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2025 Women’s Creative Writing Workshop Retreat: Inspirations for a New Year

January 2-8, 2025, seven days, six nights in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico.

It’s the start of 2025, a new year, and we are inspired to revisit the years passed and the one that now begins. What are our hopes, dreams, wishes, aspirations. What are our regrets. What memories come up that bring us gratitude, regrets, joy, or sadness. With published, award-winning author Marcia Meier guiding us, we approach our writing with honesty, openness, emotion and directness, to visit and revisit the people, places that shaped us. We express our yearnings, dig in and go deep, and to write in whatever genre speaks to us: memoir, journaling, fiction, personal essay, creative nonfiction, and poetry. We are here to express our relationship with life, love, loss and mourning. The new year is a launching pad to express ourselves.

New and seasoned writers are welcome. Come to kindle and rekindle the writer’s life.

A $500 deposit will secure your reservation. The cost is $2,395 for a shared room, and $2,995 for a private room. Space is limited to 10 writers.

Our Preliminary Schedule

Wednesday, January 2—Arrive to Oaxaca, travel to and settle into our Teotitlan del Valle retreat center by 4 p.m. Transportation from the airport to the village is at your own expense. Welcome dinner at 6 p.m. Introductions, schedule, and questions. Sign-ups for consultations.

Thursday, January 3—Breakfast is at 8 a.m. Writing workshop (including group feedback) with Marcia from 9 a.m. to noon; lunch from noon to 1:30; free writing time and individual 45-minute consultations 1:30-4:30 p.m. (consultations will be scheduled with Marcia during the welcome dinner on January 2; local artisan visit 4-30-6 p.m.; dinner at 6:30 p.m.

Friday, January 4—Breakfast is at 8 a.m. Workshop from 9 a.m.-noon with Marcia; lunch is noon to 1:30 p.m. Special topic “Crafting Your Project”, from 1:30-2:15 p.m. Free writing time and individual consultations 2:15-5:30. Dinner at 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, January 5—Breakfast is at 8 a.m. Workshop from 9 a.m.-noon with Marcia. Lunch is on your own in the village. From noon to 4 p.m. you have free time to either explore the village or to continue to write on your own. We will schedule individual consultations from 2:30-5:30 p.m. Dinner is at 6:30 p.m.  

Sunday, January 6— Breakfast at 8 a.m. Special topic, “Getting Published” 9-10 a.m. We will depart by van to the famous outdoor Tlacolula Market to explore local culture. Lunch will be with a traditional cook whose comedor is near the market. Workshop session will be held from 3-6 p.m. Light supper at 7 p.m.

Monday, January 7— Breakfast at 8 a.m. Workshop from 9 a.m.-noon with Marcia. Lunch on your own. Free writing time and individual consultations 1:30-5:30 p.m. 6 p.m. Final reading of work created during the week, followed by a Grand Finale Dinner.

Tuesday, January 8—Breakfast at 8 a.m. Goodbyes and departure. We will help you arrange transportation to the airport or the city by private taxi at your own expense.

We can also recommend lodging where you can extend your stay in Oaxaca City — come a few days early or stay later!

We reserve the right to make itinerary changes and substitutions as necessary.

Marcia Meier is an experienced workshop leader and published author who has led writing workshops for nearly 20 years. A longtime book editor and publisher, she is skilled at helping new and advanced writers find their voice on the page, learn the basics of craft, and giving effective and thoughtful feedback on work.

During each workshop day, we will have a brief craft discussion, share work and get feedback from Marcia and workshop participants. Marcia will also provide prompts for daily writing, with time to begin crafting your daily writing during workshop, if the schedule allows. Please bring a piece of writing (personal narrative, fiction or poetry) of no more than 1,000 words to get started.

What can you take away from this workshop? Deep understanding of how to craft an effective, persuasive and moving piece of writing; camaraderie with other like-minded writers and creatives; learning in a stunningly beautiful environment; and immersion in a friendly and ancient culture steeped in music, art, crafts, and spirituality. You’ll leave with increased skills, new friends, and deep gratitude for new experiences in a different culture.

