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Durham, NC 27701

Writing Workshops & Retreats - France, Italy, North Carolina

What People Say About Writeaways



Writeaway in France

If this isn’t every writer’s dream, it should be! Just this week away from the world, dedicated to honing the craft with a congenial little gang of fellow writers would be enough. But chasing the muse through the gardens and vineyards of an honest-to-god chateau? A French chef who nightly exhausts our superlatives? Incroyable! John & Mimi are tireless in their full-time attention to our needs, literary and otherwise. They nudge and encourage and challenge and inspire—and frankly, spoil us rotten! Mille mercis!
— Florence, Durham, North Carolina
I came to this Writeaway as a respite from a life of noise and demands—which I love, but from which I needed a break. The chateau and its history, and especially the manner in which it wears its time, provide the grand setting to listen to the writer I have always known to be within me. As I wrote on, I could not hide behind my daily routine and responsibilities to “excuse” myself from the need to face my fears. and—write. Everything about the week conspired to clear the air for the writing process, from our hosts’ attention to detail to the immaculate dinners. This experience, being the first of my endeavors as a writer, will remain a milestone in the development of my voice.
— Cris, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
My experience here at the chateau has been on so many levels. First, the cherished opportunity to work and write with a group and instructors who have like interests. Second, the place…the incredible place—the chateau, the surrounding countryside and the French people (who, by the way, are very friendly)! And third, it has been a journey of discovery for me. I have learned so much about myself as a writer—learning how to take a beautiful spot like this French chateau and create characters that I would have never written about before—also, working on a part of my writing that I felt needs work—being more descriptive of characters and surroundings. And, after a week, I can see a good deal of improvement. Lastly, I cannot fail to mention the food. Ah, the food! Our chef, Anne, is a culinary marvel. Every night, delicious four-course meals. C’est magnifique!
— David, Kerrville, Texas
I’m shocked and surprised at how confident I suddenly feel as a writer.
— Heather, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
A few of my favorite things about Writeaways: No matter the composition of the group of writers, they are always supportive, eager to help even a novice writer, and bring out the best in each other’s writing. The chateau grounds are beautiful, the chateau old and quirky, but charming. It is possible to feel at peace, isolated from the cares of daily life. Did I mention that the chef is extraordinary?
— Ginny, Raleigh, North Carolina
What do you get when you add a lovely 15th century French chateau, the Loire Valley, fabulous wine, even more fabulous food lovingly prepared, to personalized, friendly writing instruction and guidance by two published authors? A Writeaway.
— Joyce, Dallas, Texas
Where can I begin to thank you for this wonderful week? Thank you for encouraging me to take on this project. It is probably one of the most important things I will do in my life. Wow! That makes it pretty powerful. And you facilitated that! I admire your ability to cut to what’s most important and so quickly. You barely know me yet you figured out what I needed to hear. Sounds grandiose, but I do believe this week has been life-changing for me. What more can I say? You are so full of enthusiasm for life and of course for writing.
— Linda, Gillette, Wyoming
The chateau itself, the grounds, the food – all wonderful. And to top off all that, you two are such good teachers, knowledgeable, smart, funny, incisive, and patient. Oh – hardworking, dedicated, talented. Thank you.
— Candace, Victoria, British Columbia
Your humor and leadership were much appreciated. I know the work that went into planning this event – and we all felt such growth, thanks to your careful attention to detail.
— Kim, Gillette, Wyoming
A wonderful week that really challenged me as a writer. I love the individual instruction that is always available to us. You two are the perfect hosts, always checking that we have what we need. And, of course, the food was excellent. Thank you for a great experience.
— Mary, Wellesley, Massachusetts



Writeaway in Italy

Having been out of school for over two decades, my true learning neurons (more than two, I hope) needed some warming up. You gave me the confidence and right amount of push to dive in.

I intended to come to Palaia and soak in the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures of the Tuscan countryside. With your help, I found all that and the world I created with my own writing – a world previously locked behind synaptic walls.

You taught me how to ask the right questions to get the right details to engage my reader. Your voices now naturally fill my head. Every word is much more intentional – my words do more than fill space on a page.

