We are convinced that writing is a path to the creative genius in all of us. Whether you call yourself a writer or not, we know the transformational power of putting yourself in a nurturing environment with permission to notice what you notice and then write about it. Wide Open Writing offers residential retreats, online classes, individual coaching, weekend workshops and private writing getaways.
We take time to get to know you and your needs and together we develop a pathway toward your goals. We create a safe space, whether virtual or actual, inviting you to be present with whatever emerges. Whether it’s an obstacle or a beautiful flow we work with you to be present with what shows up for you, embracing uncertainty and engaging the inner critic.
What you experience with Wide Open Writing
GROWTH AS A WRITER
MOVING FORWARD with curiosity
HAving fun WITH KINDRED SPIRITS
DEEPENING YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF YOURSELF
Simply put, making art is chancy -- it doesn't mix well with predictability. Uncertainty is the essential, inevitable and all-pervasive companion to your desire to make art. And tolerance for uncertainty is the prerequisite to succeeding. -- "Art & Fear, Observations on the Rewards (and Perils) of Artmaking" by David Bayles and Ted Orland
We believe that getting away and connecting to nature and ourselves is central to the creative process. In this place of respite we find our deeper truths.
We purposely choose evocative settings where your adventurous spirit can come out to play with curiosity and wonder. Whether it's desert or mountains, tropics or tundra there's always something sparkly to be discovered.
Because writing comes from our bodies, it's important to foster the connection between body and place, spirit and physical presence. Our retreats always include energy and body work such as massage, yoga and Reiki.
For more information visit our Retreats page.
"Anybody who travels knows that you're not really doing so in order to move around but in order to be moved. Really what you're seeing is not just the Grand Canyon or The Great Wall but some moods or intimations or places inside yourself that you never ordinarily see when you're sleepwalking through your daily life."
Our online courses are designed to guide you further into the writer that you already are. Each class centers around a theme with various prompts that inspire new work. You will be more aware of who you are as a creative writer and set a framework which helps you center, strengthen and stay connected to your writing practice.
While writing is ultimately a solitary endeavor, the process is one that requires trusted support and encouragement. Whether you want feedback for a project, further commitment to your craft or to simply begin writing, one on one work can be extremely effective. By spending time together either in person or via the web we get to know your needs and then together we sculpt a plan to achieve your goals. We use writing prompts and exercises to stimulate the flow of words and then provide written feedback to help you identify the energy of your work and further develop your strengths. The result is both deeper satisfaction with your writing and a desire to write more.
If you fancy getting away and working remotely from a specific location, we also organize tailored private writing retreats.
Dulcie's Writing Group in Topsham, Maine
Starting up again this fall, Dulcie Witman will be hosting a bi-weekly writing group in Topsham, Maine from 6:30 - 8:30pm. Cost is $30-40 per session, a sliding scale of sorts. Coffee, tea and writing chocolate and prompts provided. Dates TBA.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested in joining.
As a Creative Community
We are exuberant, spiritual, playful, raucous, serious, centered, intense, brave, feral, explorers. We are creative, compassionate, introverts and extroverts, truth-seekers and truth-sayers, badasses with good taste. We're moody, needy, high-maintenance noise-makers; nature and animal lovers, tree-huggers, cooks, painters, gardeners, singer-songwriters, dancers, Reiki masters, body workers, therapists and world travelers. We are mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sons that used to be daughters, sisters, sexpots, crackpots and former addicts. We meditate, we write and we're not even all writers.
We're also so much more which is why we invite you to join us. You'll belong.
As Facilitators and Teachers
Dulcie Witman, MFA, LADC
Co-Founder, Facilitator & writer
Dulcie's a truth-teller even if or especially when she's writing fiction. She cuts through straight to the point and to the heart of whatever she's saying. Witty, heartbreaking, searingly true, Dulcie's flare is as unique as she is -- read her and you'll scratch an itch you might not know you had. Get to know her and be prepared to crave her forevermore.
What’s important to me as a person is what’s important to me as an artist. I need to be true to myself and I need to make a contribution to others. Connecting to other people and connecting to what’s around me is how I feel what is true and how I make sense of who I am. Sharing creative space gives power and life to that connection. That’s what the creative process is -- it gives life to something that wasn’t there before. So more than anything, I live for moments of connection and creation, whether that’s to another person or to a sense of purpose or to the natural world in which I yearn to know my place.
Regina Tingle, MFA
co-founder, facilitator & writer
Regina writes like Frieda Kahlo paints, florid in her strokes. You have been taken somewhere when you get in Regina's car. She's both complex in terms of what she attempts and yet she speaks in a language that is everyone's language so that even if you haven't had the particular experience Regina has had you can imagine having it.
