Anyone who’s been to Misse knows well that ‘course’ and ‘retreat’ do not do justice to what actually happens at Circle of Misse. It’s a much more highly personalised, dynamic and holistic environment where the visiting writers and I constantly adapt all the tools and approaches available to us to respond to you and your work, enabling a truly creative and productive environment. That’s why 80 percent of you return year after year.
While we offered formal courses, in practice this has operated a lot more fluidly, because our writers tend to cross-pollenate. This has meant an ‘independent retreater’ here while we’re running a course would be invited to participate in a session about ‘dialogue’ with our visiting writer since we’d gleaned this would help them through a rough patch with their manuscript. It has also meant when Misse Alum, in particular, were in attendance, and we knew they’d be a wonderful addition to some of the course group sessions and also get a lot out of them, we offered them the option to join us for an hour some mornings. We’ve also offered ‘mentored retreats’ exclusively to alum so we could take advantage of all the resources here to help them move their work to the next level. This is what we do and why our writers grow and keep writing.
We thought: wouldn’t it be nice to formalise this reality to unshackle you from the artificial syntax of the creative writing world? We wanted to allow newcomers who may prioritise time to write over mentoring and learning time, to not have to make such a clear cut choice between a course and retreat before even getting here. Because sometimes you just don’t know what you’ll need until you’re writing.
Other times, you do know you want and need as much mentoring and tutoring as you can get. And most of the time you know this with some certainty.
But there needed to be something in the middle.
That’s why we’ve renamed our spring/summer/early autumn programme The Writer’s Atelier, a creative studio and mentored environment, where writers of varying styles and levels from all over the world come to work and learn in a fun and supportive atmosphere. It’s still the same Misse core offerings, but simplified to make it even more accessible and useful to everyone. And you can still come during the Atelier and just write with no support. Everything is optional. This approach also perfectly compliments The Writer’s Hotel, a truly independent retreat offering in the late autumn/winter and makes CofM truly year-round. Something many of you have been asking for.
Welcome to the Atelier!