By Howard Tayler | November 22, 2013 - 8:00 am - Posted in Conventions, Site News

*drum roll*

We are thrilled to announce Out of Excuses II: the second annual Writing Excuses Workshop and Retreat! Our event last year was a resounding success, so we’ve polished our microphones and carved out our schedules and we’re raring to go. And we want you to join us!

What is Out of Excuses?

One full week of classes, workshops, and open writing time, all with the (Hugo award-winning!) cast of Writing Excuses: Mary Robinette Kowal, Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells. We’ll teach you, we’ll talk to you, we’ll hang out, we’ll record live podcasts, we’ll even make you dinner. Imagine waking up to a character class with Mary Robinette; writing all afternoon and then getting advice from Brandon about the chapter you just wrote; eating a delicious dinner artfully grilled by Howard while you talk through your plot outline with Dan. That lucky writer could be you!

Mark your calendars for these two dates:

  • January 18th, 2014: Registration opens at 9:00 am EST
  • September 29 through October 5, 2014: Out of Excuses II

And now, the pertinent details…

Registration opens January 18, and will likely close on January 18th as well. Last year we sold out in 9 minutes, and this year we’re reducing the number of memberships from 30 to 24, so expect the retreat to fill up fast. Memberships will cost $750 per person plus housing (around $500 at the hotel around the corner; more if you want one of the rooms on campus, less if you can arrange your own housing somehow). You will need to arrange your own means of travel. Watch this space, and listen to the podcast, for more details on how to register.

Scholarship:  One of those 24 memberships will be reserved for a scholarship recipient. This will be based on merit, need, and diversity, and we expect the competition to be fierce. If you can afford the normal retreat price, please don’t wait and hope you’ll get the scholarship, because you won’t. The scholarship will pay for a membership, a slot in the hotel, and up to $500 for gas or airfare. We’ll provide more information before registration opens.

The 2014 Out of Excuses Writing Retreat runs from September 29 through October 5. There will be three days of writing classes and workshops, followed by three days of blissful writing time, capped off by a closing half-day filled with wonder and amazement. All meals will be provided, and every night you’ll have the chance to sit in as we record live episodes of the podcast. The retreat will be held in Tennessee, at the Kowal family estate, which is even more gorgeous and wonderful than you can imagine. Last year we watched Jaws, played a crocquet LARP, and chatted with a few surprise guests. What will we do this year? You’ll have to come and find out.

Attendees can fly into Chattanooga, or can fly into Atlanta and catch a shuttle to Chattanooga. Hopefully this provides you with enough information to determine your travel budget. Once you get to Chattanooga, we’ll handle getting you to the event.

This entry was posted on Friday, November 22nd, 2013 at 8:00 am and is filed under Conventions, Site News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

26 Comments

  1. November 22, 2013 @ 8:50 am


    Yay!

    Posted by Beth
  2. November 22, 2013 @ 9:01 am


    So very excited! I didn’t start listening to WE until after last year’s registration, and have been waiting ever since for this announcement. I have been scraping pennies together, and feel I’ll have more than enough saved up before registration. Now I just need to be quick on the trigger come 1/18!

    Thanks for doing this again guys and gal!

    Posted by Chris Dunbar
  3. November 22, 2013 @ 9:06 am


    […] self publishing, or if you have ever wanted to attend a writing retreat/workshop and seminar the second annual Writing Excuses Retreat and Workshop is THE one to […]

  4. November 22, 2013 @ 9:46 am


    I’d love to go, but money’s too tight to justify a week off of work. Maybe next year. I still have plenty of other things I can work on with my writing in the meantime.

    Posted by Ty Briggs
  5. November 22, 2013 @ 10:14 am


    Wow. It’s awesome you guys are doing this again… but that’s a pretty penny, for sure. I doubt very seriously I’d come even close to qualifying for the scholarship on “need”, even though there’s no way I could justify this expense. It would be superbly awesome to go, but I can say with a certain amount of confidence that it won’t be next year. :(

    Maybe in a few years, if you guys keep doing this, I can squirrel away a little at a time. Does it seem like it might be feasible, if one lived in the Atlanta area (and if you keep doing this in Chattanooga), to commute up to this to save money on lodging expenses?

    Anyway, kudos for doing this again, and here’s hoping it stays an annual tradition… :)

    Posted by Stephen A. Watkins
  6. November 22, 2013 @ 11:46 am


    *crosses fingers* Please writing gods – no emergencies between now and Jan 18th, please, please, please. (Been squirreling my money away all year. :))

    Posted by Peggy Allred :)
  7. November 22, 2013 @ 12:07 pm


    Awesome!
    I’m so excited about this guys!

    You guys have been amazing teachers already, seriously impacting my work. I’m getting published at the end of the year, and I don’t know if this would have happened without the tools that you lovely people have given me to do it. :)

    It would be amazing to actually have a week-long session with you guys, but mostly I’d just like to give you big hugs, and say “Thanks!”

