A Typical Day

Each day at Wordsmith is a carefully calibrated mix of instruction, conversation, quiet working time, and fun. 


These are the kinds of things we do:


5:00pm - Check in at Retreat House

7:00pm - Dinner provided by our private chef

8:30pm - Introductions



9:00am - Breakfast 

10:00am - Query workshop with Beth and Cristin

1:00pm - Lunch

2:00pm - One-on-one critiques and quiet writing time

7:00pm - Dinner

Evening - Quiet writing or leisure time / Group Game / Discussion 

9:00am - Breakfast 

10:00am - Two craft workshops with Beth and Cristin

12:00pm - Skype Q&A with a top literary agent

1:00pm - Lunch

2:00pm - One-on-one critiques and quiet writing time

7:00pm - Dinner

Evening - Quiet writing or leisure time / Group Game / Discussion 



We'll be joined for the day by a local author who will do a Q&A and hang out and write with us, making themselves available for further conversation. Past guests have included Jennifer L. Armentrout, Kimberly Derting, and Jackson Pearce. 

9:00am - Breakfast 

10:00am - Demystifying Publishing with Beth and Cristin

12:00pm - Guest Author Q&A

1:00pm - Lunch

2:00pm - One-on-one critiques and quiet writing time

7:00pm - Dinner

8:30pm - Group Reading 

Evening - Party Time!

9:00am - Breakfast

10:00am - Final group meeting and discussion

11:00am - Head home!


These are the kinds of things we eat:


Dinner - Lasagna, baked zucchini spears, mixed salad, garlic bread

Dessert - Apple pie a la mode


Breakfast - Scrambled eggs, bacon, cinnammon rolls

Lunch - Grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato basil soup, potato chips

Dinner - Crispy chicken cutlets, green beans almondine, and homemade mac and cheese

Dessert - Cheesecake shooters with fresh strawberries



Breakfast - Buttermilk pancakes, sausage, home fries

Lunch - Pulled pork sandwiches, beer cheese soup, avocado salad

Dinner - Grilled steak or chicken, loaded baked potatoes, salad

Dessert - Lemon meringue pie


Breakfast - Cheesy grits, turkey bacon, French toast

Lunch - Club sandwich sliders, potato salad, and mixed fruit

Dinner - Pizza, salad

Dessert - Warm brownie sundaes



Breakfast - Bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast burritos

Attending my first Wordsmith Workshop was one of the best things I've done both professionally and personally for my writing career. I came away with increased confidence in my work, newfound friendships, and a renewed enthusiasm for the writing process. I couldn't sign up for another retreat fast enough!

Cassie Gustafson: Spring 2017, Fall 2018, Summer 2019, Fall 2019

—  Name, Title



Are your retreats for me?

Probably! Our attendees have had a range of experience, from those in the early stages of their first novel to authors who have been published with major houses. We’ve had writers of all ages writing everything from chapter books to chick-lit. The retreats are designed to be the most beneficial to those who are seriously pursuing publication with middle-grade or young adult novels, but anyone who wants to learn, meet like-minded people, and have a good time is welcome.

And if you want to get a feel for us before you commit to an in-person retreat, just head over to Wordsmith Online to check out our offerings you can try from the comfort of your own couch!


How many people attend the retreats?
Retreats are capped at fourteen writers. We’ve found this to be an ideal number that allows for a diverse and lively group that is still small enough for an intimate feel where everyone gets to know each other well.


What if I don't know anyone?

You will! Once you sign up for a retreat, you will be added to our private Facebook group where you can start to get to know your fellow attendees, exchange work, ask questions of Wordsmith alumni, and more, so you’ll start to make friends before you even arrive.


But if Facebook isn’t your thing, don’t worry! Because our retreats are intimate groups of fourteen and because Cristin used to be a summer camp counselor who knows lots of silly bonding games, we promise you’ll know everyone by the time you go to sleep the first night. We’ve yet to hold a single retreat that wasn’t attended by 100% awesome people.

What's the dress code?

We’re very casual, so whatever you feel comfortable in is fine. Yoga pants and pajamas are perfectly acceptable retreat-wear!


I have a dietary restriction or am a picky eater. Can you accommodate me?

Of course! Our private chef Lynn is happy to work with you if you can’t eat something on the menu or just plain don’t like what she’s serving. (Just ask any of our previous attendees, you’re never in any danger of going hungry at Wordsmith!) You’re also welcome to bring any food or drinks you want to have with you. If you have particularly extreme dietary restrictions, you may need to supplement our menu with your own food.

How available are Beth and Cristin during the retreat?

Very available! Beth and Cristin eat, sleep, work and play right alongside you throughout the entire retreat. Think of a question during lunch about the craft workshop Beth held that morning? Just lean over and ask her. Did you revise your query based on Cristin’s feedback? Have her take another look before dinner. Want to hear some great behind-the-scenes publishing gossip? Just pour Beth another glass of wine. (Just kidding! Maybe.)​

How do the critiques work?

