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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.

Windbreak House is on Facebook.

Follow me on Facebook to get notifications of my newly-posted blogs as well as announcements about my books, writing retreats, and other writing-related news. I post photos, jokes, and "Stories from the Writing Retreat."​WindbreakHouse


Don't miss my "Windbreak House Writing Retreats 20th Anniversary" blog series.

2016 was the 20th year I conducted writing retreats at my ranch home. Read this ongoing series of blogs for stories, photos, and many quotes by writers taken from the Retreat House journals.

Part 1 -- Beginnings
Part 2 -- Evolution
Part 3 -- Guidelines
Part 4 -- The People
Part 5 -- The Writing

You can subscribe to my WordPress blog so you won't miss the next installment it will be delivered to your email address, complete with photos. Scroll down in the right-hand column of the blog to find the subscription box.

Frosty beauty outside, cozy writing inside.


From my book Windbreak, September 18
"Hawks and falcons are everywhere now; we saw a tiny, fast falcon perched on a post clutching a huge grasshopper today, and another of the same type cruising low over the pasture, hovering, backing up, swooping forward, and finally pouncing on something in the grass."

From my book Windbreak, October 8
"The radio announcers often speak of the fall colors in the hills this time of year, and people drive miles to see them, but I always appreciate the subtle prairie colors too. The big bluestem seems to become more blue, and a kind of swamp grass becomes a clown green, shading into yellow at the top. After the first frost little bluestem becomes a warm bronze color that seems to shimmer in the sunlight. We have a few fall flowers: aromatic aster, which blooms a vivid blue shading to purple, and white prairie asters. Both look like tiny daisies. . . . Yellow gumweed, several members of the parsley family, and goldenrod contrast with the deep brown of the seed pods and stems of flowers that bloomed earlier. Pale green stalks of mullein with thick brown seedheads stand like soldiers along the roads. The sage looks soft as down and seems to glow silver-blue, and the fences are outlined in brown tumbleweeds.

"In the distance a cottonwood suddenly seems to light a valley when its leaves turn gold, and a dead branch sticking up, pure white, looks like a crack in the blue bowl of sky."

Fall's shortening days and bracing nights motivate you to finish up projects that have languished during the heat of summer.

Or perhaps you want help starting a project that will carry you through the winter, when you stay closer to home with more time for your writing.

The retreat house is comfortable in any weather: throw open the windows on a bright fall day to revel in the spicy scents of grasses and flowers nipped by frost. Listen to the chants of grasshoppers and crickets singing farewell to summer's warmth. The house has a sturdy propane furnace, warm quilts and blankets on each bed, and fuzzy lap robes and throws on the couch and chairs to snuggle with in the evenings. Brew something hot to drink and relax with your writing as the moon rises.

If you can't make the drive to my prairie ranch this fall, we can still work on your writing together through a Writing Conversation by eMail.

* * *

Frosty cattle in a nearby pasture.

Autumn and winter hiking.


Autumn and winter are wonderful times to go for a walk on the ranch surrounding the retreat house.

** You won't overheat on the unshaded grasslands.

** Deer and pronghorn antelope gather in herds that are easier to observe; they're bolder because they don't have babies to protect.

** The grasses turn beautiful shades of yellow, orange, maroon, rust, and brown in the autumn.

** Prairie wildflowers have dried on the stem and can be collected into rustic bouquets.

** The great-horned owls come to the ranch yard to hunt rabbits; winter is their mating season so you'll hear them hooting once dusk arrives.

** Limestone, granite and quartz rocks are more easily seen in the sparse winter grass.

** You don't have to worry about rattlesnakes in cold weather (they're very rare in the summer, but gone in winter) and the cactus are shriveled up, less likely to prickle you as you walk cross-country.

** After a snowfall you can read the story of all the animals in the tracks they leave.

** The snow by moonlight is magical—covered with a dusting of fairy-sized stars.

Ask to see the Homestead House binder with hiking suggestions. Walking sticks are kept at the kitchen door or in the living room closet.

Let us know if you'd like a hiking partner. Linda's assistant Tam, and her large friendly dog Rue, are usually willing and able to accompany you if you'd prefer not to hike alone.

