Retreats! WIUITG Weekend Retreats!

Nerissa Nields hosts and facilitates writing retreats for all kinds of writers: novelists, short story tellers, songwriters, poets, journalists, memoirists, essayists, doodlers and scribblers of all kinds. She works with experienced writers and beginners alike.

To participate, email

Nerissa's Retreat Schedule 2014


Winter 2015 January 30-Feb. 1

Florida! February 20-22 in St Petersburg

Adirondacks June 26-28

Writing it Up in the Garden Summer Camp Monday July 20-Friday July 25 (tent)

Weekend Retreats start on Friday at 5:30pm with registration, dinner and a round of introductions. We'll gather for a delicious home-cooked meal and discussion around Nerissa's large dining room table. We'll write together and share what we've written that night. Saturday morning, Nerissa will serve you breakfast, coffee and tea, and we'll write from 9:30-noon. After lunch break, return at 3 for another couple hours of writing. Saturday dinner will be the traditional roast chicken with yams and a vegetarian alternative. We''ll hear from poets and songwriters Saturday night and then sing our hearts out (or play Attaturk...). Sunday, we'll gather for one more short writing session and then sharing. Retreat ends at noon on Sunday.

Retreats are an excellent time to get a project started, work uninterrupted on a longer piece or just breathe a little.

To register, write her at Cost is $200 for Weekend Writing Retreats and $400 for the Weeklong Summer Retreat ($300 for Creativity Retreats.) A non-refundable deposit of 50% is required to hold your spot. There is a surcharge if you choose to pay with PayPal, below.

The fee does not include accommodations, but there are lovely and affordable places to stay nearby and we can help direct you to them. Fee includes dinner on Friday and Saturday nights, abundant coffee and tea, and light refreshments. Breakfast and lunch are catch as catch can. The retreat is 1.2 miles from downtown Northampton, and a half a block from the bike path, right on the bus line.


photo by Kris McCue

Summer Adirondack Retreat June 26-28, 2015 Writing it up in the Garden Retreat in the Adirondacks!!!

For this retreat, we will write for the usual two days (Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday morning) and spend Sunday afternoon hiking, canoeing, and just hanging out in one of the most beautiful places on earth. The retreat is held in the town of Keene and the Nields Family house, a beautiful A frame with huge windows and generous porches, woods and lawn, and the spirit of Big Yellow. Not to be missed!


Summertime Weeklong Writers Retreat!
July 7-11 Monday-Friday
Finally--give yourself to your writing for one delicious week! We will meet from 9am-4pm. Mornings will be dedicated to writing in my beautiful house, inside or out on the porch, or patio, or in the secret spot in the center of my labyrinth...or even on the second floor of my barn. There will be breaks for stretches, tea and coffee, snacks. We'd have lunch together around my dining room table or outside in the backyard--I'd provide lunch. We'd get back to writing at 1 and do some light sharing/workshopping from 3-4. Think Yaddo. Think MacDowell. Evenings, you are on your own to explore the cultural life of the Five College area, dine at some of our fine establishments, watch the late sunset, even go for an evening hike on one of the Seven Sisters.

For those with children: there are multiple wonderful week-long summer camps in the area. Consider coming with your partner and kids and making it a vacation! Many local houses available for week-long rent. And/or I can arrange for babysitters and a play group.

For those with dogs--you can stay at the wonderful nearby Clarion Hotel, one mile away.

Cost: $400

Creativity Retreat (not yet scheduled)



I Want To Be a Woman Like Me Creativity retreat with Nerissa & Katryna Nields! Have you ever wondered if you can sing? Draw, Paint? Write? Perform? Join us for an experiential retreat where we will teach you the secrets to living fully, making creativity a part of your every day experience. You will learn practical tools, habits and skills and you are guaranteed a fabulous time! Open to beginners and experienced practitioners alike.You will arrive at 5:30 on Friday and be greeted by Katryna, Nerissa and various members of Nerissa's family. You will be fed an amazing meal cooked by us excellent cooks: a meal that is healthy but you'd never know it, it's THAT GOOD! After dinner, we'll go around and introduce ourselves, set intentions and Katryna and I will talk about bringing the creative into your daily life. We'll have our first creative session during which all will write. You can plan on being back at your hotel by 9pm. Saturday: Arrive at 9:15 for light breakfast, coffee, tea. We'll do one session in the morning, during which Katryna will teach you her secret special technique for painting and drawing. Saturday afternoon we will sing in three part harmony. After another fabulous dinner, we will do some group singing for those inclined! Sunday we will arrive again at 9:15 and make vision boards (collage work/play) until noon. All kinds of artists are welcome, and we will craft a program specifically for you. Cost: $300 (includes some materials).

Participants write:

  • “Before [the workshop] started, I was in a big writing slump, and it was really good for me to be in that sort of environment where I had to write, even if it was only for an hour a week.” — JB, Creative Writing MFA candidate
  • “I finished an entire first draft of a novel in three months, writing only during the workshop time.” — ND, novelist
  • "It is such an incredible opportunity to come here every week and walk away inspired, my soul recharged, my muse happier with me, and full of amazement for what I get to witness…[Nerissa’s] tending hands are sure; [she] know[s] when to be gentle, when to push, when to guide, when to just step back, when to encourage.” — MK, songwriter and painter
  • “I can’t imagine my life anymore without this workshop. I hope you have them for the rest of my life! — CB, small business owner
  • “It is [Nerissa’s] friendliness and openness that creates the pallet upon which we, as the oils and pigments, are splattered onto the great canvas that is the creative process.” — MB, poet
  • “It’s always like Christmas at Nerissa’s house. I can practically smell the wrapping paper when a writer gives us her new work.” — LH, retreatant
  • One of the wonderful things I have noticed about the Writing It Up In The Garden Retreats is the amazing after-effects. This past retreat has left me with the boost of confidence that I needed, and as a result I have applied for a job with my local weekly newspaper which I have a deep respect & love for. It is not a writing position per say, but my optimistic feelings are that if I do get the job it could lead to some writing in the future. Getting paid for writing is something I would not have even dared dreamed of in the past. You know when something just feels right....right down in the depth of your gut? That's exactly how I feel about apllying for this job. I felt honored to have gotten to meet all of you ~ your courage to write, share & sing is inspiring. Enjoy the after-effects! -AB, Habilitation Specialist

More testimonials

People take their shoes off here.
It is a safe space
The walls are welcoming, full of so many pictures:

Memories of white dress days,
Bathtub scenes captured in pencil,
Church steeples.
Most are in rectangled frame houses of their own, while others have roommates.

It is an artful geometry.

Outside the house is green:
Painted wood trim,
Prickly needles on bushes,
Hanging leaves.

I take a moment to appreciate the space, glancing out at the world from inside the front door which, really, is like glancing out at the world from the inside of a heart.

Something starts here-
The most precious of births
Minds twirl into action,
Communal inspiration bounces
Wall to wall
Head to head
Pen to paper
Fingers to keys
As though stuck in a poetic game of pinball.

The writing begins,
A tiny, barefoot heartbeat.

-Carolyn Jepsen

Writing It Up in the Garden Programs