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Graduate Writing Retreats

The UWC offers full-day retreats where graduate writers can focus on quiet, sustained writing together.

Retreats happen once a month and are free and open to all UT Austin graduate students. Faculty members are also welcome to attend UWC writing retreats; we ask that faculty members please contact uwcgradservices@utexas.edu to let us know that they’ll be attending.

If you’re new to writing retreats, read more details and our policies below.

To sign up for a writing retreat, click the link below for the date(s) you’re interested in. 

Fall 2020 Writing Retreats

About Writing Retreats

Two students sit together writing during a Writing Retreat.

Virtual

Digital writing retreats are held in Zoom and facilitated by a UWC consultant. Writers may choose to mute their audio and video if that is more comfortable. Scheduled breaks will be announced in the group chat.

Unfortunately, we can’t provide refreshments during digital retreats. We do, however, encourage you to find a comfortable writing spot, have snacks and beverages nearby, and reduce or limit the number of distractions that might interfere with your focused writing time.

Feel free to join us even if you cannot attend for the full day. If you need to take a break, you can simply mute your video and/or leave the Zoom meeting and return at a later time. 

UWC writing consultants will be available for brief 15-minute consultations. We will distribute a sign-up sheet during the retreat and provide instructions on how to meet with a consultant in a breakout Zoom room.

In order to receive the Zoom link for the retreat meeting, all writers must register for the retreat with Eventbrite.

In Person

Graduate writing retreats take place one Saturday a month (or Friday in the summer session) from 10am-5pm. This is your time to work on any piece of writing that’s important to you, such as a term paper, Master’s project, proposal, job application, dissertation chapter, or personal writing project. We provide goal-setting worksheets, handbooks, and other resources to help you with writing and revision. We encourage you to turn off cellphones, disable any distracting technology, and schedule the day in order to allow the most time to work on your writing.

We’ll meet in the UWC, located in PCL 2.330, with additional space right around the corner in Learning Lab 1 and Learning Lab 2. From the front entrance of the PCL, walk past the checkout desks and elevators, then turn left twice.

On the day of the retreat, we will provide sign-up sheets for optional one-on-one writing consultations with our peer graduate consultants throughout the day. These are short 15-minute meetings to check in, move past writing blocks, and plan next steps; your consultant can also help you to schedule a full-length 45-minute consultation with us during the UWC’s regular business hours. 

The UWC’s fixed budget enables us to provide regular coffee and a limited selection of snacks (fruit and trail mix). Additional food and drinks are donated by the retreat leaders, consultants, and participants. As stated in the “What to Bring” section above, we encourage writers to bring your own lunch, decaf coffee, tea, and other beverages. All retreat participants are welcome to use our kitchenette, coffee maker, and hot water kettle.

How to Prepare

Take time to consider your goals for the day. How can you make the best possible use of this time for yourself? For example, do you hope to finish a project for an upcoming deadline, re-open an old paper you’ve been putting off, or take time to free-write about a new idea? Participants in past retreats report that they feel most productive when they begin by setting a specific intention and goal.

What to Bring

Bring writing materials. If you’re using a laptop, consider charging it before the retreat or bringing an extension cord so that you’ll have more options for seating (not all of our tables have outlets). You’re also welcome to use one of the UWC’s desktop computers.

Bring your own lunch, snacks, and drinks. The UWC will provide regular coffee and light snacks, and you’re welcome to brew your own decaf coffee or use our hot water kettle to make your own tea. All retreat participants are welcome to use our break room and kitchenette, which includes a refrigerator and microwave. Lunch options are available in Jester Hall, right across Speedway Ave. from the PCL.

Bring a sweater (it’s chilly in here!), headphones, and anything that will help you get comfortably settled in for a full day’s work. The PCL has a limited supply of headphones available for checkout at the front desk.

What grad students are saying about UWC writing retreats

“It’s a great place for me to focus, distractions are limited, and I know I have resources and snacks nearby. Being around other students feverishly working is also motivating.”

“Quiet study space; being around like-minded people quietly working motivated me; great coffee.”

“I liked having a dedicated quiet space in the library with other students like myself.”

Additional Support

Interested in other ways the UWC can support you? Head over to our Graduate Students page to find out about all the services available to you at the UWC.

Writing Retreat Policies

We ask that all writers show respect and support for each other by remaining quiet throughout our designated writing times. Please keep phones on silent and step outside of the retreat space for conversations. If you feel distracted by noise near your work space, please let a UWC staff member know.

Feel free to join us even if you cannot attend for the full day. If you need to enter or leave the retreat outside of a group break, please be mindful of other writers by moving as quietly as possible.

You do not have to register beforehand in order to attend an in-person retreat. However, registering lets us estimate the amount of coffee and snacks to purchase. You will be asked to sign in when you arrive at the retreat.

Seating for in-person retreats is first-come, first-serve, so we suggest arriving promptly at the retreat start time if you’d like to claim a table to share with a group of friends.