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Why Write?

Why Write?


Why Write?

Why Write?

Is write a right fit?

Of course.

Write’s first priority is community and breaking down barriers to get to the heart of everyone.  Sure.  We dig style and attention to the relaxed northwest lifestyle, but we love honesty and art and laughter and really great coffee and secrets and beauty and songs and characters that inspire.  We sense that in you, too, if you’re reading this.  If you are at all wondering if you should be here, magically, you’re meant to be here.  It’s the spirit of Doe Bay.  When you come, you’ll understand what we mean. 

Our lives are busy are full and dramatic and lonely and beautiful and creative and fun and hard.  We owe it to ourselves to replenish our artistic battery, to connect with people who push us to become a better version of our true selves and to unlock a story that’s waiting to be told.  We demand space with others who see in pictures, in songs, in made up stories, in clear narratives.  We seek a chance to unwind and be still in the beauty of evergreens and fog and salty waters. 

What matters is your connection to art, your ability to sit within the stories of others and be changed by their words.  It matters most how you tell your tale, what genre finds you when you least expect it.  Your craft demands you to become your very best self. We’ll help you place routine and practice and tradition back into your busy days to restore your gift.  From published author to long-ago journaler, Write is right for you. From a child of the 1930s to a child of the 1990s, Write is right for you.

Through shared meals and close space within an ocean-side house, we’ll explore fiction and memoir and song and art and publishing and essays and film.  We’ll laugh.  Some of us will cry.  We’ll make new friends and a whole lot of memories. 


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What To Expect

What to expect.

What To Expect

What to expect.


We strongly advise you reserve a spot for your vehicle on the Washington State Ferry (WSF). Please visit www.wsdot.wa.gov and go to make a Reservation. And, don’t forget to make a reservation for your return trip to Anacortes. Once you arrive at the Orcas Island Ferry Terminal, it’s about a 45-minute drive to Doe Bay Resort.

After you have purchased your ticket, Write Doe Bay staff will be reaching out to you for travel details. We will do our best to help coordinate rides and pick-ups from Sea-Tac airport and city centers for those who need it.

Schedule Overview

We encourage all participants to arrive Thursday evening to get their room assignments, mingle with others, and settle into Doe Bay Resort. Guests are welcome to stay as long as they want and our staff can assist arranging additional night of lodging.

The schedule is fairly condensed, however there will be some open times for relaxing and independent writing. If you’re thinking you’ll want more time for your writing we recommend staying through Monday night (or even longer!)–you’ll have no shortage of inspiration from the workshops and Doe Bay Resort is the perfect setting for moving that inspiration from head to paper.

Workshop Details

We will be in the main room at the Retreat House for all meals and workshops Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This room has a variety of comfortable chairs and couches and floor pillows. Write Doe Bay has rented the entire house so the only people coming in and out will be participants, Write Doe Bay staff, Teaching Artists, and our chef (and the Resort owner, Joe Brotherton, who pops by once and awhile). Teaching Artists will be announced leading up to the weekend and a refined schedule with Workshop titles will be released to the ticket holders 3 - 4 weeks before the event.


Lodging at Doe Bay Resort is included with your ticket for Thursday - Sunday nights. Monday night lodging is available for a discounted rate for all Write participants. Lodging varies from shared cabins to staying in rooms in the retreat house. Please note that the layouts of the shared cabins includes shared living, kitchen, and bathroom space. Single occupancy cabins may be purchased for an additional cost and are subject to availability.


Meals are included with your ticket and will provided by our in-house chef Friday morning through Monday morning. Our chef will make modifications for allergy and dietary restrictions upon request.


Write Doe Bay will be providing journals and pens for all participants and Teaching Artists.

Special Needs and Requests

Our goal at Write Doe Bay is to be inclusive and considerate of all participants and Teaching Artists. We do our best to respond and accommodate to special needs and requests. If you have questions please contact us at writedoebay@gmail.com.   



Getting here. 


Getting here. 

Many say, "Doe Bay is Magical." We make no such claim, but we are a relaxing waterfront resort on over thirty-eight acres on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands, with houses, rustic cabins, yurts, a hostel and campsites available for your enjoyment.
Relax, Dream, Meditate.  Enjoy our solitude or time with your friends.  Hike our hills and walk our beaches and end your day in the Doe Bay Spa.  If you are hungry… It is no secret anymore.  The Doe Bay Café and the Doe Bay Garden create gourmet healthy fresh meals that are getting national attention.



You should know that getting here is part of the journey. It sounds redundant, we know. Traveling to Doe Bay means stepping out of your comfort zone in terms of both location and emotion. Many of our attendees have never travelled solo. Some have never traveled at all. And then there are veteran travellers who travel to Doe Bay thinking it will be like any other trip.

Getting here usually means you’ll take several forms of transport (air, boat, car, train) and see some of the most beautiful country along the way. It takes time to get to Doe Bay. Time is part of the gift. It gives travelers the ability to reflect on what brings them to Write, what it means to leave home and the time to live in the delicious space between anticipation and possibility.

