Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop and Retreat

The Writer magazine applauds our June retreat!

The September 2017 issue of The Writer magazine features the Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat in a colorful two-page spread. The Writer said: “It’s like two semesters of an MFA program. You work so hard and get so much to take home with you.” The article features an extensive interview with Christine DeSmet, director, and instructor of one of the event’s novel Master Classes. Writers from across the country and working in every form of writing attend the program held in June. It offers sections for all levels.

The 20th edition will be held June 11-15, 2018 on the UW-Madison campus. Registrations begin in January, but Master Class applicants can apply any time of year. Thanks to The Writer magazine for its support of this program!

At a glance

What: 5 days of professional instruction for writers of all levels

When: June 11-15, 2018 • 9:30a-12:30p each day

Who: Taught by leading educators and writers from UW-Madison and across the country

CEUs: Continuing education units available, including optional graduate credits in English. See fees & credits» for more information.

Questions? Contact Christine DeSmet at christine.desmet@wisc.edu or 608-262-3447


Our writers get published!

decorative elementSweet Wisdoms (Shanti Arts Publishing of Maine), a nonfiction self-help book by Angeline Haen of Sobieski, Wis., was released in paperback and e-book versions in February of 2017. Angeline worked on her book at the Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat with instructor Julie Tallard Johnson. Here’s the blurb: Not all wisdom is siphoned from bitter life experiences; wisdom has a sweet side. For Angeline Haen, wisdom is revealed through a natural curiosity about the mystical messages in our everyday circumstances: a van full of preschoolers, daily walks with Wally, ponderings over split-pea soup, and every pause of wonder in between. This charming and sublime book is an easy, big-hearted read, and it will inspire its readers to recognize and acknowledge the simple sweet wisdoms in their own life experiences.

profile pictureSays Angeline on dealing with resistance and worry: "Doubt and fear stalled my creative engine. I fell into a sputtered writing pattern of starts and stops. For me, the way to drive through fear’s heavy fog was to shine the bright light of writer’s love on the road ahead. I participated in the retreat…where writers supported the unfolding maps of other writers.

As a writer, you will inevitably turn onto a few bumpy roads. When you do, find people and places that can smooth over the surface. Keep driving the dream and you will never feel like you can’t get where you want to go and for goodness sakes don’t forget to enjoy the ride!"

See more Success Stories from Write-by-the-Lake»

And our writers can help you get published too

Write-by-the-Lake alum Jabe Stafford has a new blog post about steps to take to get the writing done despite all of life’s distractions. Check out his post at the website Write Plan…then get back to your writing!

Jabe is currently marketing a science fiction novel manuscript and also writes a fantasy & science fiction blog that’s a lot of fun.

2017 sections and speakers

A new, expanded array of sessions and topics to choose from plus several new instructors, as well as our back-by-popular-demand returning instructors. See the full list of sessions here»

Keynote speaker

Our keynote speaker for 2017 is Ann Garvin. You may recognize as the keynote speaker two years ago at Writers' Institute.

New feature for 2017: Bonus workshop with Tim Storm

Many have asked for a Saturday workshop for additional reflection and wisdom after the week. Join Tim Storm for an exploration of the internal arc of your story, as well as the writing issues you encountered during the week. This 5-hour workshop includes critiques of 1-5 pages. Turn problems into publishable prose. Open ONLY to those participating in the retreat. All retreat writers may sign up; you need not have been in Tim's week-long program. Limit 15. See more and REGISTER here»

How it works and what we offer

Choose the one section you're most interested in. Limit of 15 participants per section unless noted. (Master Class #31 has a limit of 8 participants, master class #14 has a limit of 6.)

Sections for beginning writers as well as those at publication level.

Optional: 1-3 graduate credits in English (offered in a partnership with UW-Madison Dept. of English).

Special low fees for nontraditional credit students. Plus, some grants may be available. See fees & credits page»

Meet your director

Author and scriptwriter Christine DeSmet teaches writing online and in person. She is the director of the annual June “Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat" and coordinator of “Critique Services” for writers.

Learn more about the sections & speakers, location & lodging, fees & credits, other resources, and how to register.

Thank you for your interest in Write-by-the-Lake!