Kind Words

Written Testimonials

Tuscany, 2024

Don't hesitate to work with Kathryn if you have a story you want to tell or even think you do. You arrive at a beautiful villa in the heart of Tuscany; the pace is slow, and you relax. You start to feel your nervous system recalibrate; before you know it, you are in the creative flow. Kathryn is a very skilled writing coach and brings years of experience to her retreats. She met each of us wherever we were in our process and was adept at moving each of us forward in our writing. Kathryn is compassionate, understanding, and has a great sense of humor; it's no wonder she gathered such a wonderful group of women together. You will work hard and write a lot, but the retreat is well-paced, with downtime, wonderful excursions, and glorious meals. This retreat is one of the best gifts you could give yourself.
Sheila James, Claremont, CA
My intention in coming to this writing retreat in Tuscany was to have a productive week, deepen my craft, and build my writing stamina. And that's precisely what I did. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to write as openly as I wanted to, and I had reservations about sharing my writing with a group of unknown women, but Kathryn created a very safe space, and our group bonded quickly and easily. Thank you so much, Kathryn, for a refreshing and memorable week!
Aisha P., Palo Alto, CA
I arrived at this retreat afraid that I wouldn't be able to write anything of value. Kathryn has a way of challenging our fears in the loveliest way, and I was soon able to fall in love with my writing.Kathryn's exercises invited me to go places with my work that I have never been to but now want to revisit over and over again. I'm so grateful for this time with a wonderful group of women writers in this glorious setting in Tuscany.
Robin Steege, Claremont, CA
My biggest fear in coming to this retreat was feeling like a fraud and finding out I wasn't a writer. However, I quickly found out that I wasn't alone in my reservations. As everyone shared their hopes, fears, and struggles, my reservations receded, and my writing began to flow. With Kathryn’s kind and compassionate guidance, I found it easy to be brave and possibly even bold. This experience has given me the confidence to call myself a writer and know I can write my story.
Rachelle Kenny, Boulder Creek, CA
I am leaving Kathryn's Tuscany retreat this week with a clear direction, commitment to my project, and new-found confidence. I thought I knew what I needed stepping into this experience, but this highly curated workshop opened my eyes, heart, and mind to even greater possibilities.
Kenna Bynum, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Coming into this retreat, I felt intimidated about sharing my writing with a group of women writers I'd never met. But with Kathryn's guidance, I was able to open up to the process, and my words began to flow. I soon felt safe enough to share my work. Kathryn planned this week with such care and attention to detail, from the writing exercises to the pacing, excursions, and meals, that I wholeheartedly recommend this retreat to anyone wanting to explore and expand their writing life. I can now say with confidence- I am a writer!
Neha Patel, Monmouth Junction, NJ
If you’re looking for an opportunity to explore your writing in a small supportive group with insightful coaching, then this is the retreat for you. The workshop is thoughtfully structured with inspiring writing prompts that keep the creative process building over the course of the week. You will leave with a plan for your writing practice, and a list of achievable goals, as well as a toolbox filled to the brim with fresh ideas, craft advice and tips. Kathryn has thought of everything, so all you need to do is relax in the beautiful surroundings and write.
Tracy Creelman, Toronto, Canada
If you are considering booking this retreat – just do it. Every aspect of this retreat was impeccably planned, from the peaceful villa set among the olive grove to the healthy, delicious, abundant meals and the daily writing workshops. Kathryn's thoughtful guidance ensures you will spend a week nourishing your soul as you develop your writing skills. I'm so grateful I gave myself this gift and left with a renewed sense of purpose and a group of new friends.
Jenny Raj, San Francisco, CA
Whatever you might be writing, Kathryn's Retreat in Tuscany is the place to go for inspiration and encouragement in your writing life. This week, exploring my thoughts and reflecting on my life reconnected me to the joy of writing and creating a story on the page. I leave this retreat knowing that if I make the time to write, I will know exactly how to write my story.
Thurlene Collins, Redondo Beach, CA
I love the way Kathryn's writing prompts work to unlock the imagination. I was worried I'd feel stumped or stuck, but that wasn't the case at all. Many of us in the group were working on different types of writing and were at varying points in our writing life, but it was clear that the prompts and process were very productive for everyone. The group support and feeling of “sisterhood" was terrific, and even though I'm an introvert, I never felt overwhelmed.
Carolyn Coulson, Winchester, VA
My biggest challenge in coming to this retreat was thinking I would not be a good enough writer to hold my own, but the generous feedback I received filled me with confidence. I had not realized how commuting with other writers would be so valuable for both my writing and my soul. This retreat went beyond my expectations in every way.
Wendy Gedney, Villeneuve Minervois, France
By committing to this retreat, I challenged my two biggest fears: could I travel alone and would my writing be good enough. In both cases, I found renewed confidence. My trip went smoothly, and the feedback from Kathryn and my fellow writers was affirming and uplifting. What better place to tap into the creative flow than a beautiful villa in the Tuscan countryside, where I didn't have to think about anything but writing? If you are even considering a writing retreat, this is the one! I found my "writer within," and so will you.
Pauline Hawkins, Portsmouth, NH
There were both fiction and nonfiction/memoir writers at this retreat in Tuscany, but we meshed shamelessly, and all of Kathryn's writing prompts and exercises worked well for everyone. One of the most important takeaways for me was the realization that each of us has a unique voice, and I now know how to honor mine. This writing retreat went well beyond what I had imagined, and I left with a much-needed refresh and a great jumpstart on my project. Meeting this amazing group of women who were so supportive of each other might have been the best part of all.
Carolyn Smith, Torrence, CA

