Write By The Lake

Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop and Retreat: June 15-19

"By the time the week is done, you’ve learned so much and laughed and grown together so much that you want to keep going. You become driven after a week here."

Jabe Stafford, Lansing, MI [Referring to Angela Rydell’s section]

Help Support the Continuing Studies Writing Programs!



Thank you to our 2020 sponsors:

Write On Door County logo
Orange Hat Publishing logo
Dandelion Web Marketing and Consulting logo
Anthology logo

The 22nd Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat is online for 2020!

Join writers from across the country in a professional, friendly, creative atmosphere. UW English credits extra.

The Writer magazine applauds our June retreat

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.”

At A Glance

What: 5 days of professional instruction for writers of all levels
When: June 15-19, 2020
Where: Online
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


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

Your writing is important!

With the health of our writing community in mind, this year’s retreat has gone online — with NEW bonuses for you.

Four sections are offered ONLINE June 15-19, in easy formats for participation.

  • Section 1: From Novice to Novelist, with John DeDakis
  • Section 4: Reinventing Fairy Tales & Myths for All Ages & Genres, with Kat Falls
  • Section 7: Five Pressure Points That Propel Plot from Page One to Done, with Angela Rydell
  • Section 10: Write Meaningful Nonfiction: Turn Personal Experiences, Knowledge, and Journaling into an Inspiring Book, Blogs, or Other Writing, with Julie Tallard Johnson

All other sections have been cancelled this year.

Enroll in any of the four sections and receive bonuses:

  • An additional FREE critique of 20 pages from our staff this summer
  • A reduced fee for our fall and spring Writers’ Institute conference

Classes will not meet for 3 hours continuously online as promoted elsewhere, but will adjust to shorter periods online and varied activities to make it a fun and rewarding experience. Participate from home without the worry and expense of travel and still meet other writers, be part of a critique group, and learn from experts!

Stay safe and be productive. We promise a valuable experience. Plan to make great progress with your writing.

~ Christine DeSmet, director, christine.desmet@wisc.edu

Our Writers Get Published

Biography debuts about Edith Rockefeller McCormick

Congratulations to Andrea Friederici Ross, of Elmhurst, Illinois, for the publication of Edith/The Rogue Rockefeller McCormick (Southern Illinois University Press, August 2020).

The nonfiction book examines the life of Edith Rockefeller McCormick who had a huge impact in the Chicago area.

Andrea was part of our annual June UW-Madison Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat a few years ago in Christine DeSmet’s section.

Read more Success Stories from Write-by-the-Lake

How it works and what we offer

Choose the one section you’re most interested in. Limit of 15 participants per section unless noted.

There are sections for beginning writers as well as those at publication level. Not sure what to choose? Director Christine DeSmet can help. christine.desmet@wisc.edu or 608-262-3447.

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

See more on our fees & credits page, including all the great, quality experiences included in your fee!

Ready to get started? View our speakers and sessions

Past participants answer the question: What did you like most about Write-by-the-Lake?

“Concentrating on one topic for five days with the same small group with the same wonderful instructor made this the best writing experience ever.”

“It gave me validation for my writing efforts. That came from both the instructor and my fellow workshop attendees.”

“Having concentrated time to learn new skills and insights, to practice them, and to meet others who are also interested in doing the same.”

Meet Your Director

Christine DeSmet teaches writing online and in person. She also coordinates the UW–Madison Critique Services for writers and the Online Badge program and Online Certificate in Fiction and Certificate in Nonfiction programs. Christine is an award-winning author of novels, short stories, screenplays, and plays. She also coaches writers in the UW–Madison Writers’ Institute Pathway to Publication national coaching program. christine.desmet@wisc.edu, 608-262-3447.