    Hope to see you there!

    Posted by Luke Minaker
  8. November 22, 2013 @ 1:54 pm


    In order to squirrel away enough cash for this retreat, I’ve started selling my plasma. Twice a week I spend 45 minutes with a needle in my arm and earbuds in my head (tuned to WE, no less), and have slowly built up a stash of money.

    There are 44 weeks until the retreat. If you donate plasma twice a week from now until then – and average $50 a week doing so, like I do in my area – you’ll have $2200. That is more than enough for the retreat, lodging, and airfare from just about anywhere in the lower 48. Obviously you need the cash on registration day, but maybe you could borrow that from someone or dip into savings briefly or throw it on a low (read 0%) interest credit card, knowing you’ll be able to slowly pay it back by the end of September.

    Obviously this isn’t for everyone, just sharing what I’ve been doing to make this work. When it comes to registration day, I don’t want anything standing in my way to attending, except perhaps for 24 other people that are quicker with the mouse than I am. (However, I’m hoping years of playing RTS’s on the PC have prepared me for that!)

    Good luck to all!

    Posted by Chris Dunbar
  9. November 22, 2013 @ 3:42 pm


    I won’t be able to attend – since writing isn’t my main career, and I will be studying a Uni for the next few years – but even so, I am pleased you are running these for the sake of all the other listeners to your brilliant Pod Cast.
    Cheers guys!

    Posted by Ben Lowe
  10. November 23, 2013 @ 12:38 am


    I’m excited! We’ll see if it’s in the bugdet for this year, though because of some recent medical expences, I’m afraid I already know the answer. I do hope you guys keep doing this for years to come because I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that if I can’t attend this year I’d relish the opportunity to learn more from you all at some point in the future.

    Posted by Branson Roskelley
  11. November 23, 2013 @ 12:24 pm


    Well, if I manage to get my taxes done, I may just have enough for this… Sorta dependent on that though. My husband hasn’t been working for a few months now and money’s starting to get tight.

    If I don’t, I’ll should still get to meet Brandon at the conference, When Words Collide, here in Calgary next year!

    Posted by B.A. Matthews
  12. November 23, 2013 @ 1:06 pm


    Yay! I didn’t make it in last year, so I’m excited about a second opportunity like this! And also THANK YOU for the schedule date…it’s perfect!

    Posted by Jesse Cunningham
  13. November 23, 2013 @ 2:00 pm


    It appears there will be a lot of squirrels at this retreat. I will be sure to bring a few bags of peanuts. ;)

    Posted by Luke Minaker
  14. November 24, 2013 @ 1:37 am


    Most of you Writing Excuses listeners probably don’t need the encouragement, but if you’re on the fence as to whether it’s worth doing: it totally is. It totally, totally is.

    I learned a whole lot, met some amazing people (and also the Writing Excuses crew :P), and got to spend a whole week just working on writing in an environment that completely supported that. As an added bonus, the location is lovely and perfect for the purpose.

    I would go again if I could. But I do need to warn you of one thing: ‘ware the chairs.

    Posted by Sean
  15. December 13, 2013 @ 11:01 am


    I really hope I am able to do this. I bet the leaves are so beautiful during that time of year.

    Posted by Jeff Valluzzi
  16. January 13, 2014 @ 9:30 am


    Please understand that I am NOT TROLLING and I am NOT RANTING.
    I really want to understand. When you say applicants will be for merit, need, and diversity, what do you mean by diversity?
    I think it’s great that POC and LGBT are getting more of a voice than ever in Fantasy and SciFi. Their contributions can only make it richer.
    But when you put people in direct competition, like for a scholarship, and say we are giving preference to certain races/genders/orientations how is that not just asking other races/genders/orientations to take a turn being at a disadvantage? Why not do it anonymously?
    If you want to do your part to promote POC fantasy writers, then shouldn’t you just call it a POC scholarship? That’s fine. That’s totally great. I think ConOrBust is a great thing to do and if you want to do that here, great. But I just think you should call it that so people you don’t consider diverse enough won’t waste their time or get their hopes up.

    Posted by Trying to Understand
  17. January 15, 2014 @ 10:42 pm


    I hate to be another person that says “what about me and my specific question?” But, um, what about me and my specific question? ;)

    If I’m lucky enough to get a spot- I need to know if you keep a waiting list, or something similar? I saw that the refund rate would be 100% if someone else could be found to take the spot.

    I really hate to be flakey like that but- we’ve been fighting my babies brain tumor for the last 8 months and if any of his MRI’s come back bad, everything else will drop off. Everything. I won’t have time to find someone else to take the spot. However, if the scans look ok it will be a good, positive thing for me to do this.

    And I really had to comment (first comment after many years of listening- sorry- and thank you!) to respond to Chris Dunbar.

