A 5-Day Writing Retreat
with April Bosshard
at Stowel Lake Farm
September 12th to 17th, 2024
Thursday to Tuesday
$2,150 ~ $2,650 USD
(price depends on room choice)
Includes all meals, accommodation, daily writing workshops, and more.
Relax ~ Write ~ Connect
This retreat will offer writers time and space to work on their chosen writing project in an inspiring and supportive setting. Writers will be encouraged to dive deeply and joyfully into their creative process.
Group writing sessions will take place in the mornings and some afternoons, with the option to work at a personal pace and place. In addition to a few lessons on story craft, attention will be given to cultivating and maintaining a meaningful writer’s life.
In the spirit of creating a safe, encouraging environment for writers to deepen their process and make progress on their individual projects, works-in-progress will not be shared or critiqued in a group setting. One evening may be devoted to author readings, but participation will be optional.
The intention of this retreat is to provide a nurturing atmosphere for dedicated writers who are:
- ready to refine their connection to the creative process
- open to having creative conversations with other writers
- longing for a break from their usual routine
- wishing for a breakthrough in their writing process
Situated on beautiful Salt Spring Island, one of British Columbia’s southern gulf islands, Stowel Lake Farm is a working organic farm. And for five lovely days, it will feel like your home.
Living alongside, and supported by, the farm team, our group will have exclusive use of the property for this late summer writing retreat. You will be able to relax, rest, play, explore, and create to your heart’s content!
“Writing doesn’t depend on inspiration or education or talent. Writing depends on choice. It is an act.
It is both the most freeing and the most demanding task you can undertake.”
~ Eunice Scarfe ~
Daily Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner & Snacks
The kitchen team provides a seasonally inspired farm to table experience using fresh, organic, local produce and whole food ingredients. Delicious vegetarian and chicken or fish based meals are simply prepared and beautifully presented for buffet style serving. Some dietary options, such as dairy free, gluten free and vegan, can be made available at each meal. (Unfortunately, cross contamination for anaphylaxis and celiac disease cannot be guaranteed.)
Private rooms, with private or shared baths
Every writer can have their own private room.
There are a few types to choose from: Private Deluxe rooms have their own private bathrooms; Private Regular rooms have shared bathrooms, usually just down the hall; If you choose a Private Yurt, you’ll have to walk a few paces over lawn to the shared bath house.
If you decide you’d like to travel with a writing friend (someone who will participate in the retreat) you can share a room for a slightly reduced rate.
Private Deluxe (private bath)
$2,650 per person
Private Deluxe, shared with a friend: $2,450 for each person
Private Regular (shared bath)
$2,250 per person
Private Regular, shared with a friend: $2,075 for each person
Private Yurt (short walk to shared bath)
$2,150 per person
Private Yurt, shared with a friend: $1,975 for each person
Your Retreat Host: April Bosshard
Sometimes called a “story whisperer” and other times a “story genie,” April is a deft and experienced workshop facilitator and story coach who works with writers around the world. Her keen awareness of story principles and deep understanding of the writer’s craft sheds light on many of the complex issues writers face when it comes to story creating and sticking to the writing process.
“April helped me to get clear about my story. Her process, tools, and tricks helped me to free myself from writer’s block and dead-end journeys that waste time. She is a story wrangler.”
~ Laura Haas, North Carolina
“April is a gentle Story Whisperer, so talented at what she does, with a remarkably deep understanding of story and a way of embracing the whole room with her generous spirit.”
~ Margo Lamont, Vancouver, BC
“April is an intuitive, skilled and extremely generous story coach. She has given me exactly what I needed to take my writing seriously and evolve to the next phase.”
~ Dr Bernadette Geraghty, Australia
Our Days at the Farm
Our days at Stowel Lake Farm can include relaxing early mornings and languorous afternoons. You may choose to get up early to write, meditate, walk or do yoga in the spacious Gatehouse studio.
Breakfast will be available between 8:30 and 9:30.
Our writing workshops will convene between 10:00 am and 12:15 pm. These will include craft guidance, writing time, and some gentle coaching to give direction to each writer’s chosen project.
Lunch will be available from 12:30 to 1:30.
Afternoons might include a stroll around the property, a farm tour, reading in a cozy spot, or a swim in the nearby lake. And more writing, of course!
Those who want to can gather around 5:30 pm in front of the barn for a beverage and a debrief about the day’s work (and play).
Dinner will be available from 6:30 to 7:30 pm.
After dinner we’ll share the evenings with either a movie night, campfire, or reading of works-progress. Quiet time will be encouraged after 10 pm.
(Please note: Participation in planned events is always encouraged but never mandatory. If you end up in a deep writing flow, go with it!)
“Two road diverged in a wood and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
~ Robert Frost ~
I have had my own profound creative experiences at writing retreats and can personally attest to the power and productivity that comes from living and working communally with other creative people, even for a short time.
Taking a retreat far away from the bustle of cities and the demands of daily routines allows one to confront oneself and one’s creative work in unique ways.
Stowel Lake Farm is a special place to connect with like-minded creative souls. The peaceful setting, nourishing food, and deep quiet helps to restore your senses and reawaken what matters deeply to you as a writer.
I truly believe that writing teaches writing, and if writers have the opportunity to dive deeply into the creative process, in a special environment and with thoughtful guidance and support, creative magic can happen.
I will host a handful of Q&A calls about the retreat, or if you’d like to speak in private, please get in touch and we can set up a 1:1 call.
Where is Stowel Lake Farm?
On Salt Spring Island, which lies in the Salish Sea between mainland British Columbia, Canada and Vancouver Island. It is the largest, most populous, and most frequently visited of the Southern Gulf Islands.
