WRITING RETREATS with STORYSTUDIO

Put your responsibilities on hold for a while as you join us on one of our many writing retreats. We’re pleased to once again partner with Ragdale, as well as various other organizations, to provide time, space, and inspiration for your writing. Our instructors and locations will change year to year, and we’re excited to continue to grow our offerings.


RAGDALE

For over 100 years, Ragdale has provided the time and space for artists and writers to delve deeply into creative endeavors, and today it has a tangible energy that feeds your work from the moment you arrive.

“One of the unique features of Ragdale is its unbroken continuity as a center for art and creativity. It has been, without interruption, the home of artists.” 

– Arthur Miller, in the Introduction to Ragdale: A History and Guide by Alice Hayes and Susan Moon.

Located in Lake Forest, Illinois, Ragdale has a spectacular setting that offers the best of nature and architecture. We are honored to partner with Ragdale to offer writers a place to retreat and workshop.

In 2024, we’re pleased to offer 4 retreat dates:

Feb. 19-24 (week long) – JULIA FINE
April 12-14 (weekend) – TARA BETTS
June 10-15 (week long) – MEGAN STIELSTRA & EIREN CAFFALL
Sept. 23-28 (week long) – RACHEL DEWOSKIN

UPCOMING RAGDALE RETREAT DATES
(click each date for more options)

Special Week-Long Master Workshop: September 23-28, 2024 with Rachel DeWoskin

Theme for the week: Writing Wonder

Writers are often advised to “write what you know,” but what if we treat wonder, rather than knowledge, as the engine of art? We will spend this week together exploring ways to consider profound questions through art. Our research will come from reading, observing, listening, imagining, remembering, and writing. James Baldwin once said of the difference between preaching and writing that,“When you are standing in the pulpit, you must sound as though you know what you’re talking about. When you’re writing, you’re trying to find out something which you don’t know. The whole language of writing for me is finding out what you don’t want to know, what you don’t want to find out. But something forces you to anyway.” We will keep Baldwin’s idea close as we read and talk about vivid poems, stories, and essays, and work on writing that asks questions in kaleidoscopic and nuanced ways.

Special Week-Long Master Workshop: February 19-24, 2024 with Julia Fine

As part of Ragdale’s series of Master Workshops, StoryStudio is proud to offer a week-long experience, led by Julia Fine. Spots for the retreat are first come, first served, limited to 10 attendees. Click below for different rooms and prices. Details on the theme (“Trusting Your Instincts”) can be found on each room page.

The Retreat’s Theme: Trusting Your Instincts
You can read every craft book, follow every formula, and hew to every rule, but at a certain point as writers you will have to rely on your gut feeling. An editor might love a passage in your book, but something in you says it just isn’t hitting. Your intricate outline tells you to take the story in one direction, but a little voice keeps leading you off track. What should you do? How do we honor both the work and our feelings surrounding it?

This week, we’ll hone our instincts so that we can feel comfortable trusting them. We’ll look at how to set up for success with prewriting and prep work that still leaves room for creativity and play, talk candidly about changing gears when something isn’t right, and dig deep to find the truths we’ve been avoiding. Writers should come away from this retreat with a strong sense of how and when to follow their gut, and an assortment of tools to help them do so.

Weekend One: April 12-14, 2024 with Tara Betts

Ragdale and StoryStudio Chicago are pleased to announce our first weekend retreat of the year this spring, April 12-14, with author Tara Betts. Spots for the retreat are first come, first served. Click below for different rooms and prices. Details on the theme to come.

Special Week-Long Master Workshop: June 10-15, 2024 with Megan Stielstra AND Eiren Caffall (SOLD OUT)

Ragdale and StoryStudio Chicago are pleased to announce the second week-long experience of 2024, led by two instructors: Megan Stielstra AND Eiren Caffall. Spots for the retreat are first come, first served, limited to 9 attendees. Registration opens March 28.

If I could return to Ragdale for another StoryStudio retreat tomorrow, I would! It was the perfect combination of craft talks, writing time, prompts, community, student readings, time to wander the prairie, time to WRITE…

Margaret G

THANK YOU for one of the most special, productive, joyous, cozy writing experiences of my life.

Sunshine B.

Chef Linda was absolutely incredible. The grounds, facilities, and access to nature trails were amazing. The new Shearer studio exceeded expectations.

Debbie L.

I loved that there was a LOT of independent time. How wonderful and freeing to let go of looking at the clock and just paying attention to my body and what I needed/felt in the moment.

Julie L.



DO YOU HAVE A COTTAGE, FARM, BEAUTIFUL CASTLE YOU’D LIKE TO OFFER UP FOR A RETREAT LOCATION? WOULD YOU LIKE TO PARTNER WITH US FOR A RETREAT?

EMAIL OUR DIRECTOR OF SIGNATURE PROGRAMS, SARA CUTAIA: SARA@STORYSTUDIOCHICAGO.ORG