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Personalized Retreats

Create your own writing retreat at Windbreak House, where your primary purpose is working to improve your writing with the assistance of a full-time, award-winning author.

Linda holds a BA in English and Journalism, a MA in American Literature, and has been a teacher of writing for more than 40 years.

Linda at Homestead House, 2013.

Linda at Homestead House, 2011.

Linda at Homestead House, 2009.

Linda at Windbreak House, 1999.

What Might You Do During Your Writing Retreat?




Nap on the couch.

Write some more.


Discuss your writing with Linda.



And write even more.


Visiting writers who reincarnated Windbreak House became a community outside of space and time. The air crackles with energy during retreats, and we each go home with new respect for the power of writing. Some of us will unplug the telephone when we're writing, or leave the dishes in the sink or see the neighborhood more clearly. We are all connected by the ley lines of writing.

-- from Linda's book
No Place Like Home: Notes from a Western Life
the chapter entitled "Sounding the Writing Mudhole"
Published by the University of Nevada Press; 2009

What might you find during your writing retreat?

Writing handouts.

Writing files.

Many good books.

Space to spread out your work.

Time to read and relax.

Embroidered pillowcases.

Rechargeable crank flashlights.

Compost bin.

Dramatic storm clouds.
The view to the south from Homestead House. Yes, there is a basement in case of bad weather!

Tamed beauty by Homestead House.

Wild beauty on the prairie.

Quiet solitude.

Big sky.

Big moon.

A guide to the stars.

Cows and calves.



Quick Links

Find Authors

Windbreak House Writing Retreats

Linda at Homestead House, 2014
What's Here?

Here are all the practical details you need to know about attending a Windbreak House writing retreat. Click on the topics listed here or just scroll down and read them in order.

A photo tour of Homestead House is available.
Click here for a tour and more information about the retreat house and its surroundings.
And take a look at the photos in the left-hand column of this page.

What's So Great About a Writing Retreat?

How to Apply

Small Groups Welcome

Available Retreat Dates for 2014
These dates were last updated on August 21, 2014.

Writing Retreat Fees

Scheduling Your Retreat Date

Ask Us About...

A Typical Retreat Schedule

Windbreak House Rules

Commendations by Retreat Participants

For More . . .

See the Homestead House page in the Books & More Section for a photo tour and a history of Homestead House.

See the Windbreak House Writing Retreats page for essays and articles about the Writing Retreats, information about various retreat participants and more.

See the Ask Linda Page for some questions and answers about the Writing Retreat experience.

Don't find what you want to know? Post your own question on the Ask Linda Page
or send us an e-mail using the link in the left-hand column of this website.

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Personal Consultations:
Linda offers individual sessions to help you plan your retreat and accomplish your writing goals.
What's So Great About a Writing Retreat at Windbreak House?

"Windbreak House retreats are unique because we shape each retreat to fit the participants, with written appraisals of each woman's work, suggestions on reading, and private conferences on revision. Retreat guests may also choose to exchange comments with each other, read in my library, use my research files, and walk in the surrounding prairie." -- Linda M. Hasselstrom

During your residency at Windbreak House your time is your own.

You can eat whatever you want when you want, and you won't have to wash laundry, sweep the floor, mow the lawn, or answer the telephone. You can linger in the bathroom, soaking in a warm bath, and no one will knock on the door asking when you will be out. You can have hours of peaceful writing time, uninterrupted by someone else's choice of loud music or a blaring TV.

You don't have to do much of anything except write-- unless you choose to walk on the prairie, listening to the wind in the buffalo grass; sit in the yard in one of the many outdoor chairs and enjoy the birds while dusk softens the end of the day; or watch from your bedroom window as a 13-lined ground squirrel gathers seeds for the winter ahead.

When you are ready to discuss your writing plans, Linda will be there, encouraging, showing you by example how she has carved a writing life out of ordinary occurrences.

We do the laundry for you!
Because Windbreak House is a writing retreat, not a workshop, there is no set class schedule. Linda helps you learn more about your own work habits and needs, and offers analysis and comments on your writing. Linda uses handouts and written notes to help you absorb these lessons so you can work more efficiently after you leave the retreat. You and Linda will decide together whether you should work with other writers who may be in residence at the same time, and what you most want to gain from the retreat experience. While you are at Windbreak House, Linda's comments on your work will be her highest priority.