Meet Marcia Meier

Marcia Meier is an award-winning writer, developmental book editor, writing coach, and publisher of Weeping Willow Books.

Marcia’s latest book, Face, A Memoir, was published in January 2021 by Saddle Road Press. Face was shortlisted for the Eric Hoffer Book Award grand prize and won honorable mention in the memoir category.

Her anthology, Unmasked, Women Write About Sex and Intimacy After Fifty, co-edited with Kathleen A. Barry, Ph.D., was published in 2018. Her other books include Ireland, Place Out of Time (Weeping Willow Books, 2017), Heart on a Fence, (Weeping Willow Books, 2016), Navigating the Rough Waters of Today’s Publishing World, Critical Advice for Writers from Industry Insiders (Quill Driver Books, 2010) and Santa Barbara, Paradise on the Pacific, (Longstreet Press, 1996). Her podcast, “Girl Talk, Women, Aging and Sexuality,” can be heard on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify and many other podcast platforms. Listen and subscribe here.

Marcia’s poems have appeared in Writers Resist, Prime Number Magazine online, the anthology Knocking at the Door, Poems About Approaching the Other, and Sage Trail Literary Magazine. She has studied with Carolyn Forché (Hedgebrook in March 2016) and Kim Addonizio (six-week poetry workshop in fall 2017). A newspaper journalist for nearly 20 years, she has freelanced or written for numerous publications, including the Los Angeles Times, The Writer magazine, Santa Barbara Magazine, Pacific Standard Magazine online and The Huffington Post.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and an MFA in creative writing, and has taught writing workshops and numerous college and university courses.

Marcia is a member of the Author’s Guild and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. She loves to take photographs, walk on the beach, write poetry and read good fiction.

Learn more about Marcia, her books, and other work at www.marciameier.com and www.weepingwillowbooks.com.

Teotitlan del Valle is our base. It is an ancient weaving village about thirty minutes beyond the hubbub of the city where ancient rituals are practiced much as they were hundreds of years ago. Our location provides a source of inspiration and spiritual connection.

There will be optional daily activities in our schedule: afternoon walks, and mini-seminars on writing topics such as writing effective description and dialogue, grammar, or submitting creative work for publication. Each person will have a private coaching session, too.

We will also schedule visits to local artisans to see how they make their work.

What is included?

  • Complete instruction with five workshop sessions
  • 6 dinners
  • 6 breakfasts
  • 3 lunches
  • 6 nights lodging
  • transportation to Tlacolula Market
  • artisan honoraria for demonstrations
  • mini-seminars on writing topics
  • one coaching session

What is a Workshop Session? The group meets daily for about three hours to actively listen to each other’s writing, giving supportive and constructive feedback about what resonates or not. We offer guidelines for the process. Everyone takes a turn to read and everyone participates. Writers may accept or reject suggestions. Workshops offer an important learning tool for writers to gain feedback about how their words are communicated and understood.

How to Register:  Cost is $2395 person for a shared room, and $2995 for a private room. A non-refundable $500 deposit will reserve your space. Send us an email to say you want to attend and if you want a shared or private room. We will send you a request for payment via Zelle transfer (no fees) or Square invoice to use a credit card (3.5% service fee) to secure your space. The balance will be due in two equal payments. The first payment will be due on April 1, 2024. The second and final payment will be due on October 1, 2024.

Required–Travel Health/Accident Insurance: We require that you carry international accident/health/emergency evacuation insurance with a minimum of $50,000 of medical evacuation coverage. Proof of insurance must be sent at least 45 days before departure. Unforeseen circumstances happen! Be certain your passport has at least six months on it before it expires from the date you enter Mexico!

Plane Tickets, Arrivals/Departures: Please send us your plane schedule at least 45 days before the trip. This includes name of carrier, flight numbers, arrival and departure time to/from our program destination.

Reservations and Cancellations.  We accept payment with Square or Zelle. We will send you an invoice when you tell us you are ready to register. After October 1, 2024, refunds are not possible. If you cancel on or before October 1, 2024, 50% of your deposit will be refunded, less the $500 reservation fee. After that, there are no refunds.