Martha’s Vineyard, 2023

I cannot speak highly enough about this retreat with Kathryn; she was the perfect guide in every way. Her writing exercises were inspiring and fun, not intimidating at all. The pacing of the workshop sessions, and the week in general, was well thought out and relaxing. I could not have asked for a more thoughtful, inspiring, and supportive guide to take me to the next level with my novel.
Carrie Calderone, Orland Park, IL
I’m shy about meeting new people, but any reservations I had vanished in the first few minutes of our welcome session. Kathryn creates a very safe space in which to explore and share one’s creative process. She put together a fantastic group of women writers who were mutually supportive and generous. This is the second retreat of Kathryn’s that I’ve attended, and it was as uplifting as the first. Don’t delay. Sign up now for her next retreat!
Valentine Estabrook, West Tisbury, MA
My biggest fear in coming to this retreat was having to sit down and write “in the moment.” But Kathryn’s writing prompts are so inventive and inspiring that she had us all writing before we had time to think about it. I was able to refine my descriptions and develop my characters beyond what I thought I was capable of. The most important takeaway for me is that I now know I can write the family history I have in mind, and do it justice.
Trish Bridier, Nantucket, MA
I came to this writing retreat with an idea but didn’t know how to start. Clearly, I came to the right place! I’m leaving with clear, attainable goals for my project and a blueprint for a writing practice that will help me meet those goals. Kathryn creates a positive and safe environment that encourages exploration and experimentation. She is both personable and professional, and her caring attention to the logistical details of the retreat made each day a pleasure. Thank you.
Michele Hempel, Carol Stream, IL
Attending this writing retreat was one of the best things I’ve done for my writing life. I see tangible improvements in my writing after an intensive week of writing, sharing, and gathering “tools,” all of which added dimension and emotion to the words on my page. Kathryn structured an incredible week of lessons that stretched and pushed me out of my usual process. And I had fun! Many thanks!
Claire Guadagno, Naples, FL
Kathryn’s writing prompts were like doors I’d never noticed before. Each one opened easily to reveal characters and settings that were familiar yet full of surprises. It was a fascinating experience that left me inspired and confident.
Polly Cheney, Charlevoix, MI
Just do it! This was my second writing retreat with Kathryn, and it was as well run, fun, and inspiring as the one in Tuscany. The like-minded and supportive women writers were wonderful, and Martha’s Vineyard is gorgeous. I leave knowing that I have to keep writing!
Victoria Pombeiro, Cornwall, UK
This was my first writing retreat, and the prospect of sharing my writing with nine strangers was daunting. However, by the time we all went to dinner together following the welcome session, I knew I was in safe hands. Kathryn has crafted a fantastic experience, from the workshop sessions to the excursions, the food, and the accommodations. I’m so glad I didn’t hesitate, and I urge you not to hesitate either. Wherever Kathryn is holding a retreat—do it!
Diane Atkins, Bluffton, SC
Put your fears aside and sign up with joyful anticipation! I am leaving this writing retreat inspired and confident about my writing project. The retreat is well organized, and Kathryn is kind, supportive, and generous with her time. I’ve been in the hospitality business all my life, and I must say that Kathryn’s excursions and restaurant choices were top-notch.
Jane Silva, Nantucket, MA

