Words In Hills will be hosted at Camp Oty’ Okwa on May 10-12, 2024 in the beautiful Hocking Hills in Southeast Ohio. This 3-day writing retreat for adults welcomes creative writers of all genres and experience levels. Poets, novelists, songwriters, essayists, and anyone who enjoys the art of writing are invited to join in this supportive environment. You will leave refreshed and inspired!
A place where you can explore and grow in different areas of your writing and creativity....
a place where you can receive support from peers...
a classroom of tall trees, quiet fields, and waterfalls...
a weekend that brings more joy to your hobby or career...
Camp Oty' Okwa offers community bunkhouse lodging in Sebring Lodge. The lodge is a bunkhouse style dorm with indoor restrooms and showers. They also offer on-site tent camping a short walk to the bathhouse.
If you choose to vehicle camp, commute from home, or find your own lodging, please let us know in your registration.
Meals are included and served buffet-style in the Dining Lodge.
We attempt to accommodate all individuals, however, due to the terrain, some activities might be challenging to those with physical limitations.
Please reach out to us with question.
The lodge is a community bunkhouse divided into four large rooms. Each room sleeps up to 10 people who share an attached restroom with showers. The building has electricity and heating. It has a two-level back porch overlooking a wooded hillside.
Bring your tent and camp in the field under the stars or under the trees in the shade. A bathhouse is available for tent and vehicle campers.
Start the morning with a short hike and write in the woods. Tap into your sense of wonder and your "beginner's mind" as you wake up for the day.
The enchanting sounds of Wood Thrushes in the Treetops.
Brilliant colors of Sunrise dancing across the sky.
The fragrance of freshly fallen autumn leaves.
Soft, downy moss brushing against skin.
The taste of warm, sweet Lemonbalm tea on the tongue...
Tapping into the ancient, powerful practices of mindfulness and meditation, tune deeply into the subtle sensations of the present moment, transcend time and space, and awaken your creativity in this gentle morning writing practice.
There is nothing quite like trying to catch your breath after laughing really hard and most of us don’t laugh nearly enough. In this writer’s workshop (story, song, poetry) we will focus on “moments of happiness,” capturing the energy of specific spaces, recalling experiences, taking a “walk” around the obstacles that often distract us or otherwise prevent us from tapping into the inner roots of “feel-good” writing. We will use our eyes, ears, fingers, and noses to “sense” our surroundings and “express” our thoughts as we examine spaces and memories that make/made us peaceful/playful/joyful. All levels of writing experience are welcome. Be prepared to create a masterpiece both visually and with your words! Those who are willing, we will share pieces and parts of what they have written at the end of the workshop.
William Faulkner is rumored to have said, “Kill your darlings”. A lot of people also think
that he never said that. Either way, the phrase has become common editorial wisdom. It’s a way of saying that writers must be strict enough with themselves to get rid of the parts of their work that they love most, but that just aren’t serving the piece. As a group of readers and writers, we will investigate whether this practice is the best strategy for revision after all. What damage is done to the work when we iron out “misfit” parts of our stories, the wild and mysterious places that are hard for us to explain, especially to a group of outside readers. Is that what revision really should do, or can we let those wild places lead us to the hearts of our stories? “Rewriting is
painful,” said James Baldwin. Can it also be clarifying and creative? The goal of this workshop is to help prose writers develop revision practices that truly make our stories more themselves, that allow us to write the stories only we can write.
A mark left on the skin or within body tissue where a wound, burn, or sore has not healed completely. All of us have scars on our bodies and in our hearts, tiny to notable. Writing about them can help us consider how to focus on events that have occurred in the past with tolerance, healing and perhaps even humor as we form new pathways to understanding. For those who are willing, we will share pieces and parts of what they have written at the end of the workshop. All levels of writing experience are welcome..
Writing a book-length work of fiction is, in the words of Matt Bell, a process of “refusing to be done.” Yara Zgheib writes, “Everything I ever wrote was true, even if it never happened.” Are you a fiction writer whose short stories are yet too long? An essayist who has a hard time narrowing your scope? A memoirist with a checkered relationship to factual autobiography? Why not embrace it? Why not try writing a novel? We will investigate several approaches to crafting a novel, discuss common fears and questions about tackling the genre, generate some helpful hints and practices from some of our favorite novelists, and hear from participants about their particular projects, whether they be novels-in-progress, could-be novels, or is-this-even-a-novel(s). The goal of this workshop is to demystify the novel writing process for novel-curious prose writers.
Sometimes a new perspective is right in front of us. In this workshop, participants will learn to engage in songwriting that brings life to the everyday objects that we may forget about or not even notice. Writing in this way can inform not only the words we choose and story we tell, but also lend unique ideas for the music itself. Feel free to bring an instrument if you'd like, though some will also be provided for those who choose to participate musically.
Luscious leaves. Fragrant flowers. Sumptuous fruits. Brawny roots.
Together, we’ll walk, crawl, and stoop among them; we’ll touch, smell, and taste to better know them; and ponder what nourishment, what wonders - and what words - they evoke.
When we step outside our own word banks, new possibilities may be found. Using photos, illustrations, and words/captions from magazines and books, participants will explore ways to recycle and integrate used materials into new ideas for songwriting. Materials will be provided by facilitator. Feel free to bring an instrument if you'd like, though some will also be provided for those who choose to participate musically.