Linda does expect each writer to come to Windbreak House with a specific set of expectations and goals, and to communicate them to her. Linda's job is to help you achieve those goals.

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How to Apply, Deadline, and Selection Process

Application Procedure for Writing Retreats

1. From the calendar of available retreat dates, choose at least three dates you could come to Windbreak House to allow Linda some leeway in scheduling. List them in order of your preference. Linda is flexible-- if you'd prefer a longer retreat, or a retreat that runs other than Tuesday through Friday, just ask. The sooner you select a date the better chance you'll have that your favorite date will be open.

2. Send up to 20 pages of poetry or nonfiction, published or unpublished, so that Linda can evaluate your writing and see how best she can help you-- whether you're a complete novice or an accomplished writer. If you want Linda to write comments on your submission if you are accepted, please say so.

The best writing sample to send is all or a portion of the project you would like to work on during your writing retreat. That gives Linda a head start on reading and commenting on your work and you'll have her initial feedback on the first day of the retreat.

Linda prefers this writing sample be sent on cd or via e-mail, since that allows her to use her computer to write her comments directly into your text-- that takes her less time so she can be more thorough. Paper is fine if necessary, however.

3. Write a paragraph describing what you want from your retreat:
-- Linda's line-by-line comments on your work
-- an exchange of ideas with other writers
-- help on the organization and/​or editing of your work
-- advice on publishing
-- solitary time to write
-- other?

Please list them in order of your preference. Linda uses this paragraph to help her plan the retreat and to match up like-minded applicants if possible.

4. Please describe any physical condition requiring special equipment or care. Windbreak House is not wheelchair-accessible because of stairs, but we will try to make each writer comfortable.

5. Include your address, telephone number and e-mail address so that we may contact you with questions.

6. If you don't have an e-mail address, enclose with your application a business-size envelope, self-addressed and bearing first class postage, so Linda can notify you of her decision.

No Deadline

Applications are considered year around, however, those who apply far in advance are most likely to attend on their preferred dates.

Each applicant is notified of Linda’s decision as soon as possible, but please allow 4 to 6 weeks.


In choosing writers who will work with her at Windbreak House, Linda considers an applicant’s writing samples, goals, and retreat plans. Her decisions are final.

If possible, Linda matches the needs, abilities, and plans of the two or three women who attend each retreat, so that they may usefully exchange writing if they choose to do so.

You May Come Again

A writer who has attended one retreat at Windbreak House may apply for a return visit, at a lower cost.

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The gang heads back to Homestead House after a hike.
Small Groups Welcome

We offer a 5% discount each off the regular retreat fee for two people coming together and a 10% discount each for three or more coming together, so you can save some money by signing up with a friend or two. (And you can save even more money by carpooling.) We've had mothers and daughters, a husband and wife, members of the same writing group, and just plain old friends who each like to write. Linda is willing to have mixed-gender groups if the applicants wish it.

Homestead House has three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Meadowlark, the largest of the three bedrooms, has a twin-sized bed but also a full-sized futon couch that can be used as a second bed, if two people don't mind sharing the room.

Linda enjoys working with small groups. Some want to cover a specific topic of interest to the group during the retreat; some want to learn how to work together back home as a writing group, giving useful feedback and encouragement to each other. And Linda always is available for individual writing help during a group retreat.

If you're interested in coming with a friend or two, just follow the same application guidelines, but let us know you're applying together, and let us know in your paragraph if you want to work as a group or individually.

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Available Retreat Dates for 2014
(these dates were last updated August 21, 2014)

For a typical 4-day retreat you will arrive the afternoon of day 1 and depart by noon of day 4.

Please Note: Linda is flexible in her retreat scheduling. If you would prefer a specific set of dates that do not necessarily run from Tuesday-Friday or Friday-Monday, or if you would like to extend your stay beyond the 4-day retreat, please ask if we can accommodate you.

Now that Linda lives at Windbreak House full-time, she is willing and able to host retreats year 'round. If you're snowed in, we don't charge for the extra day you may need to stay until roads clear out.

Linda's calendar is subject to frequent change. Some of the events marked below may end up being rescheduled or canceled; others may be added at a moment's notice. This is why we ask that you choose a second and third 4-day period as alternate retreat dates when you apply. We will do our best to find a retreat date that suits your schedule and Linda's. Any dates below marked "pending" are probably not available, though not yet confirmed. Check back later or select another date.

