Praise for our retreats

I'm reluctant to share what a life-changing experience my week at Wide Open Writing was because you'll want to come, and another person, and another until it's too big and my spot is taken, or the spot of one of my new best friends I made in Tuscany. Yes, I'm greedy with my love for this retreat, these women, and Italy. But I'm also sympathetic to the lonely job of writing and the lack of support and validation out there for what we do. The week of writing and reading our work cracked open that firewall we tend to put between our words and the outside world. Voices sang to the Tuscan sky from writers from around the world. Separate when we arrived, connected by a thread of love when we left, Wide Open Writing formed the circle we all felt safe to share in, thanks in large part to the wonderful facilitators and the beautiful setting. I came to the retreat expecting a similar experience I've had at other writing retreats, the classic workshop style of sharing work and critiquing, but this retreat allowed participants to open up their imaginations to new work, new ideas, all with the support of other writers urging you on. It was dream-like. It was special. I'll be back. —Robin Gaines, fiction writer and author of "Invincible Summers"

Our 2015 Tuscany writers.

Our 2015 Tuscany writers.

The retreat was most impactful to me in that it was very laid back and I felt as though I belonged. It was nice to be among folks who were like me and we accepted each other exactly where we were in our journey. That was really special to me. There was a freedom to be ourselves and to share our hearts with each other through our writing. It was a magical experience and one that I will cherish always! —Jolly Jeffers Goins

I got a group experience that I craved, with fabulous women, some of whom I know and love very much, and others that I wanted to meet very much. —Curry Ander, South Freeport, Maine

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I can’t express the depth of my gratitude to you for providing such a safe and stimulating place for me to finally believe I am a writer.  The charisma, energy and positive atmosphere…  Amazing leadership, the combination of wonderful participants have made me proud to say for the first time in my life I am a writer here now and always. This is part of the unblocking that came from the trip, and during the workshops, a lovely combination of everything you offered to us. It’s like you know what’s important to you, but it gets buried under a daily barrage of nonsensical stress and doubt and other people’s “reality.” I’m owning my own reality. —Anonymous

Wide Open Writing is just that - open and supportive to all writers in the widest welcome possible. It’s not just the retreat itself (which is pretty spectacular) but the deep connection you take with you when you leave. I’ve been to a lot of different types of writing retreats and found value in each of them, but when they were over I was once again a solitary writer. What made the WOW retreat so uniquely powerful for me was the connection with the leaders and other participants that extended beyond our time together. I’ve found immense value in the feedback and editing services offered by the facilitators, and not only was their insight into my work helpful - it was truthful and kind. Once you’ve been to one WOW retreat, you’ll want to go back, which is exactly what I plan to do! —Laurin Bellg, Eric Hoffer Award winner and author of Near Death in the ICU

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What worked for you about this retreat? Everything. Ok, let me try here. What I loved was that this was not about page count, magic formulas for story arc, 3-act structure, elevator pitch, how to get an agent, etc - No. WOW is about going deep, about slowing down and listening to your own self, soul, muse. The yoga set the tone. The prompts set the tone. The nurturing feedback and high priority on attentive listening set the tone. —Ann Hedreen

What worked for you about this retreat? Imaginative, inspiring prompts, thoughtful feedback on the writes, morning yoga was wonderful. The genuine openness and acceptance of the retreat leads; this spilled over to the participants and I felt genuinely safe. Positive-led feedback. —Selena Welz

What worked for you about this retreat? I absolutely loved being around and listening to all the amazing women on this trip. I thought Dulcie, Nancy and Regina did an incredible job of creating a safe container for expressing oneself and feeling free to choose how one wanted to participate. The morning yoga was WONDERFUL!!! —Heather Goulette

What worked for you about this retreat? The beauty of the landscape. The gentle kindness of the facilitators. Nancy’s coaching and ideas about how to move forward and finish my novel. The comments from facilitators and others in the group about what was memorable about my writing. The opportunity to write freely in the now and also to further develop characters and plot I’ve been living with for many years.  The many different writers’ voices and style — that took me into worlds unknown to me, but still so relatable. —Susan Farwell

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Praise for our instructors

Dulcie’s so real and so raw that her workshops can’t help cracking open places you thought were out of reach. —Sylvie Kurtz

Dulcie brings both firm ground and the possibility to reach the moon to her teaching. She penetrates the surface and plumbs the depth until you’re not sure what hit you, but you know she got you. She is a warrior for the written word and the hungry heart. —Jodi Paloni   

Want to crack it wide open? Laugh your ass off? Feel truly seen for the first time in your life? Dulcie Witman is the key to all those portals. Sage soul with a twist of the wild child, Dulcie has the powerhouse ability to help you understand yourself in a brand new way. We do all sorts of things to find the truth we are so desperately seeking: twist ourselves like pretzels on our yoga mats, walk on hot coals and read a thousand books, but there’s one thing that really works: step into a class/retreat/one-on-one with Dulcie Witman and find how beautiful that truth that’s been knocking can really look. —Suzanne Kingsbury, Brattleboro, Vermont, critically-acclaimed novelist and founder of Gateless Gate Writing.

Yoga has not been part of my life. Until coming to a WOW retreat and taking Nancy’s morning yoga class. Wow! I believe it changed my view of what yoga is and what writing is. It has stayed with me since, an opening to my own words and my own truth. Thank you, Nancy.

Nancy’s workshop on praise and criticism has changed not only how I view other people’s writing (and my own) but also how I view myself. I do less “constructive criticism” and more “where’s the power here” in my own writing and in my life. Ps - I love her writing, too!

Nikki’s workshop inspired me to think out of the box and that allowed me to write out of the box. I’ve been able to explore new genres and new styles of writing. Nikki’s feedback is insightful and inspiring...

I love Nikki’s writing and that makes me want to get her feedback on my writing…

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I submitted two short stories to Nikki for editing and feedback. What she gave me for the price of a consultation was above and beyond what I’d anticipated I would receive. Nikki is a post-apocalyptic fiction writer and I have more of a Southern-quirk sensibility, so I wasn’t entirely sure how she would approach my work. The feedback was of significant value to me in ways I’d not anticipated. As it turns out, working with someone outside of my genre offered great benefits (never underestimate the power of a different point of view). Not only did she edit my work for style, she was also so generous with content ideas. If you tell a story well, Nikki will help you tell it better. I think that is because she loves words - writing them, reading them, weaving them, and spinning them into something magical. What meant the most to me, though, was actually meeting with Nikki to receive her feedback directly and seeing her genuine enthusiasm for my stories. I think I am a better writer because of the editing services I solicited from Nikki and am excited to continue working with her.
Laurin Bellg, Eric Hoffer Award winner and author of Near Death in the ICU