Catamaran Writers Retreat with Joan Rose Staffen

Creative clusters, where we gather as peers to develop our strength, are best regarded as tribal gatherings, where creative beings raise, celebrate, and actualize the creative power, which runs through us all. —Julia Cameron, Author of the Artist Way

If you’d like to come to the Catamaran Writers Conference to work on your own writing project, please join us. The Catamaran Retreat will give you hours to write, and for additional inspiration you can attend all afternoon and evening talks and lectures.

Retreat attendees will meet daily in the morning for 3 hours to generate new writing in a supportive group. For the first twenty-five minutes we will meet to effortlessly enter into our writing time and become present, encourage each other with the writings of published authors, and enjoy an affirmative visualization to start the writing day.  During the writing session we will have motivational exercises to help with creative flow for the writing day. After two hours of writing, there will be a concluding group session to discuss and celebrate the daily progress.

As “homework” we will write for another hour or two (or more!) during the day, but have plenty of time to attend field trips and other conference activities. Our goal is to help jump start your writing, help you create a habitual writing practice, and complete your writing projects. You will also meet individually with Joan Rose to tackle any creative blocks and brainstorm future plans.

Texts for Retreat Class: 

  • Nina Amir, Creative Visualization for Writers 
  • Jordan Rosenfeld, A Writer’s Guide to Persistence, How to Create a Lasting and Productive Writing Practice
  • Elizabeth Gilbert, Creative Living Beyond Fear
  • Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird


Joan Rose is a writer, artist, and creative coach dedicated to assisting others rediscover their purpose, stay on their life path, and complete their creative projects. A facilitator of the Julia Cameron’s Artist Way for fifteen years, she helps her clients recover, visualize, plan, and actualize their dreams. She is the author of Swimming the Inner Ocean (memoir and story) and Catching You, Catching Me, Catching Fire, (a book of poetry.) For more information please see her website at and her video trailer, “Swimming the Inner Ocean.” Currently, she lives and works in an intentional artist community, the Tannery Arts Lofts in Santa Cruz, CA where she helps with marketing, events, and classes for the “Catamaran Literary Reader.”

Daily Structure

  • Initial Meeting (25 minutes):   Writing Prompt – 5 to 10 minutes , Share with Partner or Group,  Discuss Writing Process, Visualization
  • Write for an hour! Followed by a 15- Minute Break
  • Write for an hour again!
  • Concluding Meeting (25 Minutes):  How did your writing go? Any distractions? Frustrations? Problems? What worked? What could you do differently? Read one paragraph from work. Positive feedback. Assign Writing Time and Reading

Introduction Meeting

  • We will meet and introduce ourselves, discuss our individual expectations as writers, and go over the feedback guidelines for class. 
  • Homework – Chapter 1, Love the Journey (A Writer’s Guide to Persistence)

Day One

  • We will discuss the Love the Journey Reading, followed by a 7-minute writing exercise (Why do you write? Make a list. Write down every reason no matter how small. What blocks you from writing?) We will share this exercise with a partner for 4 minutes, then review our "Goal Setting and Intention" Handout and set our own intentions for today's writing and the next 4 days. 
  • Homework – Read Chapter 2, Create a Practice (A Writer’s Guide to Persistence)

 Day Two

  • Our initial meeting will last for 30 minutes, followed by a five minute discussion of "Create a Practice Reading". Then we will do a 10 minute writing exercise centered around page 19 of "Your Writer's Code". We will share for 5 minutes, ending with a visualization exercise. 
  •  Homework: Read Chapter 4, “Tame Time” (A Writer’s Guide to Persistence)

 Day Three

  • Discussion (10 minutes): Where do you write? At home? Coffeehouse? Library? When do you write? How long do your write for? Do you have a clear space? Are you a morning or night person? Distractions? What tricks do you use to start? Keep going? Finish?
  • Homework: Chapter 10, Break the Blocks to Creative Flow (A Writer’s Guide to Persistence)

Day Four

  • We will begin day four with a 15 minute writing exercise, followed by a discussion of our Action Plans for the Project, Month, and Year. This will be followed by a visualization exercise, and an hour and a half of writing. After writing, we will have extra time for our concluding group, and we will share our goals for the month and the year. What worked? What didn't? Were your goals and expectations met? Stay in touch! Share Facebook information, emails, and phone numbers.