The trip is worth the time.
It’s worth the effort.
It’s worth the distance.
It’s worth the fear, anxiety and thrill of traveling out of your comfort zone.

We ask you to trust the process. We can’t wait to see you.

FAQ about Getting to the Retreat

1. What airport do I choose?
SEA TAC INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT is the hub where you will likely arrive. Sea-Tac is near Seattle proper, so book a hotel in Seattle or Sea-Tac. Many hotels have shuttle services to/from the airport and there is also a LIGHT RAIL SERVICE from the airport to the city. If you’re renting a car, it’s about 20 minutes to downtown in good traffic. Good traffic is relative and a bit unpredictable. AS THE CROW FLIES, IT’S 15 MILES TO THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN. The city of Sea-Tac doesn’t have much to offer in terms of esthetic or entertainment. It’s a transportation hub. Seattle is great and so is the fair city of Tacoma, to the south.

2. I plan on driving: what is the ferry all about?
You board the ferry in Anacortes, WHICH IS ABOUT 95 MILES FROM THE AIRPORT. It will take at about two hours to drive there from Seattle in good traffic. Please don’t count on good traffic. You need to know a few things about the ferry crossing: it will take about an hour once you’re on it, it will be incredibly beautiful, you may see killer whales, and you need to arrive 60-90 minutes prior to the scheduled crossing if you have not made a reservation. If you miss the ferry, you’ll be in line for the next one and it might be awhile. Ferry tolls depend on the number of people in the car. You pay them going into the island but not leaving. HERE IS A LINK TO ALL THINGS FERRY-RELATED, INCLUDING PRICING, SCHEDULE AND HOW TO MAKE A RESERVATION. 

Once you land on Orcas Island, it’s about another hour to the resort, driving across some of the most beautiful country on the planet…

3. I plan on taking a charter plane. What can you tell me?
WESTWIND is a dear friend of Write workshops. Check them out. KENMORE AIR offers daily scheduled flights from Boeing Field to Eastsound on Orcas Island. Once you arrive at Eastsound, taxis are available to take you to Doe Bay. Complimentary Shuttle Service is provided for transfers between Sea-Tac Airport and Boeing Field. Advance reservations are required. Call 800-543-9595. When you add up hotels and car rentals and the ferry toll, you may find this a better option.

4. I want to carpool, I want to share the cost of my car rental, etc…
Participation in a user-generated carpool list will be made available after you’re registered.

5. Accommodation at the Resort
If you are traveling to the workshop with a friend/partner, let us know about your sleeping arrangement preferences. Accommodation is largely dorm-style in the RETREAT HOUSEHARBOR HOUSE and other larger cabins at the resort. You’ll have your own bed (unless you’re sharing with someone by request) but might be sleeping in a large, open sleeping area without doors. Bathrooms are shared. The descriptions on the website are pretty accurate. It isn’t roughing it and it isn’t maximum luxury. Imagine a big vacation house: it’s homey and comfortable but you’ll probably have less personal space than you’re used to. It’s okay. It will be fun.

Quiet hours are from 10:00 p.m. – 7 a.m. There are plenty of places to socialize after hours at the resort, but for the comfort of all participants, we ask that quiet hours be observed by all. Smoking is not allowed in any of the cabins or common areas or within 50 feet of any entrance.

Should you require you own lodging, please inquire about reserving your private accommodation for an additional fee. This option is most often used for nursing mothers who are bringing their infants, children or families to the retreat and who require a more flexible, quiet space. All programming, aside from the informal Open Mic on Thursday night, is designed for ages 21+. Write does not discount the cost of participation if you book private accommodation.

6. What’s the weather like?
Expect wind, rain and sun. Bring sturdy shoes and err on the side of needing warmth and rain protection. Layers are excellent.

7. What else?
Write alumni shared the following to remember: board or card games if you like that sort of thing, reading material, a robe, artsy stuff you might want to share at the open mic, your camera, ear plugs, shoes that can get wet, shoes that are easy on/off (cabins are shoe-free) and your swimsuit. We will provide all materials you need for the workshop like paper and pens. We’re not going to make you leave your laptop at home, but at least consider it. There is wifi but it’s not perfect. Likewise, cell service is okay but not always predictable. Please remember that gratuity to housekeeping and the wait staff at our cafe dinner are not included in your workshop fee.

8. Uh, something has come up and I can’t come.
Gah! We’d be so sad to not have you. Our cancellation policy is HERE.

Note that circumstances beyond the control of the conference organizers may necessitate substitutions, alterations or cancellations of the speakers and/or topics. Therefore, Write: Doe Bay reserves the right to alter or modify the advertised speakers and/or topics if necessary. Any substitutions or alterations will be updated on the conference web site as soon as possible.






Claire Bidwell Smith, Author, Los Angeles
"Write Doe Bay is one of the most intimate creative experiences I've ever had. The magical setting combined with the emotional and intellectual generosity of the presenters lends itself to an atmosphere of intense vulnerability. Attendees can expect to open themselves up, break themselves down, and bask in the glory of what it means to be a creative individual."

