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Writing from Nature, a weekend workshop on Squam Lake

Join the editor of Appalachia journal June 15-17

Join Chris Woodside for a weekend of writing from the inspiration of beautiful Squam Lake and its surrounding mountains. The third Writing from Nature workshop welcomes writers of creative nonfiction, poetry, and fiction to Rockywold-Deephaven Camps on Squam Lake in central New Hampshire.

For testimonials about the 2016 Writing from Nature weekend, click here.

Many writers know that their work is not merely an indoor, sedentary pursuit but that the best ideas come in a flash while we are doing other things that have nothing to do with writing.

Chris will lead writers in tapping this energy productively, and regularly—immersing in the natural world, with no agenda. She has learned this technique from a quarter-century of exploring the backcountry of the Northeast. Chris has hiked thousands of miles on Eastern mountains, including the entire Appalachian Trail and all of the 4,000-footers in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. She often hikes solo. New ideas walk right into the brain when she trudges over rocks, leaf duff, mud, and water.

The 60-20 Principle

We writers think we have to sit like monks to work. We spend hours in a seat holding back the wild beast, followed by a few minutes, perhaps, watering the flowers. In this workshop you learn to reverse that thinking. My usual formula is 60 minutes of walking followed by 20 minutes of writing. In New Hampshire, we compress that a bit; you establish a shorter walking and writing routine we will follow a few times over the weekend. We also will take one field trip to a trail, either long or short, depending on your preference.

You come to Writing from Nature leaving behind any particular writing projects. While you are here, you learn new ways of meeting your mind. I guide you to write many pages of new work and ideas. 

Brenda Ueland said, in her book If You Want to Write, that if we walk only to fulfill a grim exercise regimen, all we do is tally our lives or tasks. Instead of this, our aim together on Stone Pond will be: stop thinking about the destination, and turn off the noise. Be more like a dog, sniffing. Then, new thoughts drift in as if from nowhere.

We will explore: Trails. Rocks. The urge to collect. Discomfort. The Dark. And More.

“Inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic striving, but it comes into us slowly and quietly and all the time. ... We must prime it with a little solitude and idleness.” —Brenda Ueland

“Every child begins the world again, to some extent, and loves to stay outdoors, even in wet and cold.” —Thoreau.

Friday, June 15:

4-6 p.m. 
Arrive. Check in at Rockywold-Deephaven Camps. Most of us will stay in a large cottage or lodge. Pick up packets.

6-7 p.m. 
Dinner in Dining Hall.

7:30-9 p.m. 
Share oral stories about ourselves. Keynote talk by Chris about the connection of nature and creativity.

9:30-10:30 p.m.
Optional night walk and listening exercise with Chris


Saturday, June 16

6:30-7:30 a.m. 
Optional short hike with Chris

8-9 a.m. 


9:30 a.m. 

Walk 1: Route-finding, using maps in your packet, you will pick a route for solitary walking. You will repeat this walk two more times this weekend.

10:30 or so-12

Guided writing at the Playhouse






Learning from the struggling loons: Biologist Tiffany Grade.






Walk 2.

5 or so-6 pm.

Guided writing exercise.


6-7 p.m.


7-8 p.m.


 8 p.m.

Visits from professional writers and book sale.


9:30 onward

Popcorn, reading, night hikes if desired


Sunday, June 17

8-9 a.m. 


9:30 a.m. 

Collecting exercise: Walk 3

10:30 or so-11:30

Return and guided writing



Selected readings


Lunch and goodbyes. 


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Match rate to your situation

If you prefer mailing a check:

Send a check for the appropriate amount payable to Christine Woodside. Thank you!

Early bird (by April 2, 2018): $599.

Regular rate starting April 3: $675. 

Special rates for new writers:

Career Builder rate: $499.

Student rate: $399.


Christine Woodside

Writing from Nature

41 Bridge Street

Deep River, CT 06417