CreativCastle is my dream of founding a creative writing retreat and co-working space in a glorious historical monument. My goal is to use Kickstarter to raise enough money to buy one, but in 2016 I’ll be renting a castle with some friends and special guests.
Below is my original plan, but it’ll be awhile until I can grow my platform big enough to pull it off (renting is cheaper, and smarter, but gives me less control over the space and experience.)
Hi, I’m Derek Murphy.
In the past five years I’ve been making a pretty good living online as an artist and writer. I also coach people how to start creative businesses online that make money from day one.
My wife and I love to travel and have adventures.
But there are two things I’ve been dissatisfied with.
1. To live a productive, creative lifestyle, you need to be in an inspiring environment.
But a spacious, beautiful apartment (that also happens to be in a natural setting) is too expensive.
2. You also need to be surrounded by a group of amazing people with similar goals, so you can give each other feedback and support.
I’ve gotten pretty good at achieving small goals: publishing books and hitting bestseller lists, book galleries and selling fine art, starting profitable online businesses and active communities… but it’s not enough.
I want to do something remarkable. I want to offer a life-altering experience that no one else can match.
And I want to share it with you.
Rather than doing something boring like Skype coaching or weekend writing retreats, I want to offer a life-changing experience. To do that, I need something a lot grander than a three-star hotel. Something like this.
It’s gotta be inspirational. Not just pleasant or calming or comfortable: the natural beauty should be so overwhelming you can’t believe it’s real.
It should be historical, with modern furnishings but a classic feel so that you can easily imagine yourself slipping through time; an ageless, timeless experience.
It should be big – big enough to accommodate at least 25 people each month; I’m very interested in the idea of having a glorious “main house” but also building a bunch of micro houses on the property for extra beds and extreme solitude, silence and reflection.
The main castle/chateau will be restored in glory and beauty, but with modern convenience (I don’t want it to be too modern and shiny… I want it to be authentic). There will be fast internet and hot coffee, but depending on the age of the building, we may not have all the comforts you’re used to.
If it gets cold we’ll pile on the blankets or hand out fingerless gloves, light fires and make a batch of hot spiced wine. If it’s too hot we can find a fan or you can talk a cool walk through the woods or a dip in the pool (there will probably be a pool).
It may not be as refined and glamorous as I imagine at first (it depends how much we raise and what I can afford) but even if I buy a fixer-upper, I’ll furnish it lovingly with ancient leather chairs and solid oak tables. It will have an enormous library of the world’s best literature and hundreds of reproductions of the world’s finest paintings.
Although a good castle costs around 5 million USD, I’m confident that among us we can raise the funds to make this happen – I’m scheduling a Kickstarter campaign for the end of this year.
In the meantime, I’ll be castle shopping and blogging about all the amazing places we visit on this blog. We’ll post pictures of the insides of dozens of castles throughout Europe, and other articles on “luxurious” living or creativity.
On my main blog, www.creativindie.com, I talk about creating products (books, paintings) people love and building platforms that give you financial independence. I categorically reject that artists and writers need to be poor, starving, unloved, unrecognized. I for one plan to be very very comfortable; and solving the problem of income early on leaves me free to create valuable work without worrying about making a living.
Depending on space I’m keen to throw in some more modern touches, like a rock climbing gym or repelling down the walls, or a zipline. I’ve also always wanted a huge pool of those little plastic playgound balls. A jacuzzi or three wouldn’t hurt.
We’ll throw fancy galas every few weeks and invite live musicians whenever possible.
We’ll have chickens (so we can eat fresh eggs) and a big garden (so we can produce our own vegetables), and maybe swans and peacocks (because they’re pretty).
I’ve learned a lot about creative productivity, including:
Since my platform is mostly involved in publishing and book design, I’ll be offering a 21 day program for building a bestselling author’s platform as one of the main packages. But I’ll also develop a side course called “21 days to building a profitable online business.”
What I can’t guarantee yet is the space and size of personal rooms – they may have to be small, although I will try to avoid shared rooms. But they will be comfortable, safe, and private. Bathrooms may need to be shared. But the sheer grandeur of the environs should more than make up for it.
Sure, living in a castle would kickass. And surrounding yourselves with other, committed, energetic, successful writers who are building online platforms will change your life.
But you’ll also be part of the story.
A commune of professional writers, publishing books from a castle is a great media pitch; we’ll get a ton of coverage. We’ll probably have a secret seal you can add inside your books. We’ll promote and market for you from our websites – where you’ll be listed as participant.
Being one of the founding members of CreativCastle – the world’s best writing retreat – gives you something remarkable to build your author platform on. Besides just learning a ton about online business, besides having me and my team do a bunch of free work for you (book design, author websites, etc), besides the sense of community and invaluable professional contacts you’ll be making, you’ll be joining a powerful movement with a strong message: indie authors can be really freaking successful, mobilize to achieve unbelievable things, change the world and become beacons of creativity, independence, production and positivity.
I hate the starving artist ideology. I hate that most successful authors have to struggle through the writing and publishing process alone, and then fight hard to market their books. I hate how only a handful get really successful and few authors manage to make a living writing books.
I want to change all that, not only by helping the authors who join and come live with me, but as a point of inspiration and motivation for all the authors who don’t.
If you already have a large following in the publishing world, or have sold over 500,000 books, you can drop by anytime — we’ll keep a room open for you.
I’ll probably also take on a few people who’d like to do some cooking, cleaning, or specialized skills like web design, book editing, formatting or marketing. We’ll also need someone to fix things up (a handyman) or run errands.
Finally, I’ll be running a bunch of contests and fun stuff to give away free slots, and I’ll probably have some kind of affiliate system set up so that you can earn your place by selling 10 slots to other people.
Spacing and accommodation will depend on the size of the house; and hopefully we’ll get enough supporters to book all the rooms for 2 or 3 years in advance (which means we can buy a bigger and much more awesome castle!)
I’ll be running a Kickstarter campaign, probably in the fall of 2015. I’ll be in Europe most of 2015 shopping for castles. I need to raise at least $1,000,000 USD – out of that I’ll look for property I can buy for about $600,000 – the rest will be for food, transportation, staff, maintenance and property taxes. But the really nice places go for at least 5million. The first year we’ll focus on providing outstanding value and experiences. I’ll will be your personal publishing champion or online business coach.
Then we’ll open up another round for year two. There will probably be room for only about 40 people at a time, so if this is something you might want to do, please join my email list or follow me on Facebook or Twitter so that you’ll know when I launch the project.
The location will depend on whichever country has the most incredible property, but the short list includes:
We will help you get here, but the plane ticket is up to you and is not included in your reward.