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Writing Retreat

Your book has been on hold for too long,
and life isn’t slowing down.

Life is moving too dang fast. It feels like every month, you recommit to your book. You say, “That’s it! I’m going to write every day!” And that lasts for maybe three days.

Then, you beat yourself up for not writing every day, and suddenly all your motivation to write plummets. You go through the negative spin cycle of thoughts that begins with, “I don’t have time to write,” to “I don’t even know what to write about,” all the way down to, “Who would even read this book, anyway?” And then you just stop writing.

But the idea for you book simmers in the back of your mind, slowly rebuilding excitement, until you say (once again), “I am going to write this book!” You’re convinced that this time will be different.

The more times you repeat this pattern, the more ingrained the start-stop habit becomes. You have literally been training your brain to become excited about the writing and then to quickly self-sabotage the writing.

How do I know so much about this vicious writing cycle?

Hi, I’m Morgan Gist MacDonald. I’m a book coach and the founder and managing editor of Paper Raven Books. I work with writers through the first drafts of their books, and I’ve seen this self-sabotage pattern at work, over and over again.

When I work with writers, we identify both the mental patterns that make writer’s block come on so quickly, as well as practical, logistical ways to make the writing easier, more quickly, and while having more fun.

If you can identify your primary self-sabotage techniques and jump start making significant progress in your book, I promise you’ll be able to finish writing your book.

What’s the most efficient way to get your writing on the fast track?

You need a short time frame, a few days, that you can completely devote to your writing. If you can get clear on your own mental hang-ups, write out your book’s structure, and spend a few hours writing, you’ll feel that your book is inevitable.

Maybe you can’t spend a week at a writing retreat in Italy. Maybe you can’t even check yourself into a hotel for a weekend. But maybe, just maybe, you could take a couple days off work to give yourself this gift of writing your book.

I’m going to suggest a radical, unconventional writing retreat that I think will be a perfect solution.

Let’s have an online writing retreat.

You, me, and a group of committed writers. Let’s all play hooky from “real life” for two days and devote the time to our books.

We can meet on a video conferencing software called “Zoom.” You can just listen or you can participate by audio or video. And you can be a part of an intensive writing retreat, all from the comfort of your own home–at your desk, on your couch, sitting outside in the sun, wherever you want!

Here’s how it’ll look:

Thursday, September 28, 2017
9am Central US time, we’ll all gather on the Zoom video conference.
9am to 10am: Self-Sabotage Talk. We’ll talk about the common writers self-sabotage techniques and how to navigate around them so that the writing feels light and easy.
10am to 10:30am: Writing time. I’ll have some writing assignments for you that’ll help you get real about your self-sabotage patterns and how to sidestep them the next time you feel writer’s block setting in.
10:30am to 11:30am: First Draft Talk. We’ll talk about my favorite techniques for setting up a solid structure for your book and power writing your first draft.
11:30am to 12:30pm: Lunch break. Chat with me and the other writers, if you want.
12:30pm to 1:30pm: Power writing time. You’ll be getting clear on the structure of your book.
1:30pm to 2:30pm: Book Structure Talk. We’ll talk about how to use this structure we’re creating to write your first draft. I’ll give you all my best tips on how to write a first draft and stay motivated through the writing process.
2:30pm to 3:00pm: Snack break. And chat, if you want.
3:00pm to 4:00pm: Power writing time. You’ll begin using your structure to start writing the first draft of your book.
4:00 to 5:00pm: Open Q&A and coaching time. If questions have popped up for you, I’ll coach you on the spot.

Friday, September 29, 2017
9am Central US time we’ll regroup on the Zoom video conference.
9am to 10am: Revision Overview Talk. We’ll talk about what the editing and revising process looks like. If you have a good understanding of how you’ll edit your first draft, you’ll feel more free to power through the writing.
10am to 1030am: Open Q&A and coaching time.
10:30am to 11:30am: Power writing time. Making progress on your first draft.
11:30am to 12:30pm: Lunch break. Chat with me and the other writers, if you want.
12:30pm to 1:30pm: Power writing time. Making progress on your first draft.
1:30pm to 2:30pm: Publishing Overview Talk. We’ll talk about publishing options, book marketing, and building your author platform so that you’ll have readers ready to buy your book. While I don’t want you to get distracted, if I can answer some of those nagging questions, your mind will actually be freed up to embrace writing now, knowing that you have answers and resources for later in the process.
2:30pm to 3:00pm: Snack break. And chat, if you want.
3:00pm to 4:00pm: Power writing time. Making progress on your first draft.
4:00 to 5:00pm: Open Q&A and coaching time. If questions have popped up for you, I’ll coach you on the spot.

What will you have achieved by the end of this online writing retreat?