Tuscany, 2023

From the moment I said “yes” to Kathryn‘s retreat in Tuscany, I knew I was in good hands. Her communication was clear and easy to follow. Kathryn runs a very positive retreat, where I felt safe exploring my project and trying new writing styles. It was liberating, and I felt nourished in every way. The food was fantastic, and there was plenty of time to relax and write independently. The excursions were well-planned and very interesting. I recommend this fantastic Tuscan retreat!
Elizabeth Friedman, Los Angeles, CA
After deciding to attend Kathryn‘s retreat in Tuscany, I read her novel The Gilder and realized her style would suit me perfectly. The craft elements we discussed were easily applicable and perfect for a group of mixed-level experience. Meeting the family that owns the villa was an unexpected delight, and it was clear they were there to help with any issue or emergency. I knew I was in good hands all around.
Jayne Cronin, Conroe, TX
I came to this workshop for inspiration, and it didn’t disappoint. Kathryn is a gifted facilitator, and her teaching strategies and techniques were second to none. The food, excursions, and setting were a cut above anything I’ve ever experienced. I returned home reinvigorated and ready to continue my writing practice with renewed energy. I truly found my “Writer Within.”
Linda Young, Portland, OR
I might have arrived feeling uncertain about myself as a writer, but I left feeling confident and ready to take the next step in my writing journey. The beautiful memories are forever embedded in my heart.
Kristin Leesment, Brevard, NC
Without exception, every writer at this retreat was kind and inspirational. Clearly, Kathryn takes great care in putting together a group of women with similar goals and enthusiasm. I left Tuscany secure in the knowledge that my writing had reached a new level and with several new (talented) friends. Altogether, it was a magical experience.
Karen Levine, New York, NY
Kathryn gently nudges you to expand your horizons and explore fresh perspectives and ideas. With her knowledge and experience, she was able to elicit the very best writing each of us had to offer. Truly magical!
Leslie Jones, San Luis Obispo, CA
Kathryn hears and sees the “writer within” and creates a safe and nursing space for that writer to emerge. The writing exercises were terrific, and she wasn’t kidding when she said we’d write a lot! I am definitely a stronger writer for having attended this retreat.
Amy Stone, Southbury, CT
Kathryn has meticulously crafted an experience that offers a safe space to rest and refresh … observe and create … be heard … develop new skills … reflect … imagine new possibilities. Her passion for both her craft and women writers truly motivated me to engage deeply and do the work necessary to grow.
Angel Slaughter, Huston, TX
I was apprehensive about writing and sharing my work for an entire week with strangers. But in our very first session, my fears were put to rest, allowing me to loosen up and go wherever the prompts and exercises took me. A truly fantastic experience!
Marie Kingsbury, Milwaukee, WI
Kathryn is a fantastic instructor, motivating and inspiring. She has created an exceptional experience in a special place. If you want to see your writing come alive, do it with Kathryn in a retreat, a workshop, or private coaching. You’ll be glad you did.
Leslie D., Miami, FL