Road Scholar talks in 2014
Linda is scheduled to speak to groups of Road Scholar students on select Fridays from May to early October. Because the talks will be in the morning a good way from Windbreak House, Linda will tweak the retreat schedule a bit for those weeks as follows: retreats will run Monday through Thursdays so that Linda will not be in a hurry to leave on the final morning of the retreat. However-- some of the Road Scholar classes may not fill, in which case Linda will have more flexibility in scheduling those weeks. Check back on this page for the updated list of available dates. We should know approximately 60 days in advance whether a Road Scholar class will be held.

Here is a link for information about the Road Scholar program in the Black Hills.

For further information about any of Linda's events listed below, see "Where in the World is Linda M. Hasselstrom?"

List of Available Retreat Dates

The great horned owls often court each other on cold January nights with lovely deep hooting
There was a full moon on Wednesday the 15th
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was Monday the 20th

December 31 - January 3 --- (Tues - Fri) ---
A husband/​wife writing retreat was held over the New Year’s holiday.

January 3 - 6 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

January 7 - 10 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

January 10 - 13 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
Homestead House was in use this weekend.

January 14 - 17 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

January 17 - 20 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
Two writers were scheduled for a retreat this weekend but it didn't happen-- rescheduled for later in the year.

January 21 - 24 --- (Tues - Fri) — available

January 24 - 27 --- (Fri - Mon) —
Linda attended a meeting this weekend.

January 28 - 31 --- (Tues - Fri) — available

Sunday, February 2nd: “It’s Groundhog Day!”
As always, Valentine’s Day is the 14th, a Friday this year
The full moon will also be on Friday the 14th
Presidents' Day is Monday the 17th

January 31 - February 3 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

February 4 - 7 --- (Tues - Fri) ---
A writing/​photography retreat was held this week starting Feb 5th.

February 7 - 10 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
A writing/​photography retreat was held this weekend ending Feb 9th.

February 11 - 14 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

February 14 - 17 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
Homestead House was in use this weekend.

February 18 - 21 --- (Tues - Fri) ---
Homestead House was in use Tuesday night and part of Wednesday.

February 21 - 24 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

February 25 - 28 --- (Tues - Fri) ---
A writing retreat was held this week.

Daylight Saving Time began Sunday the 9th -- spring forward an hour and enjoy more daylight in the evening
There was a full moon on Sunday the 16th
Saint Patrick’s Day was Monday the 17th
The spring equinox was on Thursday the 20th this year
Red-winged blackbirds and Meadow larks returned around the equinox and began to sing within days of arrival

February 28 - March 3 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
This weekend was reserved for bad-weather back-up for the retreat scheduled Feb 25 - 28, but it wasn't needed.

March 4 - 7 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

March 7 - 10 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

March 11 - 14 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

March 14 - 17 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

March 18 - 21 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

March 21 - 24 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
A writing retreat with two writers was held this weekend (rescheduled from January).

March 25 - 28 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

March 28 - 31 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

There was a full moon on Tuesday the 15th
Easter was Sunday the 20th
Earth Day was Tuesday the 22nd
Depending on the weather, the barn swallows will return around Friday the 25th

April 1 - 4 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

April 4 - 7 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

April 8 - 11 --- (Tues - Fri) ---
Linda traveled to Texas this week where she gave the keynote speech and taught a workshop at the Story Circle Network annual conference.

April 11 - 14 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
Linda gave the keynote speech and taught a workshop at the Story Circle Network annual conference this weekend.

April 15 - 18 --- (Tues - Fri) ---
Linda returned from the Story Circle Network annual conference this week and caught up on things.

April 18 - 21 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

April 22 - 25 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

April 25 - 28 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

April 29 - May 2 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

MAY *** MAY *** MAY
Mother’s Day was Sunday the 11th
There was a full moon on Wednesday the 14th
Memorial Day was Monday the 26th
Road Scholar Dates --- May 9, 16, 23, 30

May 2 - 5 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

May 5 - 8 --- (Mon - Thurs) --- available

May 9 --- (Friday) ---
Linda spoke to a Road Scholar group this morning.

May 9 - 12 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

May 12 - 16 --- (Monday - Friday) ---
A writing retreat for two was held this week (with one extra day of retreat time).