We review the first 3,500 words of your manuscript and a synopsis prior to the start of the retreat. During the retreat, you will have an individual meeting with Beth on Thursday and Cristin on Friday (or vice-versa). Beth’s critique will focus on the big picture of your novel, identifying problem spots in your plot or structure and troubleshooting them with you. Cristin’s critique will be based on your opening pages, helping you to refine things like characterization, voice, and style. Together you’ll receive a holistic overview of your manuscript and be able to tackle changes in the second half of the retreat with Beth and Cristin there to help if issues crop up.


How much writing time will I get?

Lots! Beth and Cristin teach in the mornings for two to three hours and you will have individual meetings with them that will take up another hour or so, but other than that, your time is free to use however you see fit, whether that’s writing, talking through a tricky spot in your manuscript with a new friend, or taking a dip in the pool.

Do you offer payment plans?

Absolutely! We'll do everything we can to work with you to make it possible for you to attend a retreat.

Have a question we didn't answer?

Just email us! We're happy to chat with you about it.

The Fine Print

Cancellation Policy

All retreats are contingent upon a minimum sign-up. If that minimum isn’t reached within sixty days of the retreat, the organizers reserve the right to cancel and refund your money. 


If you need to cancel your spot for any reason, you will receive a full refund minus a $25 administrative fee if you cancel more than ninety days before the start of the retreat. If you cancel thirty to ninety days before the retreat, you will receive a full refund minus a $25 administrative fee if we can fill your spot with another writer; otherwise, you will forfeit your deposit but receive a refund for any other monies paid. No refunds or rain checks will be issued for cancellations made within thirty days of the retreat if we cannot fill the spot with another writer.

In the event of a cancellation by the organizers due to inclement weather or emergency, refunds will be issued but no compensation will be provided for any travel expenses. We recommend purchasing trip insurance.

Due to circumstances beyond the control of Wordsmith Workshops, the retreat house advertised may become unavailable. The organizers will make every effort to secure a comparable house in the same general area for the retreat. If one cannot be obtained, you will receive a full refund. Refunds will not be issued if a comparable house in the same general area is obtained.

If either Beth or Cristin is unable to attend a retreat due to illness or a family emergency, every effort will be made to replace her with another published author and instructor, and you will receive your critique from the missing author via email. Refunds will not be issued due to the absence of either Beth or Cristin.


Harassment Policy

Wordsmith Workshops should be a safe, accessible place for all participants and guests. It is expected of our participants to behave in such a manner that they not violate the boundaries of other participants, including harassment or abuse of any kind. 


Be respectful of those around you. Other people and their personal effects should not be touched; everyone deserves a right to privacy, even in a shared room. Unwanted attention includes comments on one’s body or staring at another person at inappropriate times. 


Alcohol may be available on the grounds. All participants are expected to know their limits and will be asked to leave the retreat if they act inappropriately. Underage participants are not to drink alcohol at all. The organizers reserve the right to confiscate alcohol from any underage participants or anyone they deem to be overly intoxicated.


If you are harassed or witness the harassment of another, please let the organizers know. We will provide you with a safe space and remove the threat immediately. You are welcome to approach the organizers at any time throughout the workshop retreat with any concerns that you may have.


Once a complaint has been filed, the organizers will consult with the victim in order to develop an appropriate repercussion for the inappropriate behavior. The organizers reserve the right to eject a disruptive participant from the location of the workshop, and that person must provide their own transportation off the premises. No refund for the workshop retreat will be provided. Anyone asked to leave a workshop will not be allowed to attend any future workshops. 


This policy applies to the organizers as well. Should any organizer be the source of the harassment or inappropriate behavior, please report that to the other organizer. Your safety is our utmost concern. 


Definition of Harassment: to create an unpleasant or hostile situation, especially by uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical conduct. Types of harassment include, but are not limited to: physical assault, battery, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of activities, inappropriate or unwelcome physical contact, unwelcome sexual attention, negative comments—regardless of whether or not the comments are intended as a joke—regarding any of the following: gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, age, race, religion, country or origin, or anything else the organizers deem to be inappropriate.

Privacy Policy


We take your privacy and security very seriously. You may reach us at any time to discover and/or delete any information we have collected by emailing us. No individual under the age of 18 years should contact us or put their information through our servers without the express permission of their legal guardians.

When you sign up for our newsletter alerts, your email address alone will be stored in Mail Chimp's database. You can unsubscribe at any time by either contacting us or using the “unsubscribe” feature on the bottom of every newsletter. Your information will never be sold or used for any reason other than contacting you in regards to Wordsmith Workshops.