Erin Austin, Musician, Seattle

"Write Doe Bay is not anything you’d expect in a writer’s retreat and what you walk away with is something unique that will influence your direction once you’ve experience it."

Matt Logelin, Author, Los Angeles
I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived at Write Doe Bay. I have written, and I continue to write, but I don’t like to think of myself as a writer.

I’d never before attended any sort of writer’s retreat/workshop, and I’d long ago decided they weren’t for me because I assumed they’d be filled with pretentious assholes who felt their words should be privileged over all others. The prospect of attending and presenting at a workshop geared toward writers was something that sounded as appealing to me as soaking in rubbing alcohol after having been administered thousands of paper cuts.

I’ve never been so wrong about something in all of my life.

What I found at Write Doe Bay was a bunch of storytellers, all of them as genuinely humble and wonderful as anyone I’ve ever come across. Few of us had anything other than our storytelling in common, but that weekend created a bond for many of us that will last forever.

And you know what?

I saw lives changed that weekend.

And at least one life saved.

(Maybe more.)

I know I’m forever changed by that weekend.

And thanks to the people I met at Doe Bay, I’m actually okay with being considered a writer.

Ashley English, Author, North Carolina The experience of everyone gathered on the floor, or on comfy couches, in socks, without shoes, really epitomized the ease and comfort of the workshop for me. It also leveled the playing field. We all were vulnerable, in our relaxed positions and garments. That kind of environment invites honesty and sincerity and a willingness to be forthcoming, and that's exactly what happened at Write. I felt a bit exposed, and that made me feel like I could really be candid, and take risks with my writing and my teaching. 

Christie Martin Zuverink, Writer, California I will be forever grateful for the new friendships I have made.  One of the many things I came away with from my time on the island was that we all have our stories, we all have our tragedies, no one is exempt and if they tell you any different, they are not being truthful. It is in our brokenness that we come together, that we can form a bond in which the breaks are actually strengthened by our connectedness. I truly believe this. As I look around at the world swirling around me, as I look into the faces of people I know and those I don't, I try to remember our connection, our humanness. There is no judgement, only love.

Emily Parker, Songwriter/Melody Maker, Ohio
I've moved forward.  Write: Doe Bay unlocked me.  Through the weekend's creative process of introspection, I not only found a willing audience but the powerful realization that I have the possibility to move forward.  Although my creative steps are slow, they are powerful, and having a diverse community of writers behind me is comforting.  Opening myself and letting others peek in is terrifying and necessary.

Janya Veranth, Writer, Oregon
What I feared? It saved me.

Alicia Lawver, Writer, Washington
Sometimes the best destinations are the ones we never intended to find.  We set life plans and goals, try to plot out story lines and characters, and desperately schedule creatively.  But, magic cannot be dictated.

Write: Doe Bay empowered me to question my storytelling status quo, gave me a space for taking creative risks, and defied all my good intentions.

Planning to try Write: Doe Bay? Leave your expectations behind. Be. Go.

Joy A Sters, Writer, California
Being a part of Write: Doe Bay was the beginning of stepping out of my comfort zone.  Things were said and shared that had normally been kept to myself, yet there was a willingness to allow the space to reveal things that are not always readily accepted in the world.  I came with something to share and went away with more than I could have ever imagined.

Doe Bay is a magical place that allows mysteries to remain mysteries and stories to be told.  Great care was made by those that put the workshop together to make sure that everyone was taken care of, fed, nurtured and even, at times, held.  This trickled down to the smallest details like handmade gifts for the closing ritual.

There was music and dance, writing and reading, poetry and art.  There were visits to the hot tub/spa, jumps into the bay, walks in the woods and bonds that surpass understanding.  I left connected by a key to release my story and time will reveal what this key holds.  Moments like these are once in a lifetime and there is deep gratitude here in being a part of it.  Deepest thanks to all involved.

Dan DeShon, Writer, Washington
Write: Doe Bay is an inspiring retreat; it is amazing people and a dynamic experience.

The weekend was full of so many powerful experiences: new ways to look at art, writing, music, photography and more.  What an amazing group of talented people! The setting is otherworldly, as if I was removed from society entirely.  The retreat was an awakening to the idea that I have a story to tell and it needs to be told.  I am rejuvenated and excited about creating some new things of my own.


in their own words

Writers and artists from all around the country spent time and space with us in 2014. All of us agree: we are changed; our hearts have swelled. We are better people for having listened, having shared. We are home, unpacking stories and bags and settling back into what we left before we uprooted all the stories waiting to be told. We are better people for having listened.

It’s really some kind of magic to read the narratives of our newest friends.  There’s such power in ingesting the words about an experience crafted and spread out entirely for the journey of an artist.

Here is an evolving list of beautiful posts from participants who came to Write Spring, April 10-13, 2014:

WRITE: DOE BAY by Casey Sjogren

DANIEL BLUE by Kelle Hampton










Here is an evolving list of beautiful posts from participants who came to Write Fall, October 09-12, 2014:

SHE WROTE: DOE BAY by Jessa Fowler


WRITE DOE BAY 1 and WRITE DOE BAY 2 by Corinne Shark


WRITE by Jen Hodder