulder. Registration for the retreat is limited. We do suggest that students book their Boulder summer housing as soon as possible after registration in order to get the best price and selection. This retreat fills to capacity almost every year but there is a waiting list, so if you don’t get a seat place let us know. If you have any questions about the Retreat, payment plans, logistics or anything else, just email Max at hollowdeckpress@mac.com