You’ll know how you typically sabotage your own writing and how to keep momentum in your writing, when you feel the old habits creeping in. You’ll have a solid structure for your book that feels logical and doable. You’ll have pro writing techniques to help you write your first draft, quickly and easily.

You’ll have an overview of the rest of the book process. I’ll answer all those questions that sit in the back of your mind and distract you from the actual writing. Once you know what editing, revising, publishing, and marketing, look like, you’ll feel good that there are plans and resources for you, when you’re ready.

You’ll have actually written for more than five hours in two days! That’ll give you a massive jump start in staying committed to your book.

You’ll have open Q&A and coaching time with me, so that I can laser in on what’s stopping you in the writing and how to solve the problem.

You’ll have a new community of writers who are all going through the same book-writing journey that you are.

And you’ll have the recordings of all sessions, so you can go back to any part of the retreat to remind you of a writing technique or a resource or a conversation that inspired you.

What’s the investment for this two-day retreat?

To give you a frame of reference: working with me, one-on-one is $4,500.

A single phone call with me is $250.

But you and I will share this online writing retreat experience, both days, for one non-refundable payment of $600.

Dang, I can barely believe I’m offering this, as I type it. But I want to offer an opportunity for you to jumpstart your book in a quick timeframe and at an affordable rate.

Also. Here’s the deal. This is the first time I’ve offered this Online Writing Retreat. I might end up offering it bi-annually or quarterly. More than likely, the groups will be larger in the future and the investment higher.

If you want time with me in a small group setting, this is it. This is the best chance you’ll ever have at the most affordable investment.

What if I have an unusual situation?

Well, let’s talk through some common situations.

Maybe you can’t make every part of every session. That’s totally okay. To be perfectly honest, I’ll be picking up my own kids from school from 3:00pm to 4:00pm, so I’m totally familiar with blending family and work. You don’t have to be at every session to get massive benefit from this retreat, and you’ll have the recording, so you can catch up in the evening or on the weekend.

Maybe you live in a different time zone. You can opt for only the recording, which will be $100. Seriously? Seriously! If you want just the recording (not attending any live sessions), click here to make the payment, and I’ll send you the link to the recordings the Monday after the retreat:


Maybe you’ve already started writing, and you’re not sure you need all the “beginning” work. No offense, but, “haha.” We all struggle with self-sabotage, writer’s block, and even obsessively re-structuring our book. If you’ve been “writing” your book for more than three months, you’re missing a foundational building block, and you might just get exactly what you need in this writing retreat.

Maybe you’re writing a fiction book. My teaching is always geared toward nonfiction. We do have fiction coaches, and we may run a fiction writing retreat in the future, but this retreat is geared toward nonfiction folks. That said, all of the principles will 100% apply to your fiction writing, we just won’t cover things like plot, character development, and dialogue. So, it’s up to you whether you feel this writing retreat will give you what you need.

Maybe you don’t want to be on video. You don’t have to be! I’ll be on video the whole time, but if you want to either not be on video or turn it off and on throughout the day, that’s totally okay. And if you’ve never used an online video conferencing software, that’s okay! I’ll send you a tutorial before the retreat starts, and I’ll help you make sure you feel comfortable and confident with the video before we start. Video isn’t required, but it’ll feel more like we’re all sitting in a room together if we have our video on.

What’ll happen after this two-day writing retreat?

I planned the retreat for Thursday/Friday, hoping that you will have the chance to continue writing on the weekend. What a powerful experience, if you could take the momentum from our two days together and then have a power weekend of writing!

We will also be enrolling four people into a small writing group that will continue writing together, October through March. The group will be led by one of our seasoned writing coaches, and the collective goal will be for everyone in the group to finish writing their first drafts by the end of October. If this sounds like a perfect way to continue your momentum that you gain during the retreat, stay tuned for details.

Everyone who attends the online writing retreat live will also be added to the private community of Paper Raven Books, which is our group of writers and authors, who share struggles, victories, ideas, suggestions, and gifs to cheer each other on. I do a monthly book chat for the private PRB community, so you’ll get to stay plugged in with me there, for as long as you want, no extra charge.

Ready for the best two days of your writing life?

If this sounds like the solution to your book-writing problems you’ve been looking for, then I’d recommend you sign up now.

We’re going to cap the number of participants at 20, so that I can give everyone Q&A and coaching time.

If you want to make sure you have a spot at the Online Writing Retreat, September 28 and 29, buy your ticket, here, and I’ll follow up with you via email with all the details (recording included):


[Remember, $600 is the regular ticket price. It’ll go up to $750 after September 26! And participants are capped at 20, anyway, so probably a good idea to grab your ticket now.]

Let’s jump start your book, together!




P.S. 10% of all proceeds will go to Hurricane Harvey relief to help the families and communities struggling to rebuild following the disastrous flooding in August 2017.