In 2016 I’m going to rent a castle for a month during Nanowrimo. I’m inviting some bestselling authors to join me – and I’ll be doing a giveaway so two or three other people can come and write novels with us (no charge for them, but they’ll have to get to Europe on their own). If that sounds exciting, sign up on the list below so you don’t miss your chance to win.
In the back of my mind, I’ve been thinking that for CreativCastle to be achievable, I need a list of 100,000 people who are interested in the idea. Conversion of 1% of a list is industry standard… so I thought I’d just keep doing what I’ve been doing and growing my lists.
The obvious problem with that is, although I’m growing an email list of authors and writers interested in publishing, but not necessarily the type I will need to fund/support CreativCastle.
Recently I’ve been using some giveaways for list building and last night I finally decided to listen to all those people who have told me I shouldn’t just go out and buy a castle, I should rent first.
Test the idea out. So I’m going to: I’ll rent out a magnificent place for a couple weeks, maybe 2 or 3 times a year, and invite other people to come stay for free. I’ll run giveaways for the chance to win.
I’ll share pictures and videos and testimonials of how amazing the experience was. This could seriously work. 🙂
The Molly Keane Writers Retreat is located in the village of Ardmore in County Waterford. It was the writer Molly Keane’s residence, the place where she lived from 1950 up until her death in 1996. Her daughter made the home available for writers.
The house is a peaceful, secluded and comfortable family home with spectacular views over the bay, distant cliffs and vast sandy beaches only a 10 minute walk away. The house sleeps 9 easily and 11 using folding and sofa beds.
It is very comfortable, but may be unsuited to anyone who does not appreciate old things or those who have difficulties with stairs as a flight of steps leads up to the road.
– from the website
There’s certainly something remarkable about the Molly Keane house. It presents a tranquil environment for writers and artists who need some space and who want to be surrounded by beautiful, picturesque environments, in order for them to clear their and and complete their pieces.
The venue accommodates events like workshops, film talks, and the Molly Keane Writers Week. It also allows anyone to rent the venue for their own writing groups.
Visit their website for more details, and find out more about this wonderful writing retreat in Ireland.
*All photos are from the Molly Keane Writers Retreat website.
If you’re not yet familiar with coworking, here’s a simple Wikipedia article to keep you up to speed. Here’s a quote from the article:
Typically it is attractive to work-at-home professionals, independent contractors, or people who travel frequently who end up working in relative isolation. Coworking is also the social gathering of a group of people who are still working independently, but who share values, and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with people who value working in the same place alongside each other.
Coworking sounds like an appealing solution to people who are not as fond of isolation as some are, but affords the individual the chance to work independently, anyway. Coworking spaces exist in order to provide independent, work-at-home people the chance to work and, if eventually inclined, interact with other people. In fact, there are lists, such as this one, talking about how great it would be to consider working in coworking spaces. Just look at lists – there are a lot of benefits in coworking spaces. Here’s a quote from an article called What’s the Top Benefit of Co-Working Spaces by Rameet Chawla:
A great co-working space is a collection of minds inspired by the brand that brought them together. As a member, you benefit from the brand that creates the space, the ethos it aspires to, and the people it attracts. Not only can a great space provide great ideas, but the association could also lend credibility to your otherwise unknown startup.
So how does that fit the general theme of this site? How do coworking spaces and medieval castles fit together neatly?
Well, imagine coworking in these kinds of places:
Castles can be excellent, effective coworking spaces. Coworking, of course, used in a broader sense here. Individuals who engage in coworking spaces can meet people who have the same interests, share the same insights, and the same beliefs. With castles, it can possibly attract a more specific demographic. We’re talking about writers and artists of all persuasions, of course, and castles can provide an excellent venue for them to perform their work. Have you noticed how there are writing retreats held in relatively isolated, relaxed, or picturesque venues? Castles have their own charm, of course, and since artists have the tendency to relish their isolation, castles – cavernous as they are, designed to be huge and overwhelming – can serve a dual purpose: coworking spaces and writing retreat. Artists, especially, can benefit from castles and working in them. One can isolate oneself in one area of the castle, and when one wishes to converse with or work with others, one can move to a designated area in the castle and be with others.
This just speaks about the wonderful versatility of the castle. As well, you can enjoy nice views, and since a lot of castles have historical significance and are located near rustic towns, you can also enjoy the culture.
So keep that in mind. Would you like to have a castle as a coworking space and a writing retreat?
Wales is a really great place for picturesque landscapes and breathtaking locales. Here are five more places from Wales that are pretty cool and can be places for writer’s retreats.
1. Dinas Powys
Found in the Vale of Glamorgan, it is a village that has been populated since ancient times, and still remains largely rural. It’s the site of the remains of a Norman castle and of a Celtic hill fort, and also of several notable religious sites, like St. Peter’s Church.