Tuscany, 2022

This week in Tuscany with Kathryn was truly transformative for me. Being away from home was a gift that allowed me to focus solely on myself and my writing. Kathryn created a seamless balance of work, relaxation, and exploration. The food was excellent, the villa was lovely, and my fellow writers were exceptional. So if you are looking for a transformative experience, don’t look any further.
Jennifer Eckert, Boston, MA
I had been stuck in my writing at home and feared I’d go all the way to Tuscany and be stuck there as well, but Kathryn’s very first writing prompt turned on my creative flow, and I never looked back. Kathryn’s gentle but powerful observations opened my eyes and guided me as I developed my characters and explored plot points. Not only does the villa lend itself to the creative process, but the women who gathered there were, without exception, kind, generous, and supportive. I didn’t want to leave.
Ellyn Wolfe, Hemet, CA
As a lapsed and somewhat reluctant writer, I felt immediately encouraged and supported in the nurturing environment Kathryn created. The writing sessions were meticulously planned, inspiring, and fun. The simple guidelines around constructive feedback created a safe space to explore one’s creative process. I strongly encourage anyone seeking a writing retreat to join Kathryn in Tuscany or anywhere she might be teaching.
Margaret Jones, New York, NY
One of my concerns coming into this retreat was that I wouldn’t be able to disengage from my left-brained business mind and engage with my right-brained creative mind. But the workshop Kathryn has designed made the transition easy. As a result, this week in Tuscany was not only an evolution of my writing skills but of self-understanding. Sharing my work, reflecting on the work of others, and receiving constructive feedback all contributed to a deeper understanding of my creative process.
Marlene Biseda, Pasadena, CA
If you are considering attending a writing retreat, don’t hesitate, this is the one! My writing improved by leaps and bounds in six short days. Getting away from the distractions at home was immensely helpful in engaging with and maintaining the creative flow. All I had to do was show up and write!
Ann Thomas, Coeur D Alene, ID
We all have stories, and what better place to tell them than in Tuscany? I was amazed at the stories, both mine and those of my fellow writers, that sprang to life under Kathryn’s focused and gentle guidance. My fears about being out of my league amongst more experienced writers vanished in the first session, and my week of writing exceeded my expectations.
Melanie Neilson, Rancho Cucamonga, CA
After much procrastination, I said “Yes” to this writing retreat in Tuscany, and I’m so glad I did. Kathryn creates just the right balance of writing, relaxing, and exploring. She facilitated excellent writing sessions with meaningful discussions and feedback and brought together a diverse group of women who supported and encouraged each other without reservation. Say “YES,” and you won’t regret it!
Erica Green, Fairfield, CT
The writing sessions at this retreat exceeded my expectations. We did an incredible amount of writing every day, and the small group size made it a very safe place to share my work. If you want to treat yourself to a great writing retreat in gorgeous surroundings, this is the one!
Kristin Elliott, Morristown, NJ
I was apprehensive about the writing aspect of this retreat, fearing I wouldn’t be good enough, and I wish I hadn’t wasted a minute feeling nervous. Kathryn’s pace and instruction were perfect; she got us into the creative flow, and our writing poured onto the page. Both my confidence and my writing improved.
Theresa Bittner, Albany, CA
I struggle terribly with a severe inner critic and constantly compare myself to other writers. Attending Kathryn’s retreat in Tuscany helped me face these challenges. With Kathryn’s supportive feedback and helpful suggestions, I was able to stretch and grow into a more confident place with my writing. If you are considering this retreat, but a voice is trying to talk you out of it, don’t listen; just go to Tuscany. Spend time in a beautiful villa in the company of like-hearted women, and watch your writing flourish.
Jan Desmarais-Morses, Bremen, IN
Kathryn is a wonderful facilitator and led our group in a highly professional yet personal manner. The group discussions were open, kind, and encouraging, and the writing exercises definitely helped advance my writing skills. The stunning location, superb food and wine, engaging excursions, and a great group of women made this the adventure of a lifetime. Grazie Mille!
Tracy deNys, Auckland, NZ
This retreat in Tuscany was a treat in so many ways. Kathryn led us into our writing with skill, sensitivity, and encouragement, making everyone in the group feel inspired and supported. This was an experience I will cherish forever.
Judy Hampson, Little Falls, NJ
I highly recommend attending Kathryn’s writing retreat in Tuscany. It eases you gently outside your comfort zone, where you can take your writing to the next level. This retreat is a must, regardless of where you might be on your writing journey!
Tanis Roeder, Fort Collins, CO
This week in Tuscany gave me a much-needed opportunity to grow as a writer. Kathryn’s excellent curriculum and innovative exercises helped me achieve my goals and gave my ‘writer within’ an inspiring boost.
Donna Klingle, Parkland, FL
Everything about Kathryn’s retreat was