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Retreats FAQ

What happens at an online retreat?

We start the day with a brief webinar where we’ll outline the plan for the day and get you to set your writing targets. You then pop off to do some writing, and check in at set times on our community forums, and use our gang of awesome writers to help keep you motivated and accountable. Then at the end of the day check in again for a debrief, gold stars, and rounds of applause for all your hard work.

A weekend retreat schedule looks something like this:

10am: intro webinar accessed via your dashboard or this page and goal setting with Sarah, Jo and/or one of our excellent and very lovely retreat reps (approx 20 mins)

12noon: First check in on our community forum

2pm:  Second check in on our community forum

4pm: debrief webinar, final check and gold stars (approx 20 mins)


A midweek mini retreat looks like this:

9am: intro webinar

10am: First check in

11.30am: Second check in

1pm: Debrief webinar

How do I join?

  1. Register for your chosen date using this link: 
  2. Click on the Zoom link at the right time on your chosen date and join the webinar.
  3. Write in sprints throughout the day, edging ever closer towards your goal, and check in at the given times
  4. Join us for the debrief at 1pm on mini retreats or 4pm on weekend retreats
  5. Sit back and bask in the warm glow of a day well written


Who can join?


Yes. Anyone. You might be a published author or someone with the first whisperings of a short story idea, or simply the desire to write. Our courses and events are designed to be accessible to as many people as possible – if you have advice on how we can improve, please do get in touch via – and if finances are a barrier to becoming a member, take a look at our bursary scheme because your stories deserve to be told too: 

All welcome. Come write!

Is it really free?

Yes, it’s free. Really free. Cos your stories matter, and in spite of what the world is doing this year we still want to help you tell them. In fact, it’s probably more important than ever to tell your stories. So. Come write.

(But if you’re able and would like to support a very smol business full of smol people you can donate to our cause via the WHQ Writing Bursary which sponsors low-income writers to access our courses and retreats and is a great way to pay it forward.)

Do I have to be writing fiction?

Nope. You can write anything you like. WHQers are novelists, short story writers, playwrights, essayists, academics, marketing bods, copywriters, bloggers, students and anyone who puts words on a page and also spends way too long looking at Twitter when they should be writing.

When are your real-life retreats happening again?

They’re BACK BÉBÉ!

Our retreats are returning, starting with dates in Edinburgh, Brighton and Birmingham. We’ll be announcing new locations as we go, so keep an eye on our newsletter and social media. 

Transferring retreat dates

If you bought a retreat ticket in the before times, you can use it to book a ticket on a real life retreat. Email and we’ll sort it for you. 

If you’ve booked a ticket and want to change it, retreat dates can be transferred without charge up to 4 DAYS before the date of the retreat. So if your event is on Saturday, the preceding Monday is your last chance to transfer the date without charge. If your retreat is on Sunday, the preceding Tuesday is your last chance to transfer.

If you need to transfer your date during the 4 days leading up to the workshop, there will be a ÂŁ10 surcharge.

If you book a retreat and do not attend, unfortunately there is no option for refund or date transfer.

To transfer your date, please email with the subject TRANSFER RETREAT DATE.

Cancelling retreat dates

If you need to cancel a single IRL retreat booking please do it 7 DAYS before the date of the retreat in order to get a full refund. So if your event is on Saturday, the preceding Saturday is your last chance to get a full refund. If your retreat is on Sunday, the preceding Sunday is your last chance to contact us for a refund.

Cancellations made after this cannot be refunded. Sorry.

To cancel your retreat, please email with the subject RETREAT CANCELLATION.

p.s obvs this doesn’t apply if you’re looking for a refund for your pre-coronavirus retreat booking. Contact us and we’ll help!

Is there any teaching on the retreats?

There is no taught element during the retreats. REPEAT: THERE IS NO TAUGHT ELEMENT DURING THE WRITING RETREATS.

Writers’ HQ writing retreats are about having the time and space to sit and write. That’s it. No distractions, no excuses, just writing.

We do run courses though so if you’re looking for teaching have a look at our online courses.

There is, of course, always plenty of writerly chat during the day and you are more than welcome to ask the retreat leader questions, which depending on their experience they may or may not be able to answer.

Wait, you just write? Couldn’t I do that at home?

You could, but do you?

Besides, not everyone has the luxury of being able to write at home. People with long working hours, crazy families, or a million other distractions find that writing at home just doesn’t work for them. For many, time and space to write is hard to find. We want to make it a little bit more accessible.

Will you feed me?

Writers’ HQ is peopled by a bunch of people who get a cold sweat on at the possibility of under catering. You will be fed, and then some. Pastries in the morning, sandwiches and salads and dips and crisps and many yummy things for lunch, cake and biscuits in the afternoon and all the tea and coffee you can mainline. No one leaves a WHQ retreat hungry.

When you book, you’ll be asked if you have any dietary requirements so just let us know your vegan-free gluten-full sugar-loving needs.

What’s your covid policy?

We have implemented the following measures to ensure the safety of all attendees and staff.

Venue capacity restrictions

Our event is being hosted at a venue with sufficient capacity to accommodate all attendees. At our venues, we will make sure rooms are properly ventilated and limit attendee numbers to ensure everyone has plenty of space. Where possible, attendees wishing to socially distance will be accommodated. 

COVID-19 cleaning and sanitising

Our event venue is regularly deep-cleaned in accordance with UK safety requirements. There will be hand-sanitising stations available to all guests and staff.

Contact tracing

We will collect patron information from all attendees and staff for contact tracing in case we need to follow up. We will collect your name and contact information (email and phone number) before you can enter the event venue. We will collect this information during the ticket purchase process via our online booking system.

Your information is stored securely and is not accessed or shared with any third party, except where public health authorities may request it.

If you are feeling unwell or have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19

Please do not attend the retreat if you are feeling unwell, experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or someone you’ve been in close contact with has COVID-19. We can transfer your ticket to another date – please email to let us know you can’t attend and to arrange a transfer. If you’re feeling up to it, you’re welcome to join us at one of our online retreats!


Masks are optional at our events – you are welcome to wear one.


While we’re doing our best to ensure everybody’s safety, we can’t be held responsible if you catch COVID-19 at one of our events.