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frequently asked questions

What COVID-19 precautions will be taken and what will I need to do?

With the number of cases decreasing, our plans for the retreat during the last week of September 2021 are for face-to-face participation. Should there be a resurgence of cases in northern Minnesota, we will follow the recommendations and guidance of the Minnesota Department of Health which are updated frequently. At this time we do not anticipate offering the retreat as a virtual experience and if circumstances warrant cancellation, we will offer deferred participation at a date to be determined in 2022 or a refund.

Each retreat participant will have their own private room during the week-long retreat. Events are scheduled in locations where it will be mostly possible to keep at least six feet from others.

We encourage you to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it’s available to you. Bring and wear a mask to protect yourself and others and to stop the spread of the virus.  Clean your hands often. Monitor your health daily. If you are not feeling well at any point during the retreat, stay in your room and arrange to have a COVID-19 test at LifeCare Medical Center in Roseau, MN. Testing is free but you need an appointment. 

Can I bring my partner and/or my children to the retreat? 

The all-inclusive pricing is only for the participant in the retreat, however, we want you to feel free to bring your family to Warroad to enjoy all it has to offer. If you and your partner do not require an additional room, lodging is included. If you bring your children, please make a reservation for additional room(s) at the Hampton Inn. Additional meals are not included, but there are several times during the week where guests are welcome to join. If your children will be accompanying you, please make plans to keep them busy and safe while you are involved with our retreat activities which are some distance from lodgings. While you are participating in our writing sessions, your family might enjoy other activities like fishing on Lake of the Woods, exploring in the State Forests, biking, birding, playing golf, or shopping. They would be welcome to join our group on several excursions planned, including a guided tour of the Garden Arena for the history of Hockey Town USA, the Marvins Visitor Center, visits to the state forest, and the open mic night at the Lake of the Woods Brewery. Please contact the retreat coordinators to facilitate these arrangements for your family. 

What will the weather be like?

The end of September in northern Minnesota means no more mosquitos and the leaves will have begun to show off their colors. The evenings will be cool, 40-50 degrees, so bring a warm jacket. Be prepared for colder weather.

What should I wear?

The dress code is leisure, informal, and comfortable. Given the weather, you will want to bring long pants, socks, and a sweater or sweatshirt. You will want to bring shoes suitable for hiking, biking, and taking a boat ride. It is recommended you bring at least two pairs of shoes. Doc’s Harbor Inn asks all guests to bring house slippers/shoes.

What’s the schedule?

Arrive on Sunday, September 26, with check-in any time after 1 pm and before 6:30 pm. Our first session begins on Sunday evening at 7 pm. Sunday dinner is on your own. The full and final schedule will be sent to you once your registration and reservation fee have been received. Departure is on Saturday, October 2, with check-out by 11 am. Breakfast on Saturday morning is included.

Do I have to attend every writing workshop session?

No. Your attendance is not mandatory. These sessions are intended to spark your creativity and if you want to spend some time working on your writing instead, please feel free to do so. 

Will I be required to read or share my writing with others?

No. Sharing your work is entirely voluntary. We would encourage you to share your creative writing with others and will establish ground rules for respectful and constructive feedback during these sessions. This is a generative writing workshop with the understanding that first drafts are exactly that and our focus will not emphasize criticism. You will have an opportunity to have a private and confidential consultation session with the workshop leaders to ask advice and guidance.

What if I love the idea of a writing retreat but have never done any writing before?

This is your retreat. And we will meet you where you are. If you’re only now beginning to think about writing, this workshop is a good place to start. It will spark your imagination and provide you with exercises that will be suitable for all levels of writers. This is your chance to explore your creative expressions in writing and even the most advanced writer will be equally challenged by the exercises. We plan to provide a supportive and affirming environment for every writer. 

What if I have a work-in-progress and am a serious writing professional. Will this retreat offer me anything I don’t already know? 

These exercises are unlike typical writing workshops in that they take you through side doors, offer constraints that crack you open to new insights into your own project, push you in new directions, and infuse your work with a fresh and unpredictable quality. Even the most advanced writers will find every session offers something new. 

What if I have needs that may require special accommodations? 

If you are a vegan or have food allergies, we can deal with that. If you have limited mobility, we will make arrangements to make sure you can access every location and provide transportation if you are unable to walk or ride a bike. If you’re a light sleeper or snore, rest assured every participant will have a private room. If you have other needs, please let us know and we will make every effort to make your retreat as comfortable and accommodating as possible. 

Do I need to bring my laptop computer? Is there wifi? 

If you prefer to write on a computer, please feel free to bring your laptop. You are not required to do so. Writing in longhand is perfectly acceptable, even preferred. Yes, there will be WiFi available in select locations at your place of lodging. 

Do I have to attend the events and activities which are not focused on writing? 

No. If you choose not to attend one or more of the local activities, simply let us know you will not be joining us. No judgment. Sometimes naps are what we need most. Or more time to write. Or knit. Or do yoga or meditate or whatever you prefer. These outings are intended to give participants some exercise and stimulate your sense, showing off all that Warroad has to offer. Some of the workshops do occur during the excursions to nearby locations and we would encourage you to come along.

Will there be time to write outside of the workshop sessions?

Yes, there will be some scheduled time for individual writing, but not a lot. There will also be unscheduled time during which you are free to spend it writing. Or not. And if you want to skip some of the planned activities during the week to spend more time writing, please feel free to do so. 

Will I come away with polished pieces when I leave at the end of the retreat?

No. Likely not. This is a generative writing workshop and the goal is to produce new material, rough drafts, fresh insights, deepened connections, and breakthroughs in how to structure or organize your story.    

What are the consultation sessions in the schedule for?

Jill Swenson and Kim Hruba will schedule a one-on-one half-hour session with each of the participants to discuss their writing during one of these sessions. Participants can schedule with a session with one or both of the facilitators. These individualized coaching sessions will provide you with personal feedback on your writing and address any questions or concerns you have regarding editing and publishing your work.