To further explain: if we cancel, participants receive a 100% refund. 

Travelers are required to take out international travel insurance. If you are too sick to travel and/or come down with covid, or your flights are cancelled or any other legitimate reason, you would file a claim for reimbursement with the insurance company. 

Covid is still with us. Please confirm that you have had all vaccines. Please bring 3 covid test kits and face masks for protection in densely populated markets.

Terrain, Walking and Group Courtesy: The altitude is almost 6,000 feet. Streets and sidewalks are cobblestones, some narrow and uneven. We will do some walking. If you have mobility issues or health/breathing impediments, please let me know before you register. Traveling with a small group has its advantages and also means that independent travelers will need to make accommodations to group needs and schedule. We include plenty of free time to go off on your own if you wish.

How to Get To Oaxaca: United Airlines operates direct flights from Houston. American Airlines operates direct flights from DFW. Delta Airlines has a codeshare with AeroMexico with a connection to Oaxaca from Mexico City. All other major airlines fly to Mexico City where you can made independent connections on Interjet, and VivaAerobus. Check Skyscanner for schedules and fares before you book.  Note: I always book directly with the carrier for better customer service.

Workshop Details and Travel Tips: Before the workshop begins, we will email you study tour details and documents that includes travel tips and information.

To get your questions answered and to register, contact Norma Schafer. This retreat is produced by Norma Schafer, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC.

Oaxaca Women’s Creative Writing Retreat 2020: Winter Holidays, Traditions

This is our 9th year offering this retreat! We will gather in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, from December 15 to 21, 2020, to reflect and write. Holiday traditions run deep here and it is a perfect place to explore our theme: ‘Tis the season for family, traditions, celebration, gift-giving, holiday expectations and disappointments, wishes fulfilled or not. The Christmas season evokes many memories and this is an opportunity to recreate them in a supportive environment. We are often inspired by our shared voices.

Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca church atop Zapotec temple ruins

You may even think about staying on in the village or in Oaxaca after the retreat, inviting your family to join you for the traditional posadas, Night of the Radishes, and other events that happen during this magical time of year.

We accommodate vegetarian and vegan diets

Winter solstice and other seasonal celebrations inspire us to revisit our memories of people and places, to dig in and go deep, and to write in whatever genre speaks to us: memoir, journaling, fiction, personal essay, creative nonfiction, and poetry. You will also participate in the Teotitlan del Valle Christmas posadas. Here you can explore traditional culture, values and celebrations to trigger your own experiences.

The last posada, December 24, when Baby Jesus arrives

New and seasoned writers are welcome. Come to kindle and rekindle the writer’s life.

Cost is $1,369 per person for a shared room, and $1,885 for a private room. A 50% deposit will reserve your space.

Participants meet local weaver in his studio

Retreat is limited to 10 participants.

See the Exquisite Corpse Poem from our 2019 writing retreat.

Planned Itinerary: 2020

  • Tuesday, December 15: Arrive and check-in to our retreat space. Group dinner. Introductions. (D)
  • Wednesday, December 16: Morning yoga (optional), breakfast, writing workshop, lunch, afternoon independent writing, optional activities, group dinner, coaching session (B, L, D)
  • Thursday, December 17: Morning yoga (optional), breakfast, independent writing, lunch, afternoon workshop, participate in Teotitlan del Valle posada, dinner on your own, coaching session (B, L)
Abuelos at the posada. What do you remember about your own grandparents?
  • Friday, December 18: Morning yoga (optional), breakfast, writing workshop, lunch, afternoon independent writing, optional activities/workshop visits or participate in Teotitlan del Valle posada, dinner on your own (B, L)
  • Saturday, December 19: Morning yoga (optional) breakfast, writing workshop, optional activities/workshop visits or participate in Teotitlan del Valle posada, dinner on your own (B, L)
  • Sunday, Sunday, December 20:  Morning yoga (optional) breakfast, writing workshop, lunch on your own, afternoon independent writing, optional activities/workshop visits, group reading and celebration dinner (B, D)
  • Monday, December 21: Breakfast and depart (B)

We reserve the right to make itinerary changes and substitutions as necessary.

