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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?

Wahhh it’s been so long!


We don’t know yet when we’ll be able to safely run these again, but as soon as it’s possible we’ll be reopening cos we miss them as much as you do. Rest assured we’ll be shouting about it on social meeds.

Transferring retreat dates

If you bought a retreat ticket in the before times, it’ll still be valid once real-life retreats are back! If you’d like a refund, email and we’ll sort it for you. 


For when IRL retreats resume: 
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 £10 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.

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.

Can I transfer or cancel my booking?

We know unforeseen things happen unforeseenly – you discover your husband has a mad woman living in the attic, you accidentally slash and burn the oil painting that was keeping you young and sexy etc and so on – so we’re as flexible as we can be when it comes to transferring and cancelling your retreat but also we can’t have you coming and going and treating this place like a hotel. There would be chaos. CHAOS I TELLS YOU.