May 16 --- (Friday) ---
Linda spoke to a Road Scholar group this morning.

May 16 - 19 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

May 19 - 22 --- (Mon - Thurs) --- available

May 23 --- (Friday) ---
Linda spoke to a Road Scholar group this morning.

May 23 - 26 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

May 26 - 29 --- (Mon - Thurs) --- available

May 30 --- (Friday) ---
Linda spoke to a Road Scholar group this morning.

May 30 - June 2 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

Nighthawks, the last bird to arrive after winter, showed up the last week of May this year-- a week earlier than usual, probably due to the humid weather that hatched an exceptional crop of small flying insects
There was a full moon on Friday the 13th
Father’s Day was Sunday the 15th
The summer solstice was Saturday the 21st
Road Scholar Dates --- June 13, 20

June 3 - 6 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

June 6 - 9 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

June 9 - 12 --- (Mon - Thurs) --- available

June 13 --- (Friday) ---
Linda spoke to a Road Scholar group this morning.

June 13 - 16 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
Homestead House was in use this weekend.
Linda went to hear Kathleen Norris speak at the Rapid City Public Library on Sunday, June 15th.

June 16 - 19 --- (Mon - Thurs) --- available
Linda spoke to the Blue Stockings book club at the Piedmont Valley Public Library on Thursday evening.

June 20 --- (Friday) ---
Linda spoke to a Road Scholar group this morning.

June 20 - 23 --- (Fri - Mon) — available

June 24 - 27 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available
The writer scheduled this week had to reschedule.

June 27 - 30 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
A writing retreat was held this weekend.

Independence Day was (surprise!) July 4th, a Friday this year; some fireworks displays in the region-- notably the big event at Mount Rushmore-- have been cancelled due to fears of starting fires in the beetle-killed pine trees
There was a full moon on Saturday the 12th
Road Scholar Date --- July 18

July 1 - 4 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

July 4 - 7 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

July 8 - 11 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

July 11 - 14 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

July 14 - 17 --- (Mon - Thurs) --- available

July 18 --- (Friday) ---
Linda spoke to a Road Scholar group this morning.

July 18 - 21 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

July 22 - 25 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

July 25 - 28 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

July 28 - 31 --- (Mon - Thurs) --- available

There will be a full moon on Sunday the 10th
Road Scholar Dates --- August 1, 22, 29

August 1 --- (Friday) ---
Linda spoke to a Road Scholar group this morning.

August 1 - 4 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

August 5 - 8 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available
Linda was involved with the Custer County Fair this week.

August 8 - 11 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available
Linda was involved with the Custer County Fair this weekend.

August 12 - 15 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

August 15 - 18 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

August 18 - 21 --- (Mon - Thurs) --- available

August 22 --- (Friday) ---
Linda is scheduled to talk to a Road Scholar group this morning.

August 22 - 25 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

August 26 - 29 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

August 29 - Sept 1 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

Labor Day is Monday the 1st
There will be a full moon on Monday the 8th
The fall equinox will be on Monday the 22nd
Road Scholar Dates --- September 5, 12, 19, plus Thursday the 25th

September 2 - 5 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

September 5 - 8 --- (Fri - Mon) — available

September 9 - 13 --- (Tuesday - Saturday)
Two writers are scheduled to come for an extended writing retreat this week and into the weekend

September 12 --- (Friday) ---
Linda is scheduled to talk to a Road Scholar group this morning.

September 12 - 15 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
Two writers on an extended retreat will be departing this weekend.

September 15 - 18 --- (Mon - Thurs) ---
Homestead House will be in use this week.

September 19 --- (Friday) ---
Linda is scheduled to talk to a Road Scholar group this morning.

September 19 - 22 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

September 23 - 26 --- (Tues - Fri) ---
Linda is scheduled to talk to a Road Scholar group Thursday morning, September 25th.
This Road Scholar class is on Thursday because the Custer State Park buffalo roundup will be on Friday. Don't want to miss that!

September 26 - 29 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

September 29 - October 2 --- (Mon - Thurs) --- busy
Linda will be coordinating the Hermosa Arts and History Association’s fall fundraiser that will take place the weekend of October 4-5.

There will be a full moon on Wednesday the 8th
Columbus Day (celebrated in South Dakota as Native American Day) is on Monday the 13th
Halloween, the 31st, will be on a Friday this year
Road Scholar Date --- October 3

October 3 --- (Friday) ---
Linda is scheduled to talk to a Road Scholar group this morning: the last one of the season.