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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.

Reference books -- learn about the birds and animals living in the grasslands around the writing retreat.

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.




Linda at the Writing Retreat, through the years.

Linda at Homestead House, 2016

Linda at Homestead House, 2014

Linda at Homestead House, 2013.

Linda at Homestead House, 2011.

Linda at Homestead House, 2009.

Linda at Windbreak House, 1999.

Quick Links

Find Authors

Windbreak House Writing Retreats

Celebrating 22 Years of Writing Retreats! (Founded 1996)

Welcome to your Writing Retreat!
Snuggle up inside on short winter days and enjoy uninterrupted time to write and read and recharge your creativity at Homestead House.

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.

What's So Great About a Writing Retreat?
Includes links to blog stories about Windbreak House.

How to Apply

Small Groups Welcome

Writing Retreat Fees
Explains the basic fee for a typical 4-day retreat and lists other options.

Available Retreat Dates for 2018
These dates last updated September 6th, 2018.

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 of this website for a photo tour, a history of Homestead House, and more information about the retreat house and its surroundings.

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 writer'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 grasslands." -- 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 demands on your time or the annoyance of regular household noises such as 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, 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.

Read stories of what's so great about Windbreak House Writing Retreats

I recently wrote a blog about having a successful writing retreat.

Susan wrote a blog about her January, 2016 writing retreat-- you'll get a few writing tips while you enjoy reading about her experience.

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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 the suggestions listed (Tuesday through Friday or Friday through Monday) 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 via e-mail attachment, 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. Linda can open Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, or generic text documents. Please do not send a .pages document or a zip drive (can't open them). Please do not send a pdf because Linda cannot write comments in the text. You can mail Linda a flash drive (thumb drive) if your manuscript has many photos, making it too large for an attachment.

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 Linda and any 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 easily wheelchair-accessible because of entrance steps, but we will try to make each writer comfortable.

5. Include your e-mail address and telephone number so that we may contact you with questions. Include your mailing address so we can send your retreat packet once your retreat is scheduled.

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, though sometimes there is a slight delay as we coordinate Linda's schedule with any retreat applications.


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 writers applying to attend, so that they may share the retreat if they choose to do so. Some writers enjoy having company at meals, during writing breaks and on hikes. Other writers prefer solitude.

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

Writing Retreat Fees

A typical 4-day retreat (arrive Day 1 and depart Day 4) costs $550.00 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!

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

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
Read some 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?

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 told us they sometimes have money going unused that could be granted for just this type of program.

You can also work with Linda online, saving the cost of travel, lodging and meals. Writing Conversations by Email may not be as relaxing as a retreat to the ranch, but you will find Linda's written comments on your work to be useful and inspiring, whether you receive them during a retreat or via email. See the Online Writing Help Page for complete details on how to sign up for a Writing Conversation by eMail.

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2018 Available Retreat Dates
(These dates were updated September 6th, 2018)

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

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


Click a month to see the available dates or scroll down
January -- February -- March
April -- May -- June
July -- August -- September
October -- November -- December


The great horned owls often court each other on cold January nights; lovely deep hooting may be heard in the trees surrounding Homestead House.
There was a full moon on January 1st and a second full "blue moon" on the 31st.

December 29 – January 1 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

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

January 5 - 8 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
Linda spoke to local book clubs on Friday, January 5th.
Linda spoke to the local AAUW chapter in Rapid City, SD on Saturday, January 6th. To learn more see "Where in the World is Linda M. Hasselstrom?"

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

January 12 - 15 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
The Retreat House was in use this weekend for a small group retreat.

January 16 - 19 --- (Tues - Fri) — available

January 19 - 22 --- (Fri - Mon) — available

January 23 - 26 --- (Tues - Fri) — available

January 26 - 29 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
Linda spoke about the importance of the grasslands at the Rapid City Public Library for National Seed Swap Day. To learn more see "Where in the World is Linda M. Hasselstrom?"

January 30 – February 2 --- (Tues - Fri) — available

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For those of you reading Linda’s book The Wheel of the Year: A Writer’s Workbook, Friday, February 2nd is Brigid’s Day; also known as Candlemas or Groundhog Day.
There was no full moon in February because we had two in January and will have two in March. Is there a term for a moonless month?

