The New York Times- Modern Love/NPR podcast talks Haven Writing Retreats...click here
CNN features Haven Writing Retreats...click here
Named in the top 3 writing retreats in the US by Open Road Media and Tumblr...click here
Head Butler raves about Haven Writing Retreats...click here
Interview with Bill Kenower of Author Magazine...click here
"Haven Writing Retreats is the answer to the questions I asked for years: “Does anybody care? Do I have to do this alone? Can somebody help me learn how to write a novel, how to write a memoir, how to become a writer in the way that only I can? The answer is: yes. Haven Writing Retreats can. It has answered these questions for hundreds of people from all over the world and it can help you too."
Find your voice.
In journals, letters, essays, novels, memoirs...I have examined this beautiful and heartbreaking thing called life, always with the intention of shining a light on an otherwise dim corner to provide relief for myself and others. Writing is my practice, my prayer, my meditation, my way of life and sometimes…my way to life. I want to help you find your unique voice that no one else on the planet has except for you!
Find your stories.
You know what they are. You lead with them when you meet people, when you’re talking on a plane, when you gather with old friends. These are the white hot topics that you are hungry for. At Haven, we free-fall into them bravely and come out the other side with new perspective, new understanding, and even new stories.
Find where you are stuck.
People tell me all the time: “I’m just not creative. I don’t have the time. I’m afraid to be that vulnerable. I’m not good enough, anyway,” which means that their inner critic holds court in their minds and they have learned to bow to it, supplicant. It doesn’t have to be like this. Everybody is creative. Every second we live is a moment of creation. What we say, what clothes we wear, how we think—all creative acts. At Haven, you allow yourself to fully engage in the creative journey you are already on, whether or not you are aware of it. You will walk away with a new commitment to using writing in your life whether it’s in a book project, short form writing, or a more fulfilling journal writing practice.
Whether or not you are a writer, Haven meets you where you need to be met.
I designed the retreat that I would want to attend. That means that everybody at Haven values the written word. Some are working on a project, some haven’t written since school days. It doesn’t matter. Haven is meant to meet you where you need to be met. The one thing we all have in common at Haven is that we are seekers on some level. That’s what makes it so powerful. We step outside of good/bad/right/wrong and into the world of possibility and the world of Yes! I fiercely believe that creative self-expression on the page should be up there with diet and exercise as a transformational tool in the realm of preventative wellness…whether or not it adds up to a published work.
Take a powerful stand for yourself.
When we give ourselves permission, we can find profound freedom in our creativity. That’s why I lead Haven Writing Retreats. I want to help people in their creative expression no matter where they are in their writing. I believe it heals. I believe it can change lives and even change the world. While the wilderness of Montana holds the space for our inspiration, I hold the space for my retreaters to step into the wilderness of their writing-- in a nurturing, safe, inspiring setting…and explore. Each time, I see people leave re-fueled, with clearer intention, and an empowered passion to create what they want to create whether it’s a love-letter to future generations, a novel, a memoir, or a way to simply heal their lives.
If you don’t do it for yourself, who will?
It is such an honor to help people bloom, get unstuck, move through blocks, have breakthroughs, and mostly to see what happens when a group of people take a stand for their self-expression in the woods of Montana. The experience is profound. Our creativity can be our greatest free zone. And I want to help make this possible for you.
Upcoming Haven Writing Retreats
Haven Writing Retreats in gorgeous Whitefish, Montana: Named in the top 5 writing retreats in the US by Open Road Media!
