Are your dreams (career or otherwise) languishing in the ‘one day when’ box? Sometimes the smallest thing can give a dream the impetus to take wings. I found mine when I saw a blog post regarding a Writer’s Retreat, to be hosted by the inspirational Lisa Clifford and conducted in the Tuscan mountains just outside Florence, Italy. Living up to my Blog’s edict – one chance at life – I bit the bullet and enrolled and I’m so glad I did, I had a ball. What’s more I found Lisa’s own story equally inspirational. I asked if she might share via a guest blog and she kindly agreed. Over to Lisa…

20130808-203646.jpgOne of the buzzwords on the internet is ‘dream.’ Make your dream come true, visualise your dream, indulge your dream. There are programmes, foundations and projects called Dream as well as Rebuild the Dream, Dream Hotels and Dream Travel. The focus now on making your dreams come true is incredible. So to coin a lyric from Les Miserables, I dreamed a dream and joined the Dream Team…I created my dream job.

My dream for years was to organise a retreat for writers in my adopted home, Tuscany. I had already published three books, had a fourth on the way and a movie in the pipeline. It was definitely time to give something back. Firstly, to others who dream of becoming published writers and secondly to the mountains of Tuscany, the place that helped make all my dreams come true.

The idea was to design a programme that I personally would love to do, something that offered a special kind of withdrawal into a creative space. Lots of lectures from published writers and fabulous teachers, professionals who are particularly good at evaluating what you’ve written. A writers retreat that offered time to learn, time to create and exceptional private time to chat with authors who’ve made their mistakes and subsequently wanted to share how to avoid the common and not-so-common problems of working with the written word.

20130808-203637.jpgSeveral writers, along with a British Creative Writing teacher that I have worked with in the past, agreed to join me for five days of lectures. We learn in the morning, write in the afternoons and have guest speakers at night. As time goes on, more writers and creative writing teachers have joined my team.

The Art of Writing runs always in the second week of June and the second week of September. We book out an entire Tuscan agriturismo (Italian run family farms that by law have to provide 50% of local produce on their tables) with ten apartments, for ten writers. The Art of Writing groups are small and intimate, ideal for nurturing and encouraging each other.

Here is a short video of the 2013 Art of Writing. I hope it helps you think about your dream and how you too can make it come true.

2013 Art of Writing

Thanks Lisa!
For more inspiration don’t hesitate to check in on Lisa’s own sites:




Key inspiration. Deirdre, Jim, self, Lisa, Penny, Catherine, (Morag missing)
Key inspiration.
Deirdre, Jim, self, Lisa, Penny, Catherine, (Morag missing)

By the way, there’s a lot more to the retreat besides grasping the concept of writing a best seller as you’ll see by photos and post: ‘On finding one’s voice’

NB: Jane is currently on sabbatical in Northern Italy contemplating and acting on outcomes. Feel free to follow her jaunts on this blog. Comments always welcome!

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