January 30 – February 2 --- (Tues - Fri) — available

February 2 - 5 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
Linda and Rick Mills held a talk and book signing at the Journey Museum in Rapid City, on Saturday, February 3rd. To learn more see "Where in the World is Linda M. Hasselstrom?"

February 6 - 9 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

February 9 - 12 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
Linda and Rick Mills held a talk and book signing at the Custer County Public Library, in Custer, SD on Saturday, February 10th. To learn more see "Where in the World is Linda M. Hasselstrom?"

February 12 - 16 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

February 16 - 19 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available
Linda and Rick Mills held a talk and book signing at the Hermosa Public Library, Hermosa, SD on Friday, February 16th. To learn more see "Where in the World is Linda M. Hasselstrom?"

February 20- 23 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

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

February 27 – March 2 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

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There was a full moon on March 1st and a second full "blue moon" on the 31st.
Daylight Saving Time began Sunday the 11th – spring forward an hour and enjoy more daylight in the evening.
Tuesday, March 20th was the Spring Equinox. Meadowlarks returned just before the Equinox and began to sing within days of arrival.

February 27 – March 2 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

March 2 - 5 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available
Linda and Rick Mills held a talk and book signing at the Hot Springs Public Library, Hot Springs, SD on Saturday, March 3rd. To learn more see "Where in the World is Linda M. Hasselstrom?"

March 6 - 9 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

March 9 - 12 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available
Linda and Rick Mills held a talk and book signing at the Piedmont Valley Public Library, Piedmont, SD on Saturday, March 10th. To learn more see "Where in the World is Linda M. Hasselstrom?"

March 13 - 16 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

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

March 20 - 23 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

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

March 27 - 30 --- (Tues - Fri) ---
The retreat house was in use this week.

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The barn swallows returned during the last weeks of April, despite the slightly chilly temperatures.
There was a full moon on Sunday the 29th.
For those of you reading Linda’s book The Wheel of the Year: A Writer’s Workbook, April 30th is Beltane (May Eve).

March 30 - April 2 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

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

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

April 10 - 13 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

April 13 - 16 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

April 17 - 20 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

April 20 - 23 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

April 24 - 27 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

April 27 - 30 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
Linda was busy this weekend, participating in the Hermosa Arts and History Association's spring event on Saturday, April 28th.

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MAY *** MAY *** MAY
There was a full moon on Tuesday the 29th.
Nighthawks, the last bird to arrive after winter, showed up the last weeks of May. With our abundant rains there were many tiny flying bugs for them to feed on.

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

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

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

May 11 - 14 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
A retreat was held this weekend.

May 15 - 18 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

May 18 - 21 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
Linda was busy this weekend, participating in Jack Zasadil Day on Sunday the 20th, sponsored by Hermosa Arts and History Association.

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

May 25 - 28 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available -- the lilacs bloomed lavishly this year!

May 29 - June 1 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

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Nighthawks, the last bird to arrive after winter, showed up the last weeks of May. With our abundant rains there were many tiny flying bugs for them to feed on.
The Summer Solstice is on Monday, June 21st. Read about it in Linda’s book The Wheel of the Year: A Writer’s Workbook, and try some of the writing exercises just for fun.
There will be a full moon on Monday the 28th.

May 29 - June 1 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

June 1 - 4 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available
On Saturday, June 2nd, Linda spoke to the Custer County Historical Society, Custer, SD about Nellie Hermosa Garrett Harty, the first white baby born in Hermosa. To learn more see "Where in the World is Linda M. Hasselstrom?"

June 5 - 8 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

June 8 - 11 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

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

June 15 - 18 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
Linda conducted a Family History writing workshop on Saturday, sponsored by the local Hermosa Arts & History Association (HAHA).
A week-long Writing Retreat will begin on Sunday, June 17th.

June 19 - 22 --- (Tues - Fri) ---
A week-long Writing Retreat was held this week.

June 22 - 25 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
A week-long Writing Retreat concluded this weekend.
Linda spoke to a book club the afternoon of Saturday, June 23rd.