How do I get to Salt Spring Island?
You can take one of three ferries with a car or as a foot passenger, or you can fly by float plane into Ganges Harbour. See extra notes about getting to the island in the Getting to Salt Spring section.
What if I want to bring a car?
If you choose to drive yourself to the the farm you’ll be able to enjoy some self-directed excursions before, during, or after the retreat. There’s plenty of parking at the farm.
What else is there to see in the area?
The island has grown to be somewhat of an artists’ colony, and many fine artists of various disciplines with significant international reputations have made their homes on Salt Spring. Visits to art galleries and local wineries are popular, as are visits to various other artisans, organic farms, and the fine, local goat cheese company. The open-air Saturday market attracts many visitors who come to purchase fresh organic produce, local works of art, natural cosmetics, and crafts.There is an abundance of natural beauty throughout the island with breath-taking panoramas from many vantage points. Ruckle Park and Mount Maxwell are among the many favourite walking, trekking, and cycling destinations.
Why do I have to talk to April before the retreat?
This is simply so that we can get an idea of your project, writing style, and personal intentions for the retreat. We will be a small group (approximately 12 to 16 writers) living, working, and playing together for 6 days/5 nights and we need to ensure that we have a compatible group. All writers, from emerging to professional, are welcome.
Why is the retreat fee in US dollars when the retreat is in Canada?
US dollars are a standard for international transactions. Deep Story Design use USD for all service prices. Anyone is welcome to pay the currency converted amount in Canadian dollars. Email April if you have any concerns about currency or conversions.
Will I get my own bedroom?
Yes. You’ll have your own bedroom, which may have one or two beds in it, and either a shared bathroom down the hall or a private bath (for a higher rate). If you would like to share a two-bed room with a friend who is also attending the retreat, you will each receive a reduced rate.
Do I get to write in a private space?
The farm is full of places to set up a laptop, and you might want to move around from day to day. From the Village Building to the Barn to the Gatehouse, plus outside spaces, you’ll find many cozy spots to create.
What about wifi and cell phone access?
Wifi is available, and strong, in all the main buildings. It may become spottier further afield on the property. The south end of Salt Spring, where Stowel Lake Farm is located, does not have great cell phone signal. Part of the intention of the retreat is to allow you to “unplug” a bit so that you can really immerse yourself in your creative process, so plan to be able to work “offline” while here.
What if I have dietary constraints?
The farm kitchen team are able to create modified dishes if they are needed. Please let us know in advance if you have special dietary requests. We will our best to accommodate each writer’s needs.
What if I have some physical limitations?
You must be physically able to navigate uneven terrain and stairs. There is no elevator at the farm, though there are some rooms on the ground floor. Please contact April with any concerns.
Are there laundry facilities?
Not at the farm, so it’s recommended to bring everything you’ll need for the retreat. There is laundromat in the town of Ganges, a fifteen minute drive away.
Any other comfort tips?
It will likely be warm and dry in September, but good weather can’t be guaranteed. You may want to bring a pair of slippers to wear inside, slip-on outdoor shoes for going between buildings, flip flops for shared showers, and a jacket, scarf, or wrap for the evenings. If it is hot, there’s a nearby lake for swimming, so why not pack a swimsuit just in case? If we get some rain, be aware that this is the countryside and it can get muddy from time to time, so a thicker soled shoe or boot might be handy (footy?).
What happens after the retreat?
April will offer a special monthly online writing group for retreat participants for three months following the retreat, from October to December 2024. This monthly meeting will provide ongoing support for the projects worked on during the retreat. In addition, each writer will be offered a free 1:1 45-min story coaching call to be scheduled within 6 months of the retreat ($150 value).
Have I missed a question? Please let me know!
Getting to Salt Spring Island
Salt Spring Island can be reached by ferry from Vancouver or Victoria using BC Ferries, or by float plane via Harbour Air or Sea Air (links below).
From Vancouver by Ferry
Take the thru-fare trip to from Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal to Fulford Harbour via Swartz Bay.
Take the thru-fare trip from Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal to Fulford Harbour via Swartz Bay or take the direct ferry from Tsawwassen to Salt Spring Island (Long Harbour). It is highly recommended to make reservations with BC Ferries when travelling by car.
From Victoria by Ferry
Commute to Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal and take the ferry from Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal to Salt Spring Island (Fulford Harbour).
Note: Reservations are not available between Swartz Bay and Fulford Harbour, it is first come first serve.
From Vancouver by Air
Fly from Vancouver to Victoria Airport. Take a 10 minute cab ride to Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal. Take the ferry from Swartz Bay to Fulford Harbour Terminal, Salt Spring Island.
Transportation To and From
the Retreat Location
If traveling without a car, Stowel Lake Farm will do their best to accommodate guests by providing up to two complimentary pick ups, one from the Fulford Ferry and one from Ganges Harbour, that coordinate with the check in of 3-5pm. (Transportation is not guaranteed if not confirmed with the retreat leader more than 72 hours in advance.)
Guests arriving outside of the scheduled times, can access the bus or taxi services available on Salt Spring Island.
$2,150 to $2,650
• 5 nights/6 days accommodation at Stowel Lake Farm
• Daily Breakfast Lunch & Dinner
• Daily Writing Workshops & Activities
• Post Retreat 1:1 Story Coaching Session with April
• Post Retreat 3-month Writing Group
fee does not include travel to Salt spring Island
US$500 or CA$650 deposit is required to hold your spot
Full or 50% of fee due by March 1st, 2024
Remaining fee balance due no later that June 1st, 2024
Payment Plans Available ~ Email to Discuss