The Doe Bay Work-On-That-Book Writers’ Retreat, June 4-8, 2014

UPDATE June 3, 2014: Yes, there’s still room! We start tomorrow night and you can still join our intimate group of 14 writers up on Orcas Island for this 4-day retreat with daily classes in writing personal narrative.

Do you dream about going away for a few days to work on your book, but not really sure you want to go do that all by yourself? Wouldn’t it be fun to go hole up with a group of like-minded individuals nearby but not so nearby that you can’t work? That’s what I’ve always wanted: Enough companionship to be inspired and enough solitude to do the work of creativity. And so, I decided to create just the type of retreat I want when I have a work in progress at one of the places I’ve gone many times to write over the last 15 years.

doe bay cafeThe Doe Bay Work-On-That-Book Writers’ Retreat will be four days in the stunning beauty of Orcas Island at Doe Bay Resort & Retreat. During those four days, you will have the opportunity to connect with a small group of focused writers in daily writing classes, a chance to meet socially at least once a day with our group, and lots of time to write in a beautiful location–either outside, in your cabin, or in the Otter Library–open 24 hours a day (yes, there’s Wifi). There will also be an Open Mic/Pizza Night, classes with guest teachers Nicole Hardy (Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin) and Natalie Singer (Managing Editor of Parent Map magazine), a group dinner in the Doy Bay Cafe (included), a group lunch at Cafe Olga in Eastsound (included) and a chance to go hiking, kayaking, and to yoga class (if you want to). See the complete schedule of events here.

Writers of all experience levels are welcomed.

Register early to hold your spot. Max enrollment: 19.

Register now:

Registration fee includes the cost of all retreat classes & activities and the cost of the Thursday lunch at Cafe Olga and Friday night group dinner in the Doe Bay Cafe (including tax and gratuity). Registration fees are nonrefundable but are transferable. If you prefer to pay by check, email me at

Pay the full registration fee of 499.00 dollars:

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Pay half the registration fee now, half on June 1st**:

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**You will be invoiced for the second half of the payment before June 1st.

Optional: Add on a one-hour coaching session with one of the instructors:

(You will receive a confirmation email after payment with your appointment time).

Add a one-hour coaching session with Theo Pauline Nestor for 99 dollars:

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Add a one-hour coaching session with Natalie Singer for 99 dollars:

(Feel free to bring Natalie your sample pitches for feedback or use your session to get general advice about submitting work to magazines, newspapers, and online sites).

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Add a one-hour coaching session with Nicole Hardy for 99 dollars:

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You have two choices for reserving accommodations at Doe Bay Resort & Retreat:

1) Pay now for a bed in a two-bedroom cabin shared with three others for June 4th through June 8th. Your assigned cabin will be  Agni (see a map of the resort here) and will include a kitchenette and large deck. Please note there are only eight of these spots shared cabin spots available. These shared cabins are for women only. Cost: 4 nights stay for a total of 280 dollars (includes tax). UPDATE 5/29: THIS OPTION IS SOLD OUT.

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2) Reserve a cabin, yurt, a bed in the Doe Bay Resort hostel, or even a campsite (there is a shared kitchen available) through Doe Bay Resort. To secure your preferred accommodations, you should make your reservation as soon as you register for the retreat. UPDATE May 30: There is one two-bedroom cabin with a kitchenette still available for 190 dollars a night (Padma). There are two waterless cabins remaining (Skyview and Upper Satva) as well as numerous spots in the hostel and the couple’s hostel room. Multiple yurt and camping options also remain.

Click here to reserve accommodations.

doe bayThe fine print: If you want to make sure that you and a friend share a bedroom in a pre-purchased shared cabin, please email me at In the pre-purchased shared cabins, your bed could be either a double bed or a lower-level bunk. Please note that you will likely want to bring food for Thursday breakfast as Doe Bay Cafe will be closed for breakfast that day. For the rest of the retreat, you could also prepare meals in your cabin or in the shared kitchen or you could eat your meals at the Doe Bay Cafe or in Eastsound. The cost of Friday night dinner  and Thursday lunch (including gratuity and tax) is included in your registration fees as is the cost of the drop-in yoga class if you wish to attend. Rental kayaks and massages are available at Doe Bay Resort for additional fees. Doe Bay Resort & Retreat has a beautiful outdoor hot tub and sauna that is clothing optional in the evening hours and clothing.

You can also participate in the retreat and stay offsite if you wish.

