A Twist in the Plot

Retreating from hectic everyday life may be crucial for women writers

Katherine Scott Crawford at Earthshine Lodge.
Portrait by Karin Strickland

Right now at Earthshine Lodge, the rocking chairs are waiting. But come late fall, they’ll be filled by women writers. Author Katherine Scott Crawford can already picture them on the scenic, manicured property, inside and out, “ … the fire roaring [while they’re] just writing or typing away at different spots around campus.”

For three days, they will shed all distractions and to-do lists. If Crawford has anything to say about it, her guests will simply be in the moment, focused on their art.

It’s a modern paradox. Getting this space and time in everyday life is all but unattainable for most women — and yet it can be crucial to developing and maintaining a writing career, says Crawford. In retreat mode, “inspiration comes when it might not come otherwise,” she recalls from experience. “And that in turn can fuel you when you get home and re-immerse yourself in your busy life.” 

Her own bio is a long one, and likely familiar to the women signing up for Crawford’s inaugural MountainTop Writers Retreat. She is an award-winning columnist whose parenting and outdoor-life articles appear in newspapers locally, nationally, and internationally. Crawford’s full-length debut is Keowee Valley, a regional historical novel. As she puts it on her website, “In an attempt to be a fully functioning writer-teacher-wife-mother-daughter-sister-friend-healthy-kind-human-being, [I] channel Wonder Woman, Katharine Hepburn, Abigail Adams, and [my] grandmothers.” This nearly impossible list is why she decided that her first retreat will cater solely to women. 

It will be what Crawford calls a “pure retreat” — i.e., no workshops — allowing participants to start a project, finish one, or just get a good chunk of work done. She loves the Transylvania County location because it feels like a secluded oasis while still being accessible to Western North Carolina’s major cities. All meals are provided, and writers will have access to the stone-hearth fireplaces and both indoor and outdoor gathering spaces. On Saturday, mountain-view yoga will be offered, as well as an optional trip and shared dinner in Brevard. 

Because she’s a mother herself, Crawford envisions the “ultimate joy” would be “to see a mom writer walking up the hill with her notebook and sitting and looking out over those mountains. And just having that chance to do something for herself and for her creative life.”

The November MountainTop Writers Retreat for Women, held at Earthshine Lodge at Lake Toxaway, happens Friday, Nov. 8 through Monday, Nov. 11, a “pure retreat” with no agenda. The winter retreat in January (dates to be announced) runs along the same premise, but is open to all. Next spring, Crawford will stage a retreat with visiting mentors, and after that, a family retreat in the summer. Visit earthshinenc.com/mountaintop-writers-retreat to register and learn more. For more about the author,
see katherinescottcrawford.com.

1 Comment

  • Glenda A. Ehrmann says:


    I am most interested in signing up for your January open writing class. I am not a writer but have tried unsuccessfully to write in the past.

    Thank you,
    Glenda Ehrmann

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