October 3 - 6 --- (Fri - Mon) --- busy
Linda will be coordinating the Hermosa Arts and History Association’s fall fundraiser this weekend.

October 7 - 10 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

October 10 - 13 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

October 14 - 17 --- (Tues - Fri) ---
Linda plans to go to the Women Writing the West conference in Golden, Colorado this week.

October 17 - 20 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
Linda plans to go to the Women Writing the West conference in Golden, Colorado this weekend.

October 21 - 24 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

October 24 - 27 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

October 28 - 31 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday the 2nd – fall back an hour and sunrise comes early
Veteran’s Day, the 11th, is on a Tuesday this year
Thanksgiving is Thursday the 27th

October 31 - November 3 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

November 4 - 7 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

November 7 - 10 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

November 11 - 14 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

November 14 - 17 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

November 18 - 21 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

November 21 - 24 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
Linda will be speaking to the Western International Corral in Hot Springs on Friday at noon.

November 25 - 28 --- (Tues - Fri) ---
Thanksgiving Week pending until Linda’s family schedule is settled

November 28 - December 1 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
post-Thanksgiving Weekend pending until Linda’s family schedule is settled

The winter solstice is on Sunday the 21st; then the days begin to lengthen
Christmas, the 25th, is on a Thursday this year
New Year’s Eve is Wednesday night, December 31st

December 2 - 5 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

December 5 - 8 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

December 9 - 12 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

December 12 - 15 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

December 16 - 19 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

December 19 - 22 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
pre-Christmas weekend pending until Linda’s family schedule is settled

December 23 - 26 --- (Tues - Fri) ---
Christmas week pending until Linda’s family schedule is settled

December 26 - 29 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
post-Christmas weekend pending until Linda’s family schedule is settled

December 30 - January 2 --- (Tues - Fri) ---
New Year’s week pending until Linda’s family schedule is settled

# # #

Please Note: Linda is flexible in her retreat scheduling. If you would prefer a specific set of dates that do not necessarily run Tuesday-Friday or Friday-Monday, please ask if we can accommodate you.

Week-long retreats are also available for an increased fee. Please ask.

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Writing Discussions Outside
Homestead House is nicely shaded by trees and has plenty of outdoor seating.

Writing Retreat Fees

A typical 4-day retreat costs $450.00 which includes your work with Linda and three nights lodging, state sales tax included.

Fee includes
-- Comfortable private room with work space.
-- Linda’s evaluation, advice and encouragement at every stage of your writing.
-- An opportunity to exchange comments with other writers in residence, if you desire.
-- Linda’s suggestions for creating a retreat at home and finding time to write in your usual life.
-- Handouts applicable to your writing goals, to be perused at your leisure when you return home.
No one leaves without handouts!
-- Access to the Windbreak House reference library and teaching files. A copy machine is on the premises.
-- Good conversation with others passionate about writing.
-- Quiet time to write and recharge your creativity.
-- Freedom to explore and experience the prairie.

Fee does not include
-- Travel. However, we can provide shuttle service, for a moderate fee, from the Rapid City airport or bus station if necessary, stopping for you to buy groceries for your stay.
-- Meals. Bring your own food (we’ll offer helpful hints) and prepare meals in the fully-equipped house kitchen.

Small Group Discounts
5% discount each off the regular retreat fee for two people coming together.
10% discount each for three or more coming together.

Sign up with a friend or two to save money and enjoy the retreat experience together.
And you'll save even more money by carpooling!

Want More Time To Write?
Longer retreats are available for an increased fee. Work with Linda for a full week. Or spend part of the time alone at Windbreak House to concentrate on your writing without any interruptions.

Money Well Spent
See comments by writers who have attended Windbreak House retreats in the "Commendations" section.

A Windbreak House retreat is a great deal -- where else will you get full-time individual help and encouragement from such an experienced, skillful and beneficial teacher of writing for such a reasonable fee?

Small groups will benefit from Linda's suggestions on how to give writing support to each other once you return home.

If you are accepted to Windbreak House, a $25 deposit is due at once to hold your reservation. Full payment is due upon receipt of the retreat packet, at least one month before your retreat.