Scene from Teotitlan del Valle mountain-top

You can add-on days in Teotitlan del Valle or Oaxaca before or after the retreat at your own expense. To get to Teotitlan del Valle, please buy a ticket at the airport for secure taxi service.

Noche de los Rabanos, December 23, Oaxaca City

There will be optional daily activities in our schedule: gentle yoga, afternoon walks, and mini-seminars on writing topics such as writing effective description and dialogue, grammar, or submitting creative work for publication. Each person will have a private coaching session, too. We will also arrange visits to the home workshops of local artisans so you can delve more deeply into the culture.

Beeswax candle making for the Posadas

What is included?

  • Complete instruction with 5 workshop sessions
  • 3 dinners
  • 6 breakfasts
  • 4 lunches
  • 6 nights lodging
  • transportation to local artisan studios
  • daily gentle yoga and meditation (optional, but included in fee)
  • mini-seminars on writing topics
  • one coaching session
Watching the posada go by on the street

Meet Robin Greene, Writer-Editor-Professor

We are pleased that Robin Greene is returning to lead this intensive writer’s retreat. This will be her ninth year teaching with us to rave reviews.

Novelist and Poet Robin Greene in Oaxaca, Mexico

Robin Greene is Professor of English and Writing and Director of the Writing Center at Methodist University in Fayetteville, NC, where she held the McLean Endowed Chair in English from 2013-2016. Robin has published two collections of poetry (Memories of Light and Lateral Drift), two editions of a nonfiction book (Real Birth: Women Share Their Stories), and a novel (Augustus: Narrative of a Slave Woman). Robin’s second novel, The Shelf Life of Fire, is published by Light Messages Publishing, 2019, and Robin is currently working on a sequel.

Notes, Women’s Creative Writing Retreat

Robin is a past recipient of a North Carolina-National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Writing, and has published over ninety pieces of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in literary journals. She has received two teaching awards, the latest of which, the Cleveland Award, received in 2017, is the most prestigious award offered by her university. Robin has given over a hundred academic presentations, literary readings, and writing workshops in a variety of venues throughout the US.

In addition, Robin is a registered yoga teacher (RYT200), cofounder and editor of Longleaf Press, and cofounder of Sandhills Dharma Group for Buddhist meditation. She holds a M.A. in English from Binghamton University and a M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Art at Norwich University.

Higadito, scrambled egg and chicken holiday breakfast

What is a Workshop Session? The group meets daily for three hours to actively listen to each other’s writing, giving supportive and constructive feedback about what resonates or not. We offer guidelines for the process. Everyone takes a turn to read and everyone participates. Writers may accept or reject suggestions. Workshops offer an important learning tool for writers to gain feedback about how their words are communicated and understood.

How to Register:  Cost is $1,369 per person for a shared room, and $1,885 for a private room. A 50% deposit will reserve your space. Send us an email to say you want to attend and if you want a shared or private room. We will send you an e-commerce invoice to secure your space.

Holiday decor in the markets to decorate mangers. What is/was yours?

Required–Travel Health/Accident Insurance: We require that you carry international accident/health/emergency evacuation insurance with a minimum of $50,000 of medical evacuation coverage. Proof of insurance must be sent at least 45 days before departure. In addition, we will send you by email a PDF of a witnessed waiver of responsibility, holding harmless Norma Schafer and Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC. We ask that you return this to us by email 45 days before departure. Unforeseen circumstances happen! Be certain your passport has at least six months on it before it expires from the date you enter Mexico!

Plane Tickets, Arrivals/Departures: Please send us your plane schedule at least 45 days before the trip. This includes name of carrier, flight numbers, arrival and departure time to/from our program destination.

Christmas turkey shopping in Tlacolula market

Reservations and Cancellations.  We accept payment by credit card with an e-commerce service. We will send you an itemized invoice when you tell us you are ready to register. After October 1, 2020, refunds are not possible. If there is a cancelation on or before October 1, 50% of your deposit will be refunded. After that, there are no refunds.

