Writing Retreat in a Box

An online course for writers ready to finish their novel without losing steam, hating life, or giving up.

If you’re an ambitious writer who just wants to get your dang book finished, or if you want a stronger, more enticing vision for the projects you want to write in the future, or if you want to really understand why your work matters, Writing Retreat in a Box is for you! You’ll learn how to write more, better, and more fulfilling work; how to put your writing time to good use—whether it’s 10 minutes or 10 hours; how to uncover what truly moves and inspires you, and connect it to everything you write; and even how to stab a sword into the black heart of anxiety and imposter syndrome.

Course Benefits:

  • It’s perfect for writers at any career stage, from unpublished to multi-published. We got everything!
  • It’s self-paced, so you can go at your own speed, and take as many snack breaks as you need.
  • No genre discrimination! WRiaB is here for writers of all types of fiction, from YA sci-fi to literary epics.
  • It’s modular and flexible. You can complete lessons in any order you like, and choose the form (video or mp3) that best suits your learning style.
  • It’s not demanding or prescriptive. There’s no “write 10 squillion words a day by following this strict formula” kind of nonsense.
  • It’s got guaranteed admission—no snobby committees or literary juries here. Come as you are!
  • It’s affordable, costing less than just the application fees for many writers’ residencies and much less than a trip away from home for a conference or retreat.
  • If you select the optional 20-minute career consultation, it’s a great opportunity to get an expert opinion on your query, your publishing path, or your professional options

Course Contents:

The program is made up of nine sessions, each on a key craft or writing lifestyle topic. Each session discussion comes as a video and mp3, so you can watch at your own pace on your computer or listen on the go, and includes as notes, guided journal pages, and worksheets, tailored to each topic as PDFs.

1. Introduction

An overview of the writing life, why taking the time to examine the way you work and the projects you’ve worked on can help you, and how to get started on the program:

  • What we’re going to do, learn, and talk about
  • How to proceed in the course (hint: it’s extremely flexible!!)
  • How to use the workbook

2. Defining Your Author Identity + Creative Mission

How to get at what makes you tick as a writer, articulate your motivation as an artist, brainstorm everywhere your work could take you, and distill into a clear mission for you to follow with everything you write:

  • What is author identity and creative mission, and why does it matter?
  • Discovering the themes, motifs, and influences on your work
  • Pinpointing ~emotions~ and connecting with your readership
  • Finding where you are now and plotting where you’ll go in the future

3. Finding Your Writing Routine

How to write regularly, whether that’s every day, every week, or every month, by figuring out your own style, working with the time you have, and using science (!) to be motivated and efficient:

  • Which routine advice is worth taking?
  • How to create lasting writing habits that get you working
  • The flow state and how to enter it quickly
  • Eliminating distractions and making use of your time
  • Tracking your progress

4. Beginning Your Novel

How to get over the fear of the blank page (it’s very real), get over perfectionism about “getting work done,” and stop planning and start writing:

  • How to go from idea to novel
  • Developing character, situation, form, and genre
  • To outline or not to outline?
  • Where should you start?

5. The Middle of Your Novel: Unsticking and Keeping the Pace

How to unstick yourself from plot problems, light a fire under you to keep writing, revise your book into something meaningful and coherent, and figure out exactly what your project is trying—and needs!—to be:

  • Three common middle-of-book writing problems and how to get past them
  • Exercises for when you’re blocked or stuck on plot
  • Making up titles for inspiration

6. Getting to the End and Starting Revision

How to wrap up what you’ve started, harness some ending momentum, and figure out a battle plan for the Great Revision:

  • How to write your own edit letter
  • How to line-edit without going nuts
  • How to understand the theme and big picture of your book

7. Using Your Writing Community

How to find your people, create meaningful work together, learn from each other, and use your fellow writers to boost—not destroy—your confidence and enthusiasm:

  • How to find other like-minded writers
  • How to use your friends for motivation and accountability
  • Creating a sense of belonging among your fellow writers without feeling imposter-y

8. The Future! Your Next Book and Your Writing Career

How to map out your career and creative goals, figure out pacing, and break everything down into small, achievable steps:

  • Mapping a plan for your career in weeks, months, and years ahead
  • Storing future ideas to revisit without forgetting
  • Professional goals, craft goals, project goals, and lifestyle goals

9. Bringing It All Together

Final thoughts and tips for going forward into the world as a writer, how to be of good courage, and how to take what you’ve learned with you:

  • Why does this stuff even matter?
  • Why is it worth making a priority?
  • Why do YOU deserve to be a writer? (Hint: you already are)
  • How can you stay sane and productive when criticism and self-doubt creeps in?

And cool bonus stuff!

  • A collection of writing prompts for any time you feel stuck
  • A mega-list of time-saving apps, websites, and software to help you focus
  • First dibs on live chats and webinars on drafting, revising, and the writing life
  • Optional 20-minute career consultation phone call to discuss querying, revisions, long-term planning, or any other aspect of writing

About the Instructor

Blair Thornburgh is Lead Editor at The Author Studio and the author of several books for kids and teens with four major publishers, including the YA novels Who’s That Girl and Ordinary Girls and the picture book Skulls!.

She works as a developmental editor for YA packager Dovetail Fiction and was previously Senior Editor at Quirk Books. She received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University, and was named one of Publishers Weekly’s Rising Stars for 2017.

What Writers Are Saying

“Blair brings industry, academic, and practical experience to her lessons. She’s super encouraging and wants to do everything she can so that YOU, yes you, can write the book! Her advice is practical and easy to follow, which is great for beginning and experienced writers alike. I love these lessons and take everything Blair says to heart!”
Naseem Jamnia
Author and Journalist
“Not only is Blair an incredible writer and teacher, she also manages to create an extraordinary amount of content while holding down a full time job. I can think of no one more qualified to teach this course!”
Aimee Lucido
”Writing Retreat in a Box is inspiring, insightful, and focused. I was planning on taking notes while I watched the videos, but Blair’s advice had me pulling out my notebook and writing. In about fifteen minutes I had a concept for my sequel after struggling with it for weeks. This course is an excellent place to start for new writers, and a great crystallization for established writers.“
Kate Brauning
Author and Editor
” Writing Retreat in a Box truly lives up o its name: it’s like talking shop with your industry insider writer pal over a fun weekend, and it’ll leave you feeling prepared and inspired to tackle that giant project you’ve been dreaming of.“
Alex Yuschik


It’s an online course about craft, finding inspiration, and keeping motivation high for writers, taught by me, Blair!

The nine course videos + mp3s, workbook, and bonus material are available for $149. All that material PLUS a 20-minute career consultation by phone is $189.

Follow the link at the bottom of the page to sign up. Once you’ve enrolled, you’ll get the course materials delivered through Gumroad, a nifty indie platform for content delivery.

As soon as your payment is processed! Gumroad will provide the videos, mp3s, and PDFs as a download.

The videos can be watched in any standard media player, such as Windows Media Player or Quicktime. (I also recommend VLC.) The mp3s can be imported directly to your phone or device, or played from your computer. You can also use the Gumroad app to watch and listen right on your phone!

If you’ve opted for the phone consultation, you’ll receive an email with instructions for setting up a time for the call after you purchase. It’ll happen on your schedule (meaning evenings and weekends are in!), so don’t worry about timing!

I definitely don’t want anyone to be unhappy with the program! If it’s not for you, you can unenroll for a full refund within 15 days of signing up.

Ready to enroll?