2. Fonmon Castle
This one’s a medieval castle near the village of Fonmon in the Vale of Glamorgan. It was built by the St. John family during the 13th century. It is actually a venue for weddings and various events, although it is a private residence with a notable library and a garden.
3. Old Beaupre Castle
This structure is a ruined fortified medieval manor house, found in Llanfair. It was built around the 14th century and was owned by the Basset family during the 18th century.
Penmark is another rural village in the Vale of Glamorgan, and is home to the remains of a 13th century castle and a 13th century wall.
5. St. Donat’s Castle
This one is a medieval castle in the Vale of Glamorgan overlooking the Bristol Channel. In the castle grounds is St. Donat’s Arts Center, which includes a theatre. The site is also associated with a ghost haunting.
All images are from Wikipedia.
We’ve been looking at beautiful places in Europe, but we haven’t yet taken a look at the nice places on the other side of the world. There’s a lot of pretty places to go to in Asia, and Japan is filled with them – picturesque and captivating all the same. Here, we’ll look at some places that can be added to your itinerary, as dream writing retreats. Be inspired by the charm of Japan, and find something to write about, as we run down five places in Japan.
1. Meiji Shrine
Meiji Shrine is located in Shibuya in Tokyo, and is one of the most visited Shinto shrines in Japan. The tranquil, peaceful locales, of course, have cultural significance in Japan – as a shrine dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken.
Image credit: Time
Image credit: Japan Guide
2. Nijo Castle
Nijo Castle in Kyoto was built in 1603 for the first shogun of the Edo period, Tokugawa Ieyasu, and was completed later by Ieyasu’s grandson, Iemitsu. It is a relic of Japan’s feudal era, and was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 1994. Apart from the buildings in the compound, Nijo Castle boasts a lot of beautiful gardens to stroll through. The cherry trees, in particular, are a sight to see during full bloom – inspiring, and worth writing about, certainly.
Image credit: Kyoto City
Kamakura is found in Japan’s Kanagawa Prefecture, just a way away from Tokyo. Like the places listed before this, Kamakura has its own interesting local history. It served as Japan’s political center for a significant chunk of time, and is now a popular tourist destination. Among the many things that can be visited here are the large Buddha statue, and the many temples in the area.
Image credit: Japan Guide
Takayama is found in Japan’s Gifu prefecture, and is considerably traditional in appearance. Among the places that can be visited is the old town. It also boasts the Takayama Festival, which is held in spring and autumn.
Hida Folk Village
Image credit: Japan Guide
5. Temple of the Golden Pavilion
Finally, we have Kinkakuji, or more popularly known as the Temple of the Golden Pavilion. One interesting thing about this is that the top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. It was built as the retirement villa for one of Japan’s shoguns, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, and had been burned down several times in history – twice during the Onin War. There’s a lot in Kinkakuji that evokes the richness of the higher class during the time it was built in Japan, including a garden, the Anmintaku Pond (it’s rumored that it never dries up), Fudo Hall, statues related to Buddhism, and an Edo-period teahouse, Sekkatei. There’s a lot going on in terms of history in Kinkakuji, but it’s also extremely beautiful and picturesque, and takes you back to a time when samurai still roamed the land.
Image credit: Japan Guide
It goes without saying, of course, that these are only some of the places that can be found in Japan that may serve as personal writing retreats. There’s a lot to explore past these five, but of course you may want to go through them and reap whatever inspiration you can from these beautiful places.
I’m determined to buy a castle, because of what it represents: a community of creative people working together to complete a massive goal with physical reality. I want a huge, immense structure, so when you stand by it you are dwarfed and overwhelmed by the enormity of our conquest.
However, in terms of actually finding a place to be inspired, creative, and get work done… I’m also really drawn to more natural settings, usually in the mountains with a view.
Take this one for example.
All you really get is a medieval farmhouse with some smaller buildings. But imagine living there and waking up to these views! There’s unlimited, fresh natural springs nearby; the land has never been farmed with pesticides or chemicals; there’s plentiful hunting. With a satellite dish and some solar panels this property would make for perfect, off the grid living.
My main concern is that it’s too isolated, and we writers would soon drive each other crazy unless we had wide separately little cottages of our own, and even then we’d probably lust after some good shopping, restaurants and people watching.
We’ve seen some amazing paradores before (and we’ve even listed them down in a previous post), but of course there’s more to Spain than just some beautiful historical castles-turned-hotels. In fact, like many countries in the continent, Spain is filled with a lot of breathtaking sites – both historical and not so – that are worth visiting, and their beauty so unbelievably inspiring that they’re perfect for itineraries. Not just itineraries, but – more importantly, and more relevant to our purposes – writing retreats.
