On September 9th, the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program welcomed a group of dedicated writing students to the UCLA Conference Center at Lake Arrowhead, a beautiful facility nestled in a mountain with pristine lake and alpine views, to our second annual Writing Retreat. Each student brought with them a project in which they were determined to make considerable progress. The schedule, left largely unstructured to facilitate each student’s personal creativity, offered some opportunities to connect in an afternoon “craft talk,” where students could discuss writing questions and issues together, and an evening open mic, where they shared their in-progress work.

Program Director Charles Jensen says of the week, “The retreat gives aspiring writers who need time away from the distractions of daily life an opportunity to get in touch with their creativity in a supportive, collaborative environment. It’s so exciting to watch the retreat participants bloom over the course of these four days.”
Student feedback for the experience was very positive, with some highlighted remarks below:
“This is a great opportunity for writers to explore their craft in a beautiful and supportive environment. Options and opportunities for new experiences and fodder for writing abound.”

“…this program is outstanding both for the opportunity to write and the opportunity to network and hear the work of others.”

“This was an outstanding experience. The combination of excellent leaders, stimulating discussion and open-mics, and wonderful facilities and food, made for a very productive week. It was more than I expected.”

In addition to our Program Director, another staff member also attends to assist with facilitating and organizing the week. This year our Creative Writing Program Representative Carla attended, and her experience equaled that of our students. “I haven’t had a consistent writing practice for many years now—life/work/insert reason here gets in the way! The Writing Retreat was just what I needed to get back on track—I read, rested, soaked up the outdoors all around Lake Arrowhead, and communed with fellow writers. As a result, I regained my own passion for writing and plan to return. It was the perfect balance of rest and writing for me.”

We’re already planning for next year, slated for September 8-13, 2019. For more information on the Writing Retreat, visit https://writers.uclaextension.edu/writing-retreat-at-lake-arrowhead/.

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