    Chris, I don’t care why you donate plasma. The why doesn’t matter, the what does. Hospitals can find blood from another hospital if they need to. They really, really need it and cut it too close but they are generally fine on that count. Not so with plasma, they run out of plasma.

    I’m going to break it down so you understand the good that your bi-weekly commitment does. I have lost count of how many times my son has received plasma (and blood). The take-you-to-the-very-edge-of-life chemo that he was on, that many are on, destroys plasma levels. When his levels are low a needle prick from the day before will start to bleed again if the bandage is taken off. Heaven forbid he bang himself on the crib, or worse. Then when the chemo kids get the plasma, if they’re running a fever, it burns it out of their system. Doesn’t do much to the rest of their levels, but fever “eats” plasma. I can’t tell you how many prayers of gratitude I’ve said for donors of plasma. I know it’s not the most fun. I also know it saves lives. It doesn’t go in the trash, it’s not there in case of an unlikely trauma. It is vital and it is used. I just wanted you to know that. Thank you!

    Posted by Shauna C
  18. January 17, 2014 @ 7:45 am


    […] we announced in November, we are holding the second annual Out of Excuses Retreat this year, September 29 through October 5. […]

  19. January 18, 2014 @ 7:36 am


    Wow! Trying to get a ticket to this was CRAZY!

    I was sitting hitting F5 (refresh) on my browser every two-three seconds, and the tickets went from N/A directly to Pending at about 6:05am (I am on the West Coast). There was literally not even the space of 3 seconds where I could have clicked “purchase”. Maybe I hit refresh 1 second too early? Or one second too late…

    Very disappointed.

    Congrats to everyone who made it in! You and your near-magical instant-clicks to purchase a ticket have served you well! :)

    Posted by Luke Minaker
  20. January 18, 2014 @ 8:28 am


    Yeah, I had the exact same experience. It went instantly from N/A to pending at 9:05. That was even with my husband sitting next to me hitting refresh in a non synchronized fashion on his computer.. The writing retreat gods were not with us today.

    At least he had the presence of mind to put me on the waiting list that showed up while I just stared at the screen going “Noooooo”.

    Big bummer. Big sigh.

    Next year, right?

    For those of you that got in. Think of us fondly. Maybe have some hot chocolate by the fire for us. :)

    Posted by Shauna C
  21. January 18, 2014 @ 8:45 am


    I did get in! So sorry to hear you couldn’t make it, Luke & Shauna, we will reserve a spot by the fire for you ;)

    Anyway, out of curiosity – coming from the Netherlands, am I the only non-native speaker attending this year? And what about age: will I also be the youngest with my 21 years, or are there people younger than me?

    Can’t wait to meet you all!

    Posted by Alexander
  22. January 22, 2014 @ 1:12 pm


    The event unlocked on eventbrite at 9:04 est. I have no idea why eventbrite’s code thinks it’s a good idea to have things start 4 minutes after the scheduled time. If you refreshed at 9:05, then you were probably too late.

    Posted by Hyrum
  23. January 25, 2014 @ 5:58 pm


    Shauna, the exact same thing happened to me – right down to my husband being smart enough to add me to the waiting list while I was still staring stunned at the screen. (Was it insane of me to have counted/planned on being there?) *hugs* It really sucks, doesn’t it.

    (Mary twittered that there were around 500 connections to the event before it went live!!)

    My deepest sympathy to you, Luke, and anyone else who tried and didn’t get a spot.

    Posted by Peggy Allred :)
  24. January 27, 2014 @ 6:36 am


    […] The Out of Excuses Writing Retreat - September 29 – October 5 in Chattanooga, TN I can’t even express how excited I am about this.  The team from the Writing Excuses podcast (Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler) are doing their second week-long writing retreat!  And I got in!  I participated in one of Mary’s short story classes back in November and it was incredibly helpful.  I’m so looking forward to spending an entire week with some great writers, and, of course, the authors running the retreat. Mary is doing another workshop called Writing the Other in June, which sounds amazing.  Two people from my writing group are going to that.  I couldn’t swing the timing this year, but I sincerely hope she offers it again next year.  The instructors she’s working with on that one are David Anthony Durham, K. Tempest Bradford, Mary Robinette Kowal, Nisi Shawl, and Cynthia Ward.  It’s going to be so cool! (Also, if the necklace Mary is wearing looks familiar, it’s because it’s the same one from further up the page next to the Magic City entry.  I made it.  It is one of the coolest things ever that she wore it.  At the HUGO’S!) […]

  25. February 28, 2014 @ 10:28 am


    […] list is advice for the lucky folks attending The Out of Excuses Writing Retreat II: The Retreatening, and much of the advice is going to be specific for this retreat, though probably applicable to the […]

  26. February 28, 2014 @ 10:28 am


    […] list is advice for the lucky folks attending The Out of Excuses Writing Retreat II: The Retreatening, and much of the advice is going to be specific for this retreat, though probably applicable to the […]