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.)

The Story

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 so I’ve decided to buy a castle

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.

WaddesdonManor 800x535 My Castle

Or this.

6779 10637 F3IBC13RH2 My Castle

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.

It will be the most inspirational co-working space in the world

castle coworking space

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:

  • It’s eas­ier when you focus on only one thing at a time, and have no distractions.
  • It’s eas­ier when you are in a group of other peo­ple also attempt­ing big projects.
  • It’s eas­ier if you’re in a beau­ti­ful, “for­eign” envi­ron­ment, so that you feel pam­pered and spe­cial, with new and excit­ing surroundings.
  • There should be a lot of nature for long after­noon walks.
  • Some­body else should take care of cook­ing, clean­ing and chores, so you can focus on what’s important.

A luxurious writer’s retreat and startup incubator

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.

Click here to check out the rewards and pricing.

But it’s not about the accomodation

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.

Want to come for free?

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!)

When is it going to happen?

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:

  • France
  • Ger­many
  • Czech R.
  • Roma­nia
  • Italy
  • Por­tu­gal

We will help you get here, but the plane ticket is up to you and is not included in your reward.

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