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

June 29 – July 2 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

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The Fourth of July is a Wednesday this year. Sorry, due to the likelihood of fire danger no fireworks may be used on the ranch in the summer.
A full moon will occur on Friday the 27th.

June 29 – July 2 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

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

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

July 10 - 13 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

July 13 - 16 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

July 17 - 20 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

July 20 - 23 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

July 24 - 27 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

July 27 - 30 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

July 31 – August 3 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

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For those of you reading Linda’s book The Wheel of the Year: A Writer’s Workbook, August 1st is Lammas, the end of summer and the beginning of the fall harvest season.
There was a full moon on Sunday the 26th.

July 31 – August 3 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

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

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

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

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

August 17 - 20 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

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

August 24 - 27 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
A writer attended a retreat this weekend.

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

August 31 - September 3 --- (Fri - Mon) — available

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The Fall Equinox will be on Saturday, September 22nd.
There will be a full moon on Monday the 24th.

August 31 - September 3 --- (Fri - Mon) — available

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

September 7 - 10 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
A writer will attend a retreat beginning Sunday, September 9th.

September 11 - 14 --- (Tues - Fri) ---
A writer will conclude a retreat on Wednesday, September 12th.

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

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

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

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

September 28 – October 1 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

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Columbus Day (celebrated in South Dakota as Native American Day) is on Monday the 8th.
There will be a full moon on Wednesday the 24th.
Halloween will be on Wednesday this year. Linda’s book The Wheel of the Year: A Writer’s Workbooktells you about this holiday, also known as Samhain, which marks the beginning of winter.

September 28 – October 1 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 23 - 26 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

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

October 30 – November 2 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

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Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 4th – fall back an hour and sunrise comes earlier.
Thanksgiving is Thursday the 22nd.
There will be a full moon on Friday the 23rd.

October 30 – November 2 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

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

November 6 - 9 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

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

November 13 - 16 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

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

November 20 - 23 --- (Tues - Fri) ---
Linda will celebrate with family this Thanksgiving.

November 23 - 26 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
Linda will celebrate with family this Thanksgiving.

November 27 - 30 --- (Tues - Fri) --- available

November 30 – December 3 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

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The Winter Solstice is on Friday the 21st; then the days begin to lengthen.
The last full moon of the year will be on Saturday, December 22nd.
Christmas, the 25th, is on a Tuesday this year.
New Year’s Eve is Monday night, December 31st.

November 30 – December 3 --- (Fri - Mon) --- available

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

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

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

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

December 18 - 21 --- (Tues - Fri) ---
Pre-Christmas week pending until Linda’s family schedule is settled.

December 21 - 24 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
Pre-Christmas weekend pending until Linda’s family schedule is settled.

December 25 - 28 --- (Tues - Fri) ---
Christmas week pending until Linda’s family schedule is settled.

December 28 - 31 --- (Fri - Mon) ---
New Year’s weekend pending until Linda’s family schedule is settled.

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Bring your laptop if you have one
Revising your work is much easier with a word processor. Linda can exchange flashdrives with you.
Scheduling Your Retreat Date

Once you are accepted for a Windbreak House Writing Retreat, we will schedule your retreat based on your first three preferred retreat dates if at all possible.

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, 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.

See the Online Writing Help Page for complete details on how to sign up for a Writing Conversation by eMail.

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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. Save travel expenses by carpooling and share the cooking duties.

Winter Retreats--
Retreats are held year 'round, though we usually schedule a backup retreat in case the weather precludes travel for your first choice of dates. If you are snowed in, we don't charge for the extra day you may need to stay while roads clear.

Week-long retreats or other customized dates to fit your schedule--
Linda is usually very flexible and able to accommodate your preferences.

Solitary retreats--
You may spend time writing alone at Windbreak House, without Linda’s consultation, between scheduled retreats.

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

Everyone welcome--
Although Windbreak House originally was a retreat only for women because everyone shared the same house and bathroom, once the retreats were moved to Homestead House in 2008 the retreats were available for men as well. Those under age 21 may apply to attend with an adult chaperon.

For a description and photos of the Retreat House entry doors and bathrooms, see the Homestead House photo tour section on Accessibility.

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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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