2020 Writing Retreat


***Applications for The Woods 2020 are now closed!***

***Watch this space for future retreat news!***

The Woods 2020

For the last two years, we have partnered with the wonderful poets and artists from Ink Press Productions to co-run The Woods writing retreat. We think we’re on to something, so we’re doing it again. With our powers combined, Writers & Words and Ink Press Productions present “The Woods” running from January 9th – January 12, 2020.

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Here’s what some of our past retreaters had to say!

“As a Baltimore-based writer, it was awesome to meet so many people from the community, to make connections for the future and to know that I have a tribe of writers I can turn to in and near the city.”

“I loved it. I was SO SCARED and considered bailing many times, including the day of. I just felt totally insecure and like I was going to go in without having written anything and be around all these people who are writing books and shit and it was not like that AT ALL. It was great. The setting was really lovely, the people were all so kind and warm and also equally freaked out. It just felt like I was with my tribe.”

“I loved this retreat and wish it was every month. I got back the creative energy and motivation that I thought was totally evaporated from me. Everyone was on a similar level of cool/ intelligent/ awkward/ not judgemental/ interested/ open and everything I needed was there and taken care of.”

“I was very impressed with all aspects of the event: the location, the organizers, the workshops, the food, and my fellow participants. I’m happy I was selected to be part of it, and hope I contributed to the quality of the whole.”

“The best people the best food the best woods.”

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WHAT IS THE WOODS? The Woods is located in the lovely Cacapon State Park, West Virginia. What will happen? We’re glad you asked:

  • A long weekend of writing and meeting other writers
  • Shared, communal cabins
  • Optional activities per day to get your blood pumping and your artistic juices flowing
  • Heat and electricity, comfort, no internet
  • Copious fireplace usage
  • Games of the literary kind
  • Optional workshops and activities
  • Time with our writers in residence to help hone your skills (if you’re interested)
  • FOOD – all vegetarian and prepared with love. BYOM (bring your own meat).
  • Camaraderie


Poet and journalist celeste doaks is the author of Cornrows and Cornfields, and editor of the poetry anthology Not Without Our Laughter. Her new chapbook, American Herstory was awarded runner-up in Backbone Press’s contest and will be published late Summer 2019. Her poems have been published in multiple on-line and print publications such as The Rumpus, Chicago Quarterly Review, Asheville Poetry Review, Bayou Magazine and most recently in Misrepresented People: Poetic Responses to Trump’s America. She is the 2017-2020 Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Delaware. She lives in Baltimore with her hubs and too many books; in her (very) spare time she co-hosts a literature and pop culture podcast called Lit!Pop!Bang. She can’t wait to be the Writer-In-Residence at The Woods and hopes to give participants a fabulous (and generative) literary time! Find more about doaks here: www.doaksgirl.com

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COST: For 3 nights and 3 days, the cost is as follows:

  • $250 for a shared room (a twin bed in a room with one other person)
  • $350 for a private room (double bed in a private room)
  • Cost includes (vegetarian) meals, swag, valuable time to write, and access to optional activities and workshops.

WHO WE’RE LOOKING FOR: Writers & Words and Ink Press Productions are always looking for people who will add to our community of writers in a positive and supportive way. Our retreats are an opportunity to do just that. We need to know you’re cool with spending a long weekend in the woods, with us, in small cabins, and that you are serious about getting work done while having a good time with fellow retreat-goers. Basically, we want assurance that you’ll follow our one and only rule: Don’t be a jerk.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been published multiple times, have written for years, or are just getting started – The Woods is for all.

SAFETY: Writers & Words and Ink Press Productions reserves the right to decline and rescind invitations, or request the departure of a participant at any time should an issue of safety arise. Safety is our first priority, and aggressive, dangerous or hateful behavior will not be tolerated.

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APPLICATION DEADLINE: Applications will be open from August 5 to September 30, 2019. We will notify you in mid-October if you are selected. 

HOW TO APPLY: Applications are open NOW through September 30th at midnight EST – scroll down to apply.  We will notify you in mid-October if you are selected. 

If you’re wondering something that we didn’t address, please drop us a line at writersandwords@gmail.com, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!

Have more questions? Check here first! 

FAQ – The Woods 

Can I bring my dog? No, folks might be allergic or afraid of dogs. 

Can I bring my baby? Sure, as long as you also bring a babysitter and get your own cabin. Contact us for your options! 

Can I share a private room with my partner and split the cost? No – the cost of the retreat is calculated based on the amenities you will receive as an individual, which reflects the capacity that we can accommodate. 

Should I pack a towel? No, they are in the top drawer of the dresser in the rooms. 

Do I have to attend all or any of the workshops? No! Everything is 100% optional. 

What if I’m a shy kid and am afraid of coming and not fitting in? We are all a bunch of shy kids, don’t be afraid. We are nice people and will be nice to you! 

What if I want to do some outdoorsy things while I’m in town? Absolutely! There are hikers and runners in attendance, and we encourage you to explore nature. Cacapon State Park created a Things to Do page on their website.

If I am accepted, pay for my room, and for some reason I have to cancel, can I get my money back? Our policy is that after you have paid, cancellations will be refunded 50% until a month out from the retreat. After that deadline passes, we will retain 100% of payments.

We hope to see you at The Woods!