Now Booking Haven Writing Retreat Montana 2019
Haven Writing Retreats 2020 schedule:
October 28-November 1
Announcing my new Haven Wander:
Morocco program February 2019! For more information, click here. (Full with Wait List)
Blog Posts about Haven Writing Retreats:
Haven Writing Retreats featured in Radio Interviews:
Feel Good Naked with Laure Redmond
With Dr. Christiane Northrup on Hay House, The Power of Writing Retreats: Hay House Radio (must be a Hay House member to hear)
With Dr. Christiane Northrup: A Conversation on Writing as a Therapeutic Tool: Hay House Radio- August 2013 (must be a Hay House member to hear)
Write Your Way to Happiness: Kink FM with Sheila Hamilton
Finding your Voice: The Women's Eye- September 2013
Happiness is an Inside Job: Writing your way through Crisis The Opening Door- October 2013
Getting out of Your Own Way: PA Conference for Women Teleclass Podcast- November 2013
Writing for Preventative Wellness LA Talk Radio with Kathy Kaehler- May 2014
Upgrade Your Story : Interview with Laura Munson
Write Out the Heart Guest Teacher interview
Author to Author Interview, Blogtalk Radio: Feb 19, 2013
Taking a Stand for Yourself: The Writing Retreat, The Women's Eye: July 2013
Laura's blog posts about Haven (as seen on the Huffington Post)
Sheila Hamilton KINK FM interview about Haven Retreats
If you are reading this testimonial, you were like I was: desperately searching for evidence that I should or shouldn't go, trying to decide if I was or wasn't a writer. If you are that person in that place, I would like to speak directly to you: go to Haven. If you have found Haven, if you have found this page, life is giving you a gift. It is up to you to take it. Haven changed my life and my writing in all of the ways it needed to change. Laura is brilliant in a way that is difficult to put into words, but she has a superpower: she helps you shed all of the writers that you are not, and helps you leap into the beautiful writer that you are. If you aren't sure of your voice, Laura will help you find it, and BELIEVE in it. She's the writing fairy-godmother that I always wanted and now have. Get there. Jump the hurdles, bypass the doubt, walk through the fear, and get there.
--Amy, Missoula, MT
This is the power of Haven: For one year, I hadn't written a word. Not a one. I was stuck in a place in my manuscript, couldn't figure my way out, and signed up for Haven in a last ditch effort to find the problem before I threw out the whole thing. But on Day 3 of Haven, after working one on one with Laura, I went out into the Montana wilderness with my computer and typed out 600 new words that unlocked the problem in my book. I've been back home for four days now, and am 10,000 words into a new draft with no sign of slowing down.
--Brooke Siem (Speaker, Writer, Coach, Chef)
Laura’s gifts are many. She has a way of pulling the story from the writer. She begins with a warming of the hive and by the end of Haven, she has drawn each person's sweet honey out for all to taste! All good things come to those who wait. It took me years of watching Laura’s Haven Writing Retreats from a distance to get to a yes for myself. Thank God I got to a yes! This was by far the best money I have ever spent on a workshop for my career and I’m deeply grateful. The writing instruction was epic and I left with a renewed love for the craft of writing. The thing that surprised me was the high level of skill Laura has as a facilitator for both the individual and the group. I have been facilitating groups for years and it is something that takes often hard earned skill, insight, passion and a touch of magic. Laura has an abundance of each and made a full-day, learning- packed workshop truly feel like a retreat! Brava, Laura! 10,000 Thank you’s for sending me home better at everything I do, especially writing!
I can’t wait to come back for Haven II.
--Kathleen, San Luis Obispo, CA
Getting to attend Haven I proved to be many dreams come true. Not only did I receive encouragement to move forward in my writing, I came away so highly focused I could see the publication! That my cohorts and Laura are holding the vision for me by promising to be at my first book signing, keeps the doubts of unworthiness in check. If I find myself sliding back into anxiety...support appears on our closed Facebook page, and I am back on track. The people in my group are the best ever!
I have been walking on this planet for a while, my journey leading me through dozens and dozens of retreats. But I have never experienced a gathering like this where I walked away not only with the best memories ever, but connection with the facilitator who cares enough to find powerful ways to keep in touch and coach me through my process long after. Laura has definitely mastered the retreat experience. So much care has gone into food, extracurricular fun things, the writing exercises and the opportunities for sharing.
What I have come to admire most about Laura is that she walks her talk. She has been there just like us, but now passes on her learnings with such passion you can not help but be motivated. She possesses the rare ability to keep the learning experience superbly safe and nurturing even when people come from different walks of life.
And now that I am going to Haven II, I get to partake in a dream I never imagined! I'm writing this book! How cool is that!