Have A Change In Plans?
If you are unable to attend your scheduled retreat, notify Windbreak House as soon as possible. We will try to fill your reserved place and arrange for you to attend at another time. If you cancel less than one month before your reserved retreat date, your deposit may not be returned.

Is Your Budget Tight?
Ask your state arts council, your employer, or, if you are a teacher, your school, if you can obtain a grant for a retreat to enhance your professional skills. The South Dakota Arts Council tells us they often have money going unused that could be granted for just this type of program.

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Scheduling Your Retreat Date

Once you are accepted for a Windbreak House Writing Retreat, we will schedule your retreat based on your first three prefered retreat dates if at all possible. Linda also tries to schedule like-minded writers together.

The sooner you apply the better chance your favorite dates will still be available. As the retreat season progresses, retreats become filled and some dates are set aside for Linda's other work.

Once a retreat date is settled, Linda’s assistant, Tamara Rogers, then provides additional information, including directions, an information handbook, and suggestions about what to bring and expect at a Windbreak House retreat.

If you can’t find a date that works, we’ll help you choose another for the following year. In the mean time, you are welcome to work with Linda from your home with a Writing Conversation by eMail.

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Bring your laptop if you have one
Revising your work is much easier with a word processor. Linda can exchange cds or flashdrives with you,or type her comments directly on your computer. But don't worry-- she still remembers how to work with pen and paper!

Ask Us About . . .

Small group writing retreat discounts--
two or more writers who come to Windbreak House together will each receive a discount off the regular retreat fee. Sign up for a mother/​daughter or husband/​wife retreat. Bring your friend, your sister, or members of your writing group.

Non-traditional applicants--
although Windbreak House has traditionally been a retreat for women, Linda is willing to consider men or mixed-gender small groups. Those under age 21 may apply to attend with an adult chaperone.

Alternate or off-season dates--
keep in mind that weather may force cancellation of retreats scheduled in winter months.

Week-long retreats or other customized dates to fit your schedule--
held by request.

Solitary retreats--
you may spend time writing alone at Windbreak House, without Linda’s consultation, between scheduled retreats or during winter months.

Renting Windbreak House--
host your own small-group retreats or seminars at Windbreak House.

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A Typical Retreat Schedule

Retreats are arranged according to the preferences of the writers attending. This retreat is unique in that Linda is available any time you wish to talk to her (within reason); Linda’s cell phone number is posted so you can call her to change meeting times as necessary.

Afternoon -- Please try to arrive between 2 and 3 pm so you have an hour or more to unpack, meet the other writers, if any, and settle into the retreat atmosphere before the 4 pm walk. Take time to arrange your room in the way that best suits you. Make any calls you need to make to let family know of your arrival, and then consider turning off your cell phone for the duration of the retreat. Each writer will define a successful retreat differently, but Linda believes that reasonable comfort, concentration, and plenty of uninterrupted time to think are essential.

4 pm -- Linda will lead an orientation walk in and around Homestead House. Be there! Linda will discuss such practical matters as how to light the stove, how to separate garbage and recyclable materials, and how to keep your room cooler on scorching summer days. We may do some form of relaxation exercise, possibly in combination with writing, to help you concentrate on the time you will spend here and push your usual life to the back of your mind. Linda will walk with you to the windbreak that shelters her house and provides the name (and the metaphor) for the retreats; she’ll make sure you know your directions and show you some good places for meditative walking.

5-6 pm -- Linda will come down from Windbreak House to have dinner with you, since dinner at Homestead House is considered legitimate writing time. After dinner we’ll discuss what each writer wants to achieve at the retreat. Be realistic about setting goals. Plan break time for relaxation, and to look at things available nowhere else: Linda’s library, the handout files, rough drafts. Browse through the photo albums; stroll into the unique prairie savanna: nothing else like this combination of grasses exists on earth.

In setting your goals before you come to retreat, consider the following questions: do you want to revise the work you submitted with your application and receive Linda’s comments on the revision? Do you have new work for Linda to evaluate? Do you want quiet time for writing? Do you want to exchange manuscripts with other writers in residence, if any, and plan to meet as a group to discuss each other’s work? We’ll schedule meeting times to discuss your application manuscripts.