Today, we’re going to look at some of the most amazing locations in Spain that can be a great part of anyone’s itinerary, but will also serve as pretty awesome places to visit when you want to go on a writing retreat on your own, or with your writer friends.
1. The Town of Besalu
The medieval town of Besalu is located in Catalonia, and is known particularly for the 12th century bridge running over the Fluvia river. There’s a lot to see in the town, including the remains of a medieval synagogue, a 12th century Jewish ritual bath, and the Museum of Miniatures by Lluis Carreras.
Image credit: Hole in the Donut
Image credit: Spain Holiday
Image credit: Wikipedia
2. Aqueduct of Segovia
Less of an actual location and more of a tourist destination, the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Aqueduct of Segovia, is nevertheless a thing to be seen and experienced – and then written about. It’s one of the best-maintained ancient monuments left by Romans in the continent, and is so important to the town of Segovia.
Image credit: Bernard Gagnon
Image credit: McPolu
This municipality, located in the province of Zaragoza, has a long history backing it. Possessed by Arabs, then conquered by Alfonso the Battler, then serving as a site of several assemblies, and then resisting a siege, Daroca is steeped in history and grandeur, and the buildings that populate the area prove this.
Image credit: Ecelan
The picturesque town of Albarracin was declared a Monumento Nacional of Spain, and it’s easy to see why. Surrounded by hills and backed by a colorful history, Albarracin looks like the kind of sleepy town that seems as if it’s been pulled out of the past and brought to the present.
Image credit: Diego Delso (from Wikipedia)
As always, we’ve barely even scratched the surface yet, but these are just some of the wonderful places in Spain to visit, especially if you’re looking to make your own, tailor-made writing retreat. There’ll be more to come, certainly, but let these places inspire you for now.
All over the world, there are a ton of places – both fictional and real – that sound like they’d be a perfect fit in your itinerary. There are, as well, a lot of places that are ideal for when you just want to go out and write. In this series of posts, we’ll be looking at a few locations all over the planet, places that look perfect for writing retreats, or just retreats in general. In this post, we’ll be looking at some dream locations that are great for writing retreats in Britain.
The first in the list is the ever-popular Stonehenge, one of the biggest – perhaps even in a literal sense – tourist destinations in the world. Of course, since it is a tourist destination, thousands of people flock to the place regularly, and perhaps a lot of people in one place all at the same time does not a good writing retreat make. But, if we imagine that it’s not that big of a destination, then the Stonehenge would be worth visiting for writing retreats. The Stonehenge is a relic of history and steeped in mystery and wonder, supposed to be a burial ground from its beginnings. Such a place would be worth visiting on its own, but with the weight of the past attached to makes it worth visiting more, especially if you’re looking to be inspired by a thousand years’ worth of existence.
Image credit: English Heritage
2. Llanthony Priory in Wales
Llanthony Priory is a former Augustinian priory found in the Vale of Ewyas, in Monmouthshire. Historical sites are amazing, and Llanthony Priory is no exception. Its origins date back from the 12th century, built as a church dedicated to St. John the Baptist. In the later centuries, the estate would be purchased by Coloner Sir Mark Wood, and Wood would later sell the estate to poet Walter Savage Landor. That, in itself, should sound like it would make the priory a great place to use as a writing retreat, as one poet himself had lived on the estate.
Image credit: JohnArmagh
Image credit: Philip Halling
3. The Minack Theater in Cornwall
The Minack Theater is an open-air theater in Porthcurno in Cornwall. It’s still actually being used as a theater, which puts it closer to the artistic heart of things. It is also a tourist spot, and sees visitors regularly, even outside of the show season. But its seaside location and artistic spirit make it worth visiting, and perhaps make it incredibly inspiring as an artistic retreat, as well.
Image credit: Wikimedia
4. Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye looks like something out of an Elder Scrolls game. Found in Scotland, it has a breathtaking mountain range that looks like a set of jagged teeth reaching out to the sky. Like so many places in Britain, it’s also backed by a long and rich history, having been occupied by the Norse, as well.
Image credit: Dailymail UK
Image credit: Planet Ware
5. Dunvegan Castle
Castles are always interesting and rich in history, and Dunvegan Castle – located in Isle of Skye – is definitely no exception. It serves as the seat of the Clan MacLeod, a Highland Scottish clan associated with Isle of Skye. The castle itself is a marvel to behold, but Dunvegan also has its fair share of gardens to marvel at.
Image credit: Wikimedia
It goes without saying, of course, that these are just some of the places that can serve as dream locations for writing retreats. It doesn’t even cover half the world. It doesn’t even cover half of Britain, even, because there are way, way more places that are dream locations for retreats. But here, we have the first five that can serve as inspirations for our writing. And who knows? We might find ourselves there someday, writing, and dreaming.