--Karen Stephens Carpenteria, CA
Being at Haven in fall, that season of change, was all and more than I had hoped for. As an academic, I am experienced at writing within the parameters of my discipline. But I now have a writing project which demands that I write ‘differently,’ putting aside those academic conventions so as to develop an alternative storytelling voice. This is where Laura excels, divining how you can think through your writing and the story or stories you want to tell, taking your hand and walking with you along that unfamiliar path and then encouraging you to continue on your own, but not alone. Together with my fellow retreaters, we soaked up Laura’s insights and guidance and supported each other as, sometimes cautiously and sometimes at pace, we stepped along these newly discovered paths. Magic is woven at Haven. And the best part (other than new friends and support team) there can be more Haven experiences!
--Cathy, Melbourne, Australia
I am absolutely positive of this: I am a better writer because I attended Haven.
--Kathryn Stockett, author of “The Help”
As a writer with very limited experience, I had many concerns about attending Haven. I worried about the writing experience of other attendees, how I might be judged and whether or not I would fit in … so much wasted energy.
Laura Munson is so genuine in her pursuit to teach her craft that it is not possible to leave Haven without a renewed sense of purpose, an enhanced ability to self express and to self reflect. Her ability to encourage, support and build connections between everyone is amazing. It truly did meet me where I needed to be met.
--Cynthia Hamilton Urquhart, Calgary AB
Laura has everything you can ask for in a writing mentor. She creates an open, warm and unconditionally loving space with other writers from which to create. As someone who's taken her share of bruises in writing groups, that support opened me up to start writing again after decades of doubt. But, what blows me away the most is her ability to edit other people's work. I think it's because she genuinely cares about what we create and because she's just got this freakishly deep insight into what would make your story richer. I'm currently revising the first draft of a novel using Laura's comments as my guide. They are like a gift that brings you to places you didn't know you had in you. If you listen, I guarantee, you'll go back into your work and say 'Did I really just write that?' She's that good.
--Robin Hoffman, New York
I ventured to Haven, a wannabe writer without a clue how to begin. For years a story, my story, fermented just beneath the surface emerging on rare occasions only to remind me of how overwhelming and intimidating my prospects were. With Laura's gentle encouragement and belief in my potential, I was inspired to begin. I put pen to paper on that gorgeous first day at Haven and have been writing almost every day since. I feel something missing when I don't. I am a writer!
--Nancy Glenn-Ashburn, VA
A Haven retreat is not a “one and done” experience. Laura is exceptionally good at keeping her Haven flock engaged. She stays in regular contact through inspiring newsletters, blogs and writing prompts; a nurturing, supportive, private Facebook community; and each winter, Laura even opens up her own blog to guest posts from Haven alums. On top of all that, she keeps tabs on us, encouraging us in our writing projects big and small, even to the extent of connecting writers with agents when she feels it’s a good match. When you leave a Haven retreat, rest assured, you haven’t heard the last from Laura Munson!
--Mary Novaria, Los Angeles
I attended Laura Munson’s Haven retreat, the FIRST time, in February 2013. It was a very difficult time in my personal life, but that didn’t scare Laura! Or the other attendees. As the below author did, I cried and I wasn’t the only one. That’s what happens when someone holds your heart in their hands and helps you allow the walls you’ve built to melt away. I attended Laura’s retreat, the SECOND time, two short months ago in September. I was joined by two fellow retreaters who were with me the first time.
The second time was as magical and moving, if not more so, than the first. One hundred pages into a memoir I had all but given up. It wasn’t right for me. I just couldn’t do it. It was too hard and my writing was too boring. Laura held me by the hand, literally and figuratively. I returned home refueled and recharged ready to do battle with my, “I’m not good enough voice” and win!
Man or woman. Experienced or not. I encourage you to let Laura and the Haven experience works its magic on you no matter where you are in your creative process.
--Tracy Yokas, CA
Working with Laura as an editor has proven educational, fun and magical. I now know what a true editor is, one who both improves your skills but is also able to pull your words, your story, out of you in a way that may at first feel very uncomfortable and challenging but quickly morphs into something almost spiritual. – Justine Froelker
“I learned more about the craft of writing and the art of reading in five days with Laura than in my entire experience as an MFA student. I would be annoyed by that if I was not so blown away by my experience at the Haven Retreat.
I was beyond nervous about doing something so big and indulgent for myself that I almost talked myself out of it a hundred times. I am not a "real writer" so who am I to deserve a writing retreat? I should be saving money, how can I justify spending money on a hobby? What if I don't click with anyone and I am the odd duck out while everyone else is making connections and having breakthroughs?