Mostly I don’t think of myself as an artist. What I know is that I’m captured by making meaning of the big and the little things that happen in our lives whether it’s the fleeting synchronistic moments that would otherwise be forgotten if not recorded or the catastrophic traumas that set us reeling and lead us down other pathways. I believe it’s in the making of the meaning that pulls me back time and time again to pen and page. I believe that when I have an urge to write, it's because there's a need for whatever that is to be heard. It's the disembodied connection that happens between the creator and her audience that compels me most. It’s magic to be able to share from this deep place in order that it might have value for others to use and keep in whatever way serves them.
Nancy Coleman, PhD, RYT
yoga facilitator & writer
Nancy is a connecting presence between the heavens and the earth. Being in her yoga class is not unlike listening to her read something she just wrote, it comes alive with the ingredients of ocean and wind and hard scrabble earth, and yet so connected to what it is to be a human, in a body, right here, right now. We are as likely to have tears doing child's pose in her class as we are listening to her read her work.
I practice yoga. The body stretches toward its fullest expression. The yoke of body and soul, the body feeling its way to what is whole, what is holy. I practice psychotherapy. I stand on the bridge and hold a light for others to cross. It is, for each, their own light, I am mirror and fellow traveler. Sometimes I see in the dark. I write toward something I do not recognize until I arrive. Every word matters, and yet the word is not the path. I follow phosphorescence and prayer. Nothing matters more.
Nikki Kallio, MFA
FACILITATOR & WRITER
Nikki's love for writing led her to a career as a newspaper journalist in Wisconsin, Maine and California. But long before that, she would scribble stories on construction paper and leave them around her room for her mom to read. Creative writing remained her first love and eventually she found her way to Goddard College where she completed an MFA, focusing on post-apocalyptic fiction and finishing a dystopian novel. Her creative work has appeared in several lit journals including Minerva Rising, Rawboned and Midwestern Gothic. She is the winner of the 2014 Mill Prize for Fiction and the 2015 Wisconsin People and Ideas fiction prize from the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters for her sci-fi story, Geography Lesson.
I adore maps, atlases and globes – they represent mystery, adventure and discovery, which means writing and travel are natural companions. My passion is building authentic stories, whether they’re set in a backyard or outer space. I adore the conjuring process, watching magic happen from just a few simple words or phrases, being enchanted by the beauty in the different ways stories manifest themselves.
Troi Boulanger, LCSW
I've been in the social work field for over 25 years and graduated from New Mexico State University in 1997 with my master's degree. I was introduced there to holistic health practices by Professor Jerry Vest. Professor Vest developed the 15-Minute Stressout Program, which I helped introduce into the elder community, and he continues to offer to returning soldiers and their families. Since that time, I've continued my own development and so my work with others has evolved as well. In my practice I utilize Energy Psychology, Psychotherapeutic Reiki, and mindfulness as well as more traditional "talk therapy." In my experience, combining these approaches helps people connect to themselves in a deep way. This way of connecting allows us an awareness of our truths, our unique gifts, as well as obstacles that can thwart our efforts to bring forward or develop these gifts. Energy work is especially helpful in moving through any barriers to live and express your highest potential. I believe we all have purpose and talent to share and have made a lifelong commitment to supporting this development in each of us!
When recently asked for my "artist statement," being a non-writer and non-artist, I went into panic. My mind diverted to what I should use as my dating profile caption, Flawfully Designed. Why I decided to use it here (and not there) is because it fits into how I see us as human beings and this understanding can lead to our growth and potential. Writing is one of many ways to open and express our creative process. Where our pain and desire and fear and shame and vulnerability and love and anger and bliss can come through. Energy work is my way of making space for all that arises within us: To explore, to release, to heal and put it all back together with greater insight and deep compassion. I love being part of these retreats where the opening is happening and I have the honor of adding my bit of magic to ease you on your journey. I hope to see you there!
Jo McAllister, LMT
May your heart be filled with loving kindness.
May you be well in body and mind.
This is the beginning of a prayer of loving kindness I silently invoke over every person I meet through massage. I see the body as a landscape, each an environment inhabited by an exquisitely defined individual consciousness; and my work as a sacred invitation to enter your landscape, to act as a fellow sojourner and guide on the journey. Together we discover and make our way through blocks and barriers toward ease and comfort, freeing the flow of creative energy in the process.
Technicalities: I trained at The Swedish Institute and sat for the New York State Boards in 1990. Soon after certification I lived and worked at Omega Institute for three years. While at Omega I met and studied with a wide range of practitioners and healers from all over the world. I now practice in my home office by the river in Topsham, Maine.