Rockywold-Deephaven Camps, Squam Lake, New Hampshire, site of the workshop

Unearthing Ideas in the Elements: Three Days on Squam Lake with Chris Woodside

Many writers already realize 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.

I will teach you how to tap this energy productively, and regularly—immersing in the natural world, with no agenda.

This workshop teaches a new method for good writing. It can transform how you work whether you write truth or fiction, short or long, poetry or prose. Away from distractions, on beautiful Squam Lake in the foothills of New Hampshire’s White Mountains, you will learn to write without goals in mind. You will enter a new place of your mind as you learn to watch, listen, and smell the natural world.

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 will learn to reverse that thinking. At Squam, you will establish a walking routine in between workshop sessions.

You will come to Squam leaving behind any particular writing projects. While you are here, you will learn to receive new ways of meeting your own mind. You will generate many pages of new writing and ideas.

The late Brenda Ueland in If You Want to Write says that if we walk to fulfill a grim regimen we tally our lives or tasks. Instead of this, our aim together on Squam Lake will be: stop thinking about the destination, and turn off the noise. Be more like a dog, sniffing.

Route finding.

We talk about our routes. I talk about my experiences in the backcountry of the Northeast, good and bad. We will talk about what we’re working on these days. What do we hope to work on? An essay? The hope to start a regular diary? A book on Dad’s war service? Ways to begin thinking about these, and using walking to get there.

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

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

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