Now, having just unpacked my bags, I cannot believe I almost let these doubts keep me from doing what feels like the best, most rewarding risk I have ever taken. I am in awe of the fellow writers I met at Haven, and flabbergasted that these insanely talented people had the same doubts about doing this incredibly powerful thing for themselves.
If you are reading this you are a real writer and you absolutely deserve to do this great big thing for yourself. I promise from the bottom of my heart that you will not regret this.”
--Erica Hedrick, Venice, Italy
To say the Haven retreat changed my life is an understatement. I went to the retreat to process my grief as I slowly lose my mother to dementia. What happened at the retreat astounded me– I found that I have so many words deep, deep inside, not just about my mother, but about lots of life issues, and they came rushing out. And I surprised myself because I liked those words! I began to realize there is plenty more to come. The work is to organize, refine, and develop a piece so that my reader can feel it with me and say, “Ah, yes….I know what she’s talking about!”
--Katie Nixon, West Hartford, CT
I saw Laura at a women’s conference in Boston where she spoke about getting unstuck by getting out of your own way and self-expression. At this event, I learned of the Haven Writing Retreat. Hearing Laura speak was eye opening for me at a time when I was soul searching for joy in my life. Even though I had a month old baby and finances were a challenge, I took a big risk and attended the retreat. What Haven provided was an outlet of dedicated time for me to reconnect with my own self-expression through writing. Laura’s passion for writing and the love for her work made me feel comfortable amongst a diverse group—some professional writers, some just starting out, some with project ideas, and others who had only written in personal journals, like me. Haven made me realize the power of my words and how my journaling has made a meaningful difference in my life over the years. My experience left such a lasting impression on me I was inspired to share my joy for journaling with the world and started a new career through a business called Let’s Write Life. When I signed up, I was told that Haven would change my life…and it truly did!"
--Latonia Francois, MA – Owner of Let’s Write Life
I signed up to attend a Laura Munson Haven retreat after completing my first book (The Angel in My Pocket. Viking. Release July 2014). The process left me creatively and emotionally exhausted and I was looking for inspiration for my next writing project. The scenic setting on a quiet lake in Montana along with the small group of talented and thoughtful attendees made for an extraordinary learning experience.
Laura is a pro at teasing out the most essential elements of each of our works and voices. She encouraged gently but firmly and called us all to be our best all within a very comforting and secure environment.
I left Haven brimming with ideas. My heart soul and mind were all better having attended a Haven writing retreat.
Laura gives deeply of herself to each of her retreat attendees. I feel honored to have spent four days in her care and my writing is much better for the experience.
--Sukey Forbes, Weston, MA - best-selling author of Angel in my Pocket (Viking, 2014),
I traveled to Haven not knowing what to expect. Never in a million years had I pictured myself attending a "Writing Retreat." The experience, though, was amazing for me! I learned so much from each person in the group, and also about myself. And, I found what I needed to find. So it is with much thankfulness and a big open heart that I return home. Thank you, Laura.
--Pat Beers, Princeton, NJ
I've been a writer my entire life, but it took attending Laura Munson's Haven retreat to really have the confidence to get out of my own way and own my gifts. This retreat was an amazing experience that allowed me to cultivate my craft, as Laura's unique workshop activities, encouragements, one-on -on meetings and feedback pushed me and taught me where I was stuck. If you are a writer suffering from the common bouts of writer's block, low confidence, insecurities or uncertainties--GO to this retreat! You will come back a changed person. I know I did.
--Lindsay Henry, MI
I was mildly reluctant to sign up for Haven. All the smiling, healthy-looking women in the photographs made me think the retreat must be a love fest or couch session of getting to know your "true self."
I was wrong. The healthy, happy people are real, and so is the writing. We spent about 7 hours a day working on writing. Laura has a way of moving you into substantial writing with simple exercises. The exercises become the meat of the morning, and soon you're developing your poem or scene or memory with brilliant text you didn't know you had in you.