If you have any questions about the retreat, feel free to email me at

Getting There:orcasmap

Doe Bay Resort is located on the west side of Orcas Island in Washington State’s San Juan Islands. Find complete directions here.

Link to Washington State Ferries website.

Kenmore Air is currently running a 50 dollar discount on flights from Seattle to Orcas Island for travel booked before May 12th. Doe Bay participants will want to fly into the Rosario Resort. The Doe Bay Resort and Retreat van offer a shuttle for a fee of 10 dollars/person with a two-person minimum. Call the resort to arrange shuttle ahead of time: 360-376-2291


Writing the Memoir with Theo Pauline Nestor

2013-11-18 03.30.17In this daily class, I will be covering the following issues/concepts/skills essential to memoir writing: Understanding your book’s central question, generating material, organizing your material, scene development, transitions, writing a memoir that tells a story larger than yourself, the multi-narrative memoir, developing your narrator as a character, passionate confusion, finding your voice as a writer, prologues/introductions/first chapters, including wisdom in your writing, writing the book you were born to write. Really.



WIMD 34Theo Pauline Nestor is the author of Writing Is My Drink: A Writer’s Story of Finding Her Voice (And a Guide to How You Can Too) (Simon & Schuster, 2013) and How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed: A Memoir of Starting Over (Crown, 2008), which was selected by Kirkus Reviews as a 2008 Top Pick for Reading Groups and as a Target “Breakout Book.” An award-winning instructor, Nestor has taught the memoir certificate course for the University of Washington’s Professional & Continuing Education program since 2006. Nestor also produces events for writers such as the Wild Mountain Memoir Retreat, Bird by Bird & Beyond, and the Black Mesa Writers’ Intensive, featuring talks by literary luminaries such as Anne Lamott, Cheryl Strayed, Julia Cameron, and Natalie Goldberg.

How a Poet Taught Herself To Write a Memoir (In a Hurry!) with Nicole Hardy

Thoughtful FaceHow does one navigate the potential pitfalls of crossing genre lines? This class will focus on that question, with an eye toward scene and structure, dialogue, character building, and narrative arc–noting how poetry did (or didn’t) prepare me for the project of crafting a memoir. I’ll share my own hard-won list of Dos & Don’ts, offer some practical advice, and reveal a few Before & After excerpts from Confessions of a Latter-day Virgin.


virginNicole Hardy is the author of the memoir Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin and the poetry collections This Blonde and Mud Flap Girl’s XX Guide to Facial Profiling–a chapbook of pop-culture inspired sonnets. Her non-fiction has appeared in literary journals and newspapers including The New York Times, and was selected as ‘notable’ in 2012’s “Best American Essays.” She earned her MFA at the Bennington College Writing Seminars, and is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Visit her at

How To Pitch an Editor, Not Piss Her Off with Natalie Singer

Natalie Singer

Natalie Singer

Getting your articles and essays published in magazines or online is a great way to build your platform and gather attention for your upcoming book. But how do you get the interest of an editor who probably receives 10 … 20 … 200 pitches a day? How do you communicate to the faceless editor across the Internet that you have the story she wants to publish next?

Good pitches don’t happen automatically, and they don’t come naturally to many of us. Good pitches are learned and practiced. They should reflect the voice and energy that your writing does and grab an overworked editor’s attention in a unique way. In this session you will hear how to create solid pitches from a real, live, beating-heart editor.

parent mapNatalie Singer-Velush is the Managing Editor of ParentMap magazine and A longtime journalist, multi-tasker and mother of two, Natalie has written for newspapers, magazines and blogs and once pumped breast milk in the bathroom of the Superior Courthouse while covering a murder trial. Natalie is Canadienne via California and now lives in Seattle with her family. She likes cool sheets, cupcakes, tall men and obedient children. In between fielding 200 (often crappy) pitches a day, Natalie is at work on a memoir. Follow her on Twitter @Natalie_Writes

About Theo Pauline Nestor

Author of Writing Is My Drink (Simon & Schuster) and How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed. Learn more about my courses, editing, and coaching at
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4 Responses to The Doe Bay Work-On-That-Book Writers’ Retreat, June 4-8, 2014

  1. Pingback: Registration for the Doe Bay Work-On-That-Book Writers’ Retreat Is Now Open | Writing Is My Drink

  2. Pingback: How to Pitch an Editor, Not Piss Her Off | Natalie Singer Writes

  3. Pingback: Celebrating Current Achievements | Alligator Juniper

  4. Pingback: Free Coaching Session for the Next 3 Doe Bay Retreat Signups! | Writing Is My Drink

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