We are grateful to the following writers who shared their experiences and thoughts about Rockvale Writers’ Colony:
“Rockvale Writers’ Colony is the perfect place to step away from the hectic pace of life and focus on your writing. I stayed in the Carriage House which was cozy and welcoming with views of horses grazing out in the pastures. Such a beautiful venue. My only regret is my time there was too short.”
Sharon Sigler-Allen – writer
“Every writer is different. We come from different places with different stories. But we all share a desire to commit our stories to pages and seek ways to do it.
Over the years, I’ve discovered that I’m at my best, my least distracted and my most productive when I’m away, particularly when I’m surrounded by writers.
Recently, I have found a creative and spiritual home at Rockvale Writers’ Colony. There is a palpable feeling of connection with the land, with myself, and with my art there. My experience was one of retreat, not away from things, but to myself and to my words. It is easier to breathe there. It is easier to create there. It is the creation of an amazing artist and creative, Sandy Coomer, who is an accomplished writer and understands us because she is us. Each writer’s room is beautifully decorated. I seldom left mine during the day as I wrote page after page looking out over lush landscapes. The kitchen and dining spaces are amazing and designed for community when the writers gather for meals or coffee or tea.
If you decide to venture out, there are amazing places all around the grounds to write and create. There are hiking trails to walk and trees to sit under.
In short, I was more productive during my too few days at Rockvale Writer’s Colony than I’ve been for months before or any time after. I’m already looking at my schedule so I can make application for future visits. It is a treasure and a writer’s heaven located in one of the most beautiful areas of Tennessee.”
Terry Price – writer, creative coach, labyrinth facilitator
“My time at the Rockvale Writer’s Colony was marked by a sense of relaxation and wonder. Every inch of the property appealed to my creative process, from the cozy nooks throughout the main house to the gorgeous gardens and sprawling pastures. I enjoyed dividing my time in a variety of disciplines — reading in the library, writing on the porch, hiking the grounds with my camera, and sitting among the hydrangeas in the garden with my sketching materials.
Self-care is an essential part of my creative process, and the Colony catered to that need with an expansive and well-equipped kitchen, cozy beds, plenty of linens and towels, an outdoor pool where I enjoyed swimming laps, and whirlpool tubs in each room that were nice at the end of a long day. The writing desks in each room are all equipped with writing essentials — including a small sand timer which I found helpful in responding to prompts. Sandy and Heather go out of their way to make the space special and welcoming, and I felt truly at-home during my stay.”
Ashley Trabue – poet, artist, and educator
“I visited RWC during a crossroads in my writing life. I was preparing applications for MFA programs, yet I felt acutely disconnected from the writing process, distracted by day-to-day obligations, both at work and at home. I needed somewhere to run away to, a place where I could reconnect with my writing and myself. RWC gave me that. I found myself alone with a pen in my hand, a notebook resting on the table in front of me, and then I was wandering down the hallways of my mind, opening doors, dancing through rooms, jumping on beds. I remembered how much fun it was to play with words. And how important it could be. Four months later, I still feel refreshed, engaged, excited to put words on the page. I have RWC to thank for that.”
Trey Adams – writer
“Wow!” That’s the first word I spoke aloud after I arrived at Rockvale Writers’ Colony. It was a word I uttered throughout my stay. From the simple beauty of the setting, tucked in the quiet rolling Tennessee countryside, to the tastefully and thoughtfully appointed rooms, to the big sigh I felt as my body let go of all that work-stress and life-stress, as I settled back down into myself a little more each day I was there, as I settled back into my characters, my narrator, my story.
Uninterrupted time and space is the writer’s most precious commodity. While many of us may have some sort of writing space at home, we don’t always have the chance to fully disconnect from the rest of our lives and completely immerse ourselves in our writing. Enter Rockvale Writers’ Colony!
You can tell the colony was created by a writer and artist passionate about having just the right vibe, just the right touches, to allow writers exactly what they need. With quaint rooms and sitting spaces sprinkled throughout the property, from rocking chairs on the front porch to a charming sunroom, there are wonderful places to hunker down and write outside of your own private bedroom. The big, open kitchen is a great spot for socializing; for getting together with like-minded folk in the evening. The sense of community and connection made at RWC was an unexpected takeaway.
The way Rockvale is structured allows each writer to dictate her/his own schedule, the amount of writing time and time for interacting that speaks to the individual writer, ensuring that each person gets what she or he needs from their stay. I can’t wait to return to this special place, lovingly curated by special people who have put their hearts and souls (and an awful lot of thought) into creating just the right environment in which writers can thrive.
Lafayette Wattles – poet
From the minute I walked into the sunny farmhouse kitchen, I knew coming to Rockvale was a great decision. The staff is welcoming and warm, the rooms are beautiful and carefully thought out to serve a writer’s needs, and the grounds are perfect for taking a nice long walk. Plus there are horses and a swimming pool! Taking my tea and a notebook to the sun porch became a daily morning ritual.
It’s easy to have as much or as little interaction with other residents as you want. Because the colony used to be a bed and breakfast, noise from socializing in the kitchen is well insulated from the bedrooms, and everyone is respectful of each other’s time and space. Rockvale is an ideal environment to focus on your work.
Christina Stoddard – author of Hive
This place feels a little magical. Every view is spectacular, and wherever you turn you find a cozy nook perfect for reading, reflecting, or writing. My short stay at RWC gave me the headspace I needed to complete two long neglected chapters. Though it’s only a short drive from my “real life” it felt like I was in a completely different world, where writing is like breathing. Can’t wait to go back!
Jennifer Wachtel Kates
Instructor, MTSU Dept. of English
Director, MTSU Write
Executive Director, Southern Literary Festival