November 8-10, 2024 – Healing a Heart: Writing Your Way to Hope

Writing, particularly when it entails a story from our own experience, can be an intimidating and, often, frightening. endeavor. My hope for this retreat is to create space for you to heal your heart through writing, offering an environment in which you can feel supported and motivated in crafting your stories, whether through fiction or nonfiction.

In this four-part class we’ll explore the art and magic of writing as a healing process in a collaborative and supportive environment. Together, we will share our stories, read a variety of essays and short fiction in order to identify how others have utilized the written word to heal themselves, and then we will begin to develop and create our own pieces utilizing the techniques identified in classic and contemporary texts. Finally, we will thoughtfully workshop one another’s work in an effort to support and inspire each other as writers, culminating in a reading of our work in literary salon fashion!

With an emphasis on discovery and fun, you will be encouraged to try new things and new voices in your work. No previous experience necessary – just an open heart!


Place: Rockvale Writers’ Colony, 6994 Giles Hill Road, College Grove, TN
Time and Date: 4:00 p.m. Friday, November 8 to 11:00 a.m. Sunday, November 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 October 18, 2024.
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, November 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: The Open Heart
An introduction to the retreat from Katie M. Zeigler, including writing activities geared toward trusting our hearts and pens. We will read a few pieces from famous writers that have created space for healing, and then create our first “Burst.”
9:00 p.m. – Free Time / Bedtime

Saturday, November 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: Where the Light Comes Through
As the saying goes, sometimes the cracks are where the light can come through. This workshop will focus on those spaces in all of us, offering a supportive environment to share our experiences and find commonality in our cracks. We will read three poems that speak to these themes and then create our own poetry inspired by our conversations.
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: A Lifeboat or a Ladder
One of my favorite sayings is, “Be a Lamp or a Lifeboat or a Ladder.” Each of us have been these for others, and have needed these traits from others. Taking a cue from this quote, this workshop will focus on writing as each of these objects, and how doing so can create new space for stories and healing.
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, November 10, 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: The Music of Your Heart
An often-overlooked space for healing is music – sometimes we can rely on music to make us feel better, get up and dance, or have that good cry we all need. This session will be dedicated to identifying songs from our pasts that are meaningful to us, and then mirroring that lyricism in our own songwriting!
9:45 a.m. – Free Time for Writing
11:00 a.m. – Checkout and Goodbye

Facilitator: Katie M. Zeigler

Katie M Zeigler is a writer and professor living in Walnut Creek, CA. Zeigler holds a BA and MA in English from Stanford University and an MFA in Creative Writing from St. Mary’s College.

She has had short fiction and non-fiction published in a variety of outlets, including Smokelong Quarterly, Atlas & Alice, The Centifictionist, Digging, Griffel, Wilson Quarterly, Fish Anthology and Stanford Magazine. Zeigler won the 2023 Baltimore Review Winter Contest, the Stanford Magazine Fiction Contest, was a finalist in Glimmer Train’s short fiction contest, and placed second in Fish Anthology’s international flash fiction contest. She has also performed readings of her short fiction for The Maine Review, LitQuake, Why There Are Words and the Peninsula Literary Society. She currently teaches writing at St. Mary’s College and creative writing at Diablo Valley College. You can visit her at

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 (October 18, 2024)
If cancellation by retreater occurs more than 2 weeks before retreat (before October 20, 2024) – refund will be 50% of the balance.
If cancellation by retreater occurs less than 2 weeks before retreat (after October 20, 2024) – no refund
If RWC cancels the retreat for any reason, full refunds will be provided to all retreaters.