Evening -- Solitude and silence are, Linda believes, essential to clear thinking, and thus to writing. Make time to sit outside and listen to the land, to the birds, to your own heartbeat, to the wind. Use the Homestead House star map to identify stars. Settle into the retreat atmosphere: no TV, no internet connection, no pets or family competing for your attention. Experience the true darkness of a prairie night. Visit with the other writers, but take time to sit quietly and think, the most important part of writing.

After breakfast -- Linda will walk down for coffee and return her written comments on the work you submitted so you may read them before individual meetings begin. Settle into observation, reflection, and writing. Take time to look around this unique site, take your journal somewhere outside, and simply sit, waiting for thoughts that may arise. If you would like to do specific writing exercises, please ask or look in the files in Meadowlark. Linda doesn’t make assignments unless you want them. If writers in residence wish to work together, we can organize evaluation sessions complete with handouts.

4 pm -- Tea (or the beverage of your choice) Time. Linda will gather all writers in residence briefly in the living room at Homestead House to review progress, and make any needed changes.

Naps: If you feel like napping, remember that you are expending a lot of mental energy and may have worked hard to prepare for your visit. In other words, naps can be important to refreshing your brain and spirit.

Linda will continue individual meetings as required, and offer suggestions and handout information on how to create a “retreat attitude” as well as writing time and space at home. This is a good time for questions about how you can work more effectively on your own.

4 pm -- Tea Time.

Evening -- If you choose, the group can meet to discuss new writing, perhaps reading new work.

Morning -- Gather at the table to ask any questions, exchange addresses, and plan for continuing your writing at home. You may leave anytime you wish, but please let Linda know your plans as soon as possible so she can be prepared with last-minute handouts.

Be sure to complete the feedback/​comment sheet in your room folder with your suggestions on what we might change to improve a writing retreat experience at Homestead House. And don’t forget to write at any length you choose in the Homestead House journal!

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Windbreak House Writing Retreat Rules

These rules ensure the health and safety of Windbreak House guests, the livestock and cowboys on the working ranch surrounding Homestead House, and the land itself. You are welcome at Windbreak House, but remember that the ranch is Linda’s home. Anyone who is disrespectful of her hospitality or property will be asked to leave.

-- No one under 21 years of age is permitted to attend a retreat without an adult chaperone, due to insurance concerns and liquor laws.

-- No illegal drugs allowed.

-- No smoking inside. If you absolutely have to smoke, you must smoke outside on the concrete patio, the gravel drive, or in your own vehicle only. And you must use the designated cans of sand to dispose of ashes and butts.

-- No visitors during the retreat. Friends or relatives are welcome to drop you off before 4pm on arrival day, and pick you up after 10am on the last day, but otherwise we try to keep the retreats from being disrupted as much as possible.

-- No pets. There are just too many ways they can be injured or eaten.

-- No riding, handling or harassing ranch livestock. We would suggest a similar rule apply to any wildlife you may encounter.

-- No parking or driving except on designated areas and roads. Erosion and fire are always a concern with vehicles. And you don't want to rip out your oil pan on a hidden rock.

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Commendations from Writers Who Have Worked at Windbreak House

"Linda, you are so centered and strong. You are realistic and firm and ethically professional and warm. You remind me of a tribal elder. You are one who speaks with wisdom and experience. One who passes the stories on. Your strength is the branch a green writer can perch on with wobbly legs and stretch her wings and test her flight. I will be forever grateful for the ways n which you listened to me. Thank you for your gift of your words, your time, and your spirit." --- Julie Ann Monroe, Illinois

“Your retreat is at once a sanctuary and a place of creative invention. You are user-friendly!”

"I really enjoy all the pillows, lamps, lap desks, so I can nestle in where I'm comfortable. Fantastic library, and other fun stuff, like the kaleidiscopes." -- Ruby

"It is interesting that I should hear from Windbreak House this week. Just last weekend, I was thinking that writing seems to be getting slightly easier for me. Often as I read and revise some piece of work, I can hear Linda's voice in my head suggesting, 'now, why don't you elaborate a little more on that' or 'show rather than tell your reader about that.'"

“The most important and empowering thing for me is to be in a house with a working writer. Together we generate energy which pushes each on, saying yes, this is important to do-- if not for the world, at least for you, here, now. Be here now.”

“Every time I sit down to write, I’m back on retreat!”

