March 8-10, 2024 – Sensing the World: A Journaling Retreat

We believe journaling is an essential practice – not just for writers but for all of us. When we journal, we are free to express all our private thoughts, both good and bad, that spin around in our brains. When we journal, we release energy to the page and process complicated emotions as we physically move our hand across the paper. Our journals can be a jumping-off place for other writing, for new ideas, new phrases, and new ways of thinking. Open minds make for richer creativity and imagination.

In this all-inclusive weekend retreat, we will explore how to journal with the five senses. We will see, hear, taste, touch, and smell our environment and also bring sensory memories to the forefront as we recall instances in our lives that hold great meaning for us. We will let our senses lead us to the deep places that need mining and perhaps stumble upon jewels in the process.

If you’ve had a journaling practice for decades or are just beginning to wonder what journaling is all about, this retreat is for you. There will be 4 workshops but also lots of free time to ponder, rest, or explore. Join us at Rockvale this spring and let’s see where your creative path leads.

This retreat is for beginner and established writers as well as not-yet-writers exploring writing and journaling for the first time.


  • Place: Rockvale Writers’ Colony, 6994 Giles Hill Road, College Grove, TN
  • Time and Date: 4:00 p.m. Friday, March 8 to 11:00 a.m. Sunday, March 10, 2024
  • Cost: $425.00 (plus taxes) A $150.00 non-refundable deposit is due upon registration. A balance of $275.00 is due by February 15, 2023.
  • Includes: 2 nights in a private bedroom/bathroom suite, access to RWC common areas, gardens, and hiking trails, 5 meals with wine at dinner, 4 workshops, and community with other writers.

The Schedule (tentative)

Friday, March 8, 2024

4:00 to 6:00 p.m. – Check-in and settle in. We’ll show you to your assigned room.
6:00 p.m. – Dinner
7:00 p.m. – Welcome and Overview of Retreat
7:15 p.m. – Writing Workshop: What Can You See?
9:00 p.m. – Free Time / Bedtime

Saturday, March 9, 2024

6:30 a.m. – Coffee Ready!
7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – Breakfast is available. Come anytime you’re ready.
8:30 a.m. – Writing Workshop: What Can You Hear?
9:45 a.m. – Free Time for Writing
12:00 p.m. – Lunch
1:00 p.m. – Free Time for Writing
6:00 p.m. – Dinner
7:00 p.m. – Writing Workshop: What Can You Smell and Taste?
8:30 p.m. – Reading / Share Your Writing – Sharing is optional; however, we ask that you attend whether you read or not, in order to support other writers.
10:00 p.m. – Free Time / Bedtime

Sunday, March 10, 2024 (TIME CHANGE)

7:00 a.m. – Coffee Ready!
7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. – Breakfast is available. Come anytime you’re ready.
8:30 a.m. – Writing Workshop: What Can You Touch?
9:45 a.m. – Free Time for Writing
11:00 a.m. – Checkout and Goodbye


Sandy Coomer is a poet, artist, and endurance athlete. Her poetry has been published in numerous journals and magazines and she is the author of three poetry chapbooks: Continuum (Finishing Line Press), The Presence of Absence (Winner of the Janice Keck Literary Award for Poetry), Rivers Within Us (Unsolicited Press) and two full-length collections: Available Light (Iris Press) and The Broken Places (Saddle Road Press). Sandy’s art has been featured in local art shows and exhibits and has been published in over 40 publications. She is a marathon runner and an Ironman triathlete, having completed a full Ironman and qualified for and raced in the World Championships for the Half Ironman distance.

Cognizant of her blessings and the recipient of generosity and kindness from countless other writers, Sandy feels a keen responsibility to give back to the community, particularly to the community of poets and writers. She is a past tutor with the Nashville Adult Literacy Council, a past poetry mentor in the AWP Writer to Writer Mentorship Program, the founding editor of Rockvale Review, an online journal, and actively participates in the literary scene of middle Tennessee with open-mics and readings. Sandy is a teacher, a dreamer, a seeker, and an explorer. Her favorite word (so much so that she has it tattooed on her left forearm) is “Believe.”

Heather Burch is a creative non-fiction writer and author of the Substack newsletter, Simple + Good. She has served as the Assistant Director of RWC since 2018, and finds peace and purpose in providing a special haven for her fellow creatives both in-person and online as Rockvale’s social media manager. After pursuing a competitive career in Nashville’s music business, she now lives a slower existence on her family horse farm in College Grove, TN, where she is the proud mama of 14 Nigerian Dwarf Goat children.

Heather is a collector of rocks, feathers, bones, and other found items. She writes about the simplicity of choosing to live a slower life in the country and the forgotten beauty of that which has been cast aside by the fast-paced hustle culture of the world. She hopes her words serve as inspiration for those who are unsure of where their winding paths might be leading them.

Please Note the Following Due Dates and Refund Policy

  • $150.00 non-refundable deposit due upon registering.
  • $275.00 balance due three weeks before retreat start date (February 15 15, 2024)
  • If cancellation by retreater occurs more than 2 weeks before retreat (before February 23, 2024) – refund will be 50% of the balance.
  • If cancellation by retreater occurs less than 2 weeks before retreat (after February 23, 2024) – no refund
  • If RWC cancels the retreat for any reason, full refunds will be provided to all retreaters.