Grazie for your expertise, your keen listening, your thoughtful feedback, your ability to guide my words to a place they can flourish. You’ve awakened a writer in me.
— Alli, Richmond, Virginia



Writeaway by the River





Writeaways by the River helped me get out of my own creative way, by showing me that I am a writer and not merely a woman who has a private drawer of papers written to make sense of her world. Mimi and John (and the talented writers who also attended) gave me the encouragement, critical input and tools that will allow me to build my skills and my confidence. From the best gluten-free cookies I ever tasted, to the magical warmth of Whitehall, to Mimi’s patience with my uncertainty and naiveté as a writer, I recommend Writeaways by the River without hesitation.
— Lisa, Bridgewater, Virginia
The River Writeaway Workshop went beyond my expectations. As a beginner writer, I appreciated the intimate atmosphere, the positive learning workshop sessions and the camaraderie among other writers. The delicious meals, the beautiful surroundings and the comfortable home were a bonus. I am delighted to come away with new friends, validated as a writer and inspired to continue writing. I will definitely be back!

John and Mimi work well together, encouraging and teaching in tandem. The readings, the workshop sessions and the personal attention to each writers’ style makes this workshop stand out. I further developed my own writing voice, as well as learned new writing techniques all in one weekend. I look forward to participating in another Writeaway soon.
— Melora, Dallas, Texas



Writeaway on the Outer Banks

Mimi and John not only helped me find my inner voice, but placed a megaphone in its hand.
— Matt, Raleigh, North Carolina
The Writeaways workshop was rewarding on so many levels: the writing exercises, the balance of structure and free time, feedback/direction, attention both individually and as a group was invaluable. I’m leaving feeling encouraged, inspired & enlightened. Thank you John & Mimi for an incredibly enriching experience!
— Terri, Raleigh, North Carolina
I’m inspired to work and excited about new possibilities of where I can take my novel.
— Laura, Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina
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Writeaway in Beaufort

I didn’t know until I got busy how essential to the process being removed from my regular life would be. John and Mimi took care of all the necessities, creating a space for us to write and indulging us along the way. The food was amazing!

Mimi and John are so skilled at perceiving and articulating what’s going on in people’s writing and how to take it to the next level. They don’t deny the hard work that goes into writing, but they somehow manage to keep me moving forward with encouragement, insight, laughter, and compassion. Their complementary approaches, along with their seemingly endless bag of fun, effective, and creative writing exercises, made the week worth every bit of the time, money, and energy invested.

The whole week was extremely well planned, and yet there was plenty of flexibility. John and Mimi maintained the overall arc and purpose of the experience while being exquisitely responsive to our individual needs.
— Charity, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Invaluable experience! John and Mimi are smart, intuitive, and capable, and give specific and supportive advice about writing. By Friday I realized what a transforming week it had been.

Kudos to John and Mimi for being able to balance writing, critiquing, discussion, and cooking, so that in one short week, you can become a writer. I’d do it again without reservation.
— Jean, Chapel Hill, North Carolina



Winter Beach Writeaway

I escaped the inland winter, felt free and safe, got pampered, was deliciously fed, solved three problem stories, kick-started my muse, hung out with smart people, formed new friendships, was soothed by the susurrating surf, drank fine wines and the best beers, basked in the good will of good people. Mimi Herman and John Yewell’s Winter Beach Writeaway at Topsail Island was amazing and I will do it again!
— Ron, Durham, North Carolina
Writeaways gave me exactly what I needed to tidy up my play for submission — workshops, private conferences, a talented, serious writers’ group, time to write away from my everyday life, and fabulous food, drink, and location. John and Mimi are great hosts, critics, and writing partners. Thanks! I will be back.
— Kate, Columbus, Ohio
Mimi Herman and John Yewell offer a perfect combination of structured group activity and solitary free time. I came away from the Winter Beach Writeaway with a new character and a solid feel for the structure of my novel. Three healthy meals per day, no housekeeping duties, a lovely place to stay in an atmosphere of creativity, who could ask for more?
— A. J., Hillsborough, North Carolina


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