"I had the luxury-- and intense quiet beauty-- of this place all to myself. Seeing the great horned owl next to its nest first thing more or less set the tone for me-- whenever the writing got tough, the bird still stood there, neck swiveling, to bring me back to peace. . . . You truly helped set me on a new path."

“Attending your retreat is the best thing I’ve done since marrying my rancher. I wish everyone could have the opportunity you have afforded this old ranchwife.”

“You intuitively know what is needed for each group of women. You are blessed with a ‘knowing.’”

"I liked the quilt and lots of blankets, pillows, instructions about where to find things, comfortable chairs, binoculars so I could look at the wildlife. Loved the cows, different views in every direction, a working ranch and wildlife! I'd like to come back and compare seasons."

“I never thought one or two people could think of everything for everyone and make it work. The retreat is perfect.”

“Practical concrete help. I leave with no regrets, only satisfaction-- money well spent.”

“I like the way you let participants help create the agenda and mood. I appreciate your keeping us focused on our writing, and all your ideas for improving, for new projects. Sometimes it was overwhelming when you kept giving handouts and books, yet I really appreciate your sharing them with us.”

“The vastness, the openness of the landscape requires the same in me.”

“I feel like I have been home for the last few days. I came here feeling stressed, angry and depressed, ready to quit writing. I leave here renewed, centered, and excited about new writing projects.”

“Love the solitude and lack of distractions such as TV, telephone.”

“The place-mats and personal napkins add personality. I like that.”

“Gushing thanks for the most valuable, in-depth critique of my writing thus far in this life.”

“Thanks for the peace and wild winds of Dragonfly, for the quiet and outward vision of the south deck, for the prism of Windbreak House and its open invitation to absorb, focus, and define. Your piece of the prairie reflects the love of Life, its abundance and individuality, in an underlying and all-embracing respect for land, critter, and human-- a humbling and awe-inspiring accomplishment.”

“The copy machine is great. Everything is well organized, from the closets to the copy machine booklet to note copies made.”

“I think if you have never seen a thunderstorm this way, you've missed the best-- the blue-white cracks across the sky, the bolt that quivers in the ridgetop while the drummer rocks the concrete floor, the sweet cool rain carrying the scents of drying grass.”

“Thank you for sharing your land and your wisdom.”

“The magazine basket: I see what gets published, potential sites for my own work. More pleasurable than the Periodical Room of the Library.”

“Thanks for the challenges, the assignments which will benefit not only us as individual writers but our entire family.”

“You made us feel right at home.”

“No TV, no phony conversation with other writers.”

“Love the birds, the country, the conversation.”

“I liked best having a generous resident mentor who lives a productive literary life.”

“Personal attention and suggestions are probably the most helpful thing anyone has ever done for me and my writing.”

“What an incredible amount of resources you have gathered here, and how generous you are with all of it.”

“Thanks for your direction, critiques, books, articles and everything else. A weekend I’ll always treasure.”

“Thanks for offering me a chance. I've never had to be critiqued. Windbreak House has been a soothing balm for my frazzled mind. Thanks for keeping my city mind in retreat mode.”

“I enjoyed the bluets, nighthawks, killdeer and cowslips-- all of the surroundings of the house. I was pleased to produce a poem and hope that this will serve as the beginning of my keeping a steady journal and writing poetry.”

“How many writers get the opportunity to live and work with an esteemed author?”

“June 27, 1999: the day the clouds turned up a snipe nest and a few words blew into the heart of a woman and gusted out her hand.”

“I am changed.”

“Thank you for making time flow so slowly and fully my own.”

“Grass, peace, sun, wind, friends, pleasures-- what a wonderful home place.”

“Within the house I can also see, feel and learn from all of the other people who have visited here in the past. I learned so much about writing, me, my environment and the world in the past three days that I’m sure I will need new shocks on my car by the time I get to North Dakota!”

“Thank you for helping me collect my thoughts into poems, into essays, artfully. You are my feminist teacher, editor, writer, activist model. Your generosity is not a myth; it’s journalistic fact!”

“I loved living in Dragonfly with a firefly! You have all given me a renewed enthusiasm for writing.”

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For More . . .

See the Windbreak House Writing Retreats article and the Homestead House article on the Books & More Page for photos, a history of Homestead House, articles about Windbreak House Writing Retreats and more.

See the Ask Linda Page for some questions and answers about the Windbreak House Writing Retreat experience.

Don't find what you want to know? Post your own question for Linda.

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