All documentation for plane reservations, required travel insurance, and personal health issues must be received 45 days before the program start or we reserve the right to cancel your registration without reimbursement.

Flocked, fake trees from El Norte, an imported tradition to Mexico

Terrain, Walking and Group Courtesy: The altitude is almost 6,000 feet. Streets and sidewalks are cobblestones, mostly narrow and have uneven paths. The stones can be a bit slippery, especially when walking across driveways that slant across the sidewalk to the street. We will do some walking. If you have mobility issues or health/breathing impediments, please let me know before you register. This  may not be the workshop/study tour for you. Traveling with a small group has its advantages and also means that independent travelers will need to make accommodations to group needs and schedule. We include plenty of free time to go off on your own if you wish.

Poinsettias are native to Mexico

How to Get To Oaxaca: United Airlines operates direct flights from Houston. American Airlines operates direct flights from DFW. Delta Airlines has a codeshare with AeroMexico with a connection to Oaxaca from Mexico City. All other major airlines fly to Mexico City where you can made independent connections on Interjet, Aeromar (code share with United), Volaris and VivaAerobus. Check Skyscanner for schedules and fares before you book.  Note: I always book directly with the carrier for better customer service.

Workshop Details and Travel Tips: Before the workshop begins, we will email you study tour details and documents that includes travel tips and information.

To get your questions answered and to register, contact Norma Schafer. This retreat is produced by Norma Schafer, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC.


Women’s Writing Retreat in Oaxaca, Mexico: Take a Discount and Express Yourself

This is our 8th year to offer the Oaxaca Women’s Creative Writing and Gentle Yoga Retreat from June 22-29, 2018. We want a full-house and are offering a 10% discount off the already high-value, low price of $895 for a shared room and $1195 for a single room. It’s not too late to get on board and join us.

Who is this for? Beginning and experienced writers, those who believe they can do it and need inspiration and coaching, note-jotters and margin-scribblers. Do you have an idea for a novel, a memoir, a prose poem, a travel piece or family history? This is the place for you.

See the complete course description HERE.

Send me an email with your interest HERE.

Please share with family and friends who would like this retreat.

Women’s Creative Writing and Gentle Yoga Retreat, June 22-29, 2018, Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico

Lifting Your Creative Voice Writing and Yoga Retreat

  • When: Arrive Friday, June 22  and Depart Friday, June 29
  • Where: Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico

This is our 8th year for the Oaxaca Women’s Creative Writing Retreat.  We welcome new, inexperienced writers and those who are more seasoned and want to go to the next level.  Some have published and many dream about it. We may write memoir, poetry, essays, creative non-fiction and fiction. The workshop-conference is a haven for exploration and encouragement. Writers of all genres and ages are invited.

Who Attends? Women with something to say.

  • You keep journals, notes, drafts of unpublished material.
  • You write on the backs of envelopes and scrap paper.
  • You dream of writing and never have. Maybe you dabble.
  • Ideas percolate, and you want to capture and develop them.
  • You want to merge the written word with photos, drawing or collage.
  • Perhaps you have written and/or published a while ago, let the writer’s life lapse, and you want renewal and encouragement.
  • You are a writer, and may want guidance and support to continue an unfinished piece or publish it.

Teotitlan del Valle church built atop Zapotec temple

Friday, June 22 to Friday, June 29, 2018 

  • $895 per person shared room with shared bath. Note: we have a limited number of shared rooms with private shared bath available. First come, first served. Otherwise, your bath will be across the courtyard and shared by several.
  • $1,195 per person single room with private bath

You arrive by Friday evening, June 22 and leave Friday morning, June 29, 2018. The comprehensive workshop fee includes 7 nights lodging, all breakfasts, all writing instruction and workshop sessions, a personal coaching/feedback session with the instructor, daily afternoon gentle yoga sessions, and a grand finale celebration reading and dinner. You might want to arrive a day early to settle in to avoid a late night arrival or missed connection.

Oaxaca Women’s Writing Retreat: Registration Open

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