--Brenda Kameenui, Eugene, OR
I'm excited to announce that I've been accepted into a great MFA Fiction program in Chicago! Attending Haven played a huge role in boosting my confidence as a writer and encouraging me to pursue a future in writing. Thank you Laura Munson for all of the help, support, and encouragement throughout my MFA application process!”
--Grace Fondow, Oak Park, IL
Laura's work changing the Suffering Artist paradigm into Empowered Artist is going to reshape the world. If she has to do it one writer at a time, she will.
--Cindy Webb, Helena, MT
Laura Munson was a master at bringing out my voice, and the voices of all my fellow writers. Her retreat was one of the most empowering experiences of my life. I learned about writing, but I also learned about myself in ways that were unexpected. In addition, we all formed an amazing bond with each other! The totality of the place, the people, the work and the food was priceless.
--Wendy Hill, Westwood, MA
The retreat was a perfect balance of comfort and fear. Laura Munson creates a safe place for writers of every level to uncover their true voice, sometimes for the first time. Witnessing it was as close to a miracle as I've ever come.
--Lynn Trudell, Ithaca, NY
Haven Retreat was one of the most important growth experiences of 2013 for me. As a published author working on my second book, I was looking for a way to take my writing to the next level. I found it in the form of one of the most exciting, enthusiastic and successful writing coaches: Laura Munson.
I especially liked the fact that she knows that one size does not fit all and gave us the ability to adopt her ideas and adapt them to our own style, personalities and goals. She understands the challenges writers face and in her chocked-full fast-paced four day retreat she was able to take me and the other participants to a place of greater writing effectiveness. I’d highly recommend her retreat to anyone wanting to perfect their craft.
-- Byron E. Thompson, Tubac, AZ Author of “Build Your Dream: 12 Essential Tools for Successful Living”
Laura's retreat re-ignited my creative spirit. Her intuitive guidance, along with imaginative writing exercises, group readings and individual feedback, helped me re-focus and re-energize. I am more committed than ever to my craft.
--Mary Novaria, Los Angeles, CA
Laura Munson can help you breakthrough writing blocks, make your writing sing and pull those stories out of you and she does. I left Montana inspired and on fire to write.
--Erika Putnam, Boise, ID
The universe is always sending out messages-songs and stories that need to be told and heard. A retreat with Laura Munson and the wonderful crew at the Walking Lightly Ranch tunes that channel in loud and clear. Run there with your heart wide open. Receive. Be forever blessed.
--Dixie B. Sarasota, FL
This retreat was truly a haven. Laura probed our individual voices, developed our writing skills, and facilitated our group interactions to make the experience remarkable. I realized you don’t have to be writing a book to gain from this retreat; you just have to want time to reflect. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
--Peter Black, Boston, MA
Laura Munson transformed my attitude toward writing – from thinking that no one would be interested in my story to feeling rejuvenated with confidence and desire to complete it. The peaceful setting of Walking Lightly Ranch and three days of sharing with the other incredibly different yet like-minded and funny women filled me with inspiration and motivation, and gifted me with 9 new friends of the heart and written word.
--Christie Coombs, Boston, MA
Laura cracked me open in ways I so needed- both personally and as a writer- and created a space that was both safe and challenging at the same time. I left Montana forever changed.
--Christa Allen, Fairfield, CT
Laura's writing retreat inspired me to take myself seriously as a writer for the first time. When I signed up, I did not know what to expect from a New York Times best-selling author; yet, to my delight, I found her to be as down to earth and available as she is in her popular memoir. She easily created an environment of safety and mutual support for the participants while pushing us to stretch in new directions on the page. Continuously extending herself to offer encouragement and valuable feedback on our writing, she also provided vital information on the nitty-gritty of the publishing business. I left the workshop with the confidence and information I needed to take the next steps in publishing my work. Thank you, Laura.
--Judy Walenta, Sebastopol, CA
The time spent in retreat with Laura at the breathtaking Walking Lightly Ranch was truly a blessing of fellowship, learning, laughter and fun. It was amazing to watch total strangers come together for four days and open heart, mind and soul to each other and see the gifts that flowed forth. Laura has a beautiful and very effective way of using her compassionate wisdom and gentle guidance to help others deepen and strengthen their writer’s voice.
