A Heartfelt Appeal from the Director

September 1, 2019

Dear Writer,

Rockvale Writers’ Colony celebrates its first birthday on October 1, 2019. Our mission to support writers of all genres and backgrounds is going strong but we need your financial assistance to continue. During September, we’re conducting a fundraising drive to support and sustain the operation of the colony. Writers rave about the beauty and comfort of our facilities, but they don’t know the full story. Since we opened, we’ve been on a wild ride of care, restoration, and repair. Here are some of the challenges we’ve faced during our first year:

  • A broken main water line resulted in 5 days without water, the cancelation of residencies, and an emergency effort to fix everything before weekend retreaters arrived. Any time you need a backhoe and a bulldozer, you’ve got problems!
  • A dysfunctional and antiquated HVAC system necessitated the purchase of three new zone systems which took over 2 weeks of testing and tweaking to operate correctly. 
  • An inoperative irrigation system required repair in order to preserve our gardens.
  • Two leaking water heaters (one of which was changed out in the middle of a weekend retreat unbeknownst to our retreaters!) led to the installation of 2 new tankless water heaters.
  • Old chimneys required cleanings and inspections after which we realized we don’t need to build any fires at Rockvale. Hence, our “fireplaces are closed” signs.
  • Rotting wood and cracked chinking in the 150-year-old Rockvale Cabin required professional restoration.
  • Cutting down and cleanup of 2 storm-damaged, leaning 40-foot trees in the front of the farmhouse was necessary to prevent a potential catastrophe. 
  • A minor fire in the barn resulted in electrical inspection and safer lighting.
  • Multiple broken appliances mandated the purchase of a new washing machine, a new refrigerator, and a new gas stovetop.
  • Our monthly operating costs are significant and include 5 electric bills, 5 gas bills, 2 water bills, and 1 phone/internet bill. 

Even with these challenges, we remain resolute that Rockvale Writers’ Colony fulfills an important need in middle Tennessee. And don’t get me wrong. It hasn’t been all struggle! We celebrate these joyful successes:

  • Based on the number of writers scheduled through December, we will welcome 127 writers, possibly more, to the colony this year, far surpassing our goal of 100. 
  • We’ve welcomed writers from 25 states and 2 countries.
  • We’ve hosted 6 successful themed writing retreats, with 4 more scheduled by year’s end. 
  • We’ve been “in the news” (print newspapers and online blogs/publications) five times, including The Write Life’s list of “28 Amazing Writing Residencies You Should Apply for This Year.”
  • We’ve partnered with 2 writing groups (AROHO and Georgia Writers Association). 
  • We’ve conducted a successful poetry contest to celebrate National Poetry Month and have a flash fiction contest planned to coincide with NaNoWriMo in November.
  • We’ve exhibited at Southern Festival of Books and Decatur Book Festival and will have a booth at the AWP convention in San Antonio next March. 

As thrilled as we are with these successes, and as humbled as we are by the challenges, they do not define Rockvale Writers’ Colony. Our purpose exists in a deeper realm of meaning which nurtures the spirit of writers, that sacred part in each of us that births the voice we put on the page. Our aim has always been to build a place of safety and acceptance, a place where the word “welcome” permeates the very air.

Relationships and experiences matter most at Rockvale. I can’t give you better examples of what I mean than what our writers themselves provide. In the Testimonials page on the website (Testimonials, The Writers Speak), you can find 33 such examples and 17 more in our Google reviews. They demonstrate the value of our mission and the compelling need for Rockvale Writers’ Colony.

That’s where you come in. Will you partner with us by donating to the continued growth of Rockvale? Will you share in our nonprofit mission with a financial gift? We have a clear vision for the continued growth of the colony and it’s all within reach. Writing can change the world. Your help facilitates this change and supports the free creative expression of all voices.

I invite you to fill out the enclosed card and return it to us with your check or credit card information. A third option is to visit our website homepage and donate today. Every dollar counts. Every cent will be spent on furthering the mission of Rockvale. Every donation is tax-deductible. 

Thank you in advance for your generosity. Know that you are appreciated and valued as one of “our writers.” We believe in the power of your words. We ask you to believe in the power of our mission.


Sandy Coomer

Founder and Director, Rockvale Writers’ Colony

P.S. On Sunday, September 29th from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m., we’re having a Birthday Fundraiser Party at the colony. You’re invited! If you’re in the area, please stop by, say hello, and have some birthday cake!

Do you need time to focus on your writing?

Do you need time without distractions and interruptions?

You can find it in the rolling hills of middle Tennessee. That’s what we offer at Rockvale.

The Writing Porch

Our old farmhouse will serve as your home away from home. We have wide porches, spacious bedroom/bathroom suites, a large kitchen, and inviting common areas. Write at the desk in your room or in one of the writing nooks tucked in the library or writing porch. If you need a break, treat yourself to the inspiration of open pastures and rolling hills.

RWC, located in College Grove, TN, just south of Nashville, welcomes writers of all genres and backgrounds. As you explore this website, we invite you to view our photos, read about our weekend retreats, and imagine yourself as a writer-in-residence. Apply soon! We can’t wait to welcome you!

To learn more about becoming a Writer-in-Residence, click here.

For a list of our Upcoming Retreats, click here.