The Out of Excuses Writing Retreat II: The Retreatening

*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.

26 thoughts on “The Out of Excuses Writing Retreat II: The Retreatening”

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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… 🙂

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

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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! 🙂

  15. 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. 🙂

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

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