--Gene Manning, Nashville, TN
Not once did Laura ask me then or now to buy her book or a mug with her name on it, containing tea made in Whitefish that promotes good grammar. Not once did she fill me with false hope or expectations that ‘THIS retreat will launch my professional writing career! This is exactly what I needed to succeed!’ Going on a retreat is not promising enlightenment – you must find that for yourself. Montana is where I found my courage, my bravery.
--Patty Young, Westchester, NY
“I went to Haven as both a writer and a health and wellness coach, and I was thrilled with my experience from both points of view. As a writer, my creativity was reawakened, nurtured, and honored. As a coach, Haven provided me with several powerful new writing tools to use with my coaching clients and a new perspective on the important role creativity plays in a healthy, vibrant lifestyle. In addition, Laura’s abilities as a facilitator were remarkable to witness—from her careful choices of evocative writing prompts to her skillful leading of the group. I wholeheartedly recommend Haven to my fellow writers and coaches.”
-- Laura Prochnow Phillips, Chapel Hill, NC
Are you in the corporate world, pining to be refreshed both professionally and personally through the act of writing? Read this amazing testimonial from a Haven Retreat alum. You might find sponsorship from your company!
"If you are an ambitious manager and/or leader hungry for inspiration, change and personal growth, Laura Munson’s Haven Retreat will inspire you to motivate others, build positive change, set your direction and calibrate your compass, manage others with tough empathy and dig deep. My experience with Laura and my participation at Haven Retreat in Whitefish awakened the woman, the leader, the writer and the quiet and tired person inside. In just five days, I learned to trust my inner critic and run free with my pen and paper, sharing amongst a group of Haven participants from the Americas and Canada collaborating with tools of listening, trust and creativity that inevitably unleashed the power of fresh ideas and rediscovery. Haven builds confidence, provokes positive change and growth around ideas, setting direction on a personal course that compliments every avenue in life (career, family, relationships, conflict, pain and happiness). Laura’s retreats also included elements that require individual introspection, group teaming, personal health and very valuable excursions locally that tie personal and professional growth like a beautiful holiday bow and leave you forever changed."
--Melissa A. Azulay, New York, New York, Deloitte Corporation
Haven in Montana is a magical experience. Trust yourself and the voice that calls you to the "skinny brances" where life is explored, learning is experiential, and meaningful circles emerge.
--Donna Naquin, Covington, LA
To attend one of Laura's retreats is to be swept into a magical writing world. Enveloped in the majesty of Montana, there is no criticism, no competition, no judgement. If you have any self doubt, it fades away as she weaves her spell of delight with her approach to writing. As a beginner, I was hesitant to enroll in a writing course. Visions of my college days came back to haunt me....then I read the description of her retreat and was hooked...you just need to be a seeker!
From the moment I met her, I felt safe. Safe to explore this new pursuit with joy and enthusiasm. Five days later, I had more information and insight than I could have gathered in semesters. I had the crafting tools to start a writing practice...all of this in an amazing environment with other extraordinary women to be my support system.
I have been a teacher for a long time and Laura's ability to reach her students on their individual level, all while keeping a class on task, is unparalleled. She does it with a grace and warmth that is rare in the teaching world. The value in what she has to offer is very hard to find in other places. So go to Montana, go to a Haven Retreat. You won't be sorry and you will wonder why you didn't go sooner!!!
--Pamela Price, Charleston, NC
Haven is a life-changing experience. No matter where you are with your writing or your life, you'll come out inspired and a little bit healed.
--Laura Probert, MPT, Author of Warrior Love, A Journal to Inspire Your Fiercely Alive Whole Self
At a Haven retreat, every participant feels safe to open their hearts to one another, something that could only be possible with Haven facilitator Laura Munson, who has a true gift to lead, teach, and simultaneously foster trust. I am forever grateful for the experience.
I was intuitively guided to attend Haven I, nine months after the death of my son which had me writing as part of my healing process. I was prepared to have the experience result in an answer to the question of whether to continue to write exclusively as a journal practice or to pursue writing a book. I was not prepared however for the exceptional teaching provided by Laura in a safe, stimulating and sacred environment nor for the tremendous bond our group forged during our stay. We were well taken care of physically, intellectually and emotionally. The experience surpassed my expectations so I am currently entertaining more Haven involvement. Give yourself a Gift and Go for it!