About Clearwater Writers
Clearwater Writers is a retreat and workshop program facilitated by writer-in-residence Paula Coomer and hosted by Jim and Ruth May, innkeepers at Reflections Inn. Initiated in 2014, the program’s goal is to provide a place of quiet reflection and support for writers at all stages of their careers. The retreats are effectively off-grid as rooms have no televisions or phones. Cell phone service is scanty and we help writers help themselves by not providing the Internet password.
What we offer instead is a beautiful, federally-designated, wild and scenic river with dramatic, timbered canyon walls, a flock of wild turkeys, herds of deer, the occasional call of wolves or coyotes. Not to mention resident bald eagles, osprey, and Rico the cat, who will do his best to literally hug anyone who stands in one spot for very long.
The Inn sits on fifty wooded acres in the foothills of the Bitterroot Mountains and has been owned and operated by Jim and Ruth May since 1995. The location is remote but very accessible via the US Highway 12 Scenic Byway, Idaho’s portion of the Lewis and Clark Trail. The route connects Lewiston, Idaho, and Missoula, Montana, providing travelers some of the most scenic landscapes in the American West.
Amenities include 8 private, non-smoking suites (no smoking is allowed on the property) located in a separate guest building, which includes 2 fully-equipped kitchens and laundry facilities. Each suite includes a full bath, coffeemaker, and refrigerator, desk, sitting area, and all are beautifully decorated. Gathering areas, quiet sitting spots, a hiking trail, hot-tub, and BBQ grills are also a feature. Disability access is limited. Standing desk accommodations are available, however rudimentary they might be.
Information about the Inn’s history, travel instructions, maps, and site photographs, as well as testimony of previous participants is available at www.reflectionsinn.com. For more information about Clearwater Writers, go to www.paulamariecoomer.com.
Meals and Food Service
Attendees are encouraged to bring ingredients for preparing their own meals. The Inn is 13 miles from the nearest tiny mountain town and 20 miles over windy mountain roads to the next tiny mountain town. Over the course of time and experience gained, we have come to understand how much everyone being in the kitchen at once contributes to the deep connection people make during our programs, as well as the profound creative synergy that develops. With 2 well-equipped kitchens, there is plenty of space for everyone.
The situation presents interesting challenges for people travelling from out of state, so we have added a Food Service option, which translates to us filling the refrigerator, freezer, and cupboard with prepared foods and ingredients for quick meals. The Food Service option is $30 per day, and we can accommodate most—but not all—dietary issues.
The Inn absorbs most of the cost of hosting our programs, contributing as much as $4,000 per retreat in decreased or donated room rates. Our goal is to keep prices as low as possible so that deserving writers can afford to give themselves the gift of time, space, and support. Ms. Coomer’s fee is also quite nominal at $20-25 per day, and she is always willing to waive this if necessary. On occasion we are able to offer scholarships, and we actively seek donations from attendees who can afford to contribute. If you’d like to donate, contact Ms. Coomer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ALSO–I would love to create a custom workshop or retreat for your group!
Custom retreats and workshops can range from bare bones to a guided exploration of the intricacies of craft. You simply recruit 3 – 5 writing buddies to join you, then decide what you’d like to learn. All programs are conducted by Ms. Coomer. Read more about her here. This is a great program for both new and existing groups who are looking to push the boundaries of individual craft and group dynamics.
Contact Ms. Coomer directly at email@example.com or 509-295-8860 to schedule or for more information.
- Custom Writing Workshop
- Oct.- April only
- Instruction plus generative writing exercises and critique sessions
- 3-4 nights, depending on group preference
- 4-6 participants
- Rates based on number of participants and number of nights (email Paula at firstname.lastname@example.org about rates)
- Workshop options are limitless and based on group preference
- Fiction writing—craft and study—all levels
- Short story writing—craft and study—all levels
- Novel writing—craft and study—all levels
- Personal nonfiction—craft and study—all levels
- 21st century poetry—craft and study—all levels
- Memoir/life story writing—craft and study—all levels
- Custom Facilitated Retreats
- Participants manage their own time; writer-in-residence open consult times daily plus consultation by appointment. Read more about retreats here.
- Sept.- May only
- 3-5 nights
- Groups of 5-6 preferable (this means the person booking the retreat is responsible for recruiting attendees or must understand if fewer than 4 people the Inn may take other guests)
- Rates based on # of participants (email Paula at email@example.com about rates)
- Manuscript Consults (individual manuscript mentoring) (Sept.-May only)
- You—just you—come and work with Ms. Coomer one-on-one to take that book project to its next level. This program has had profound impacts on the progress toward completion of book projects for our clients who have chosen this option.
- 4 nights
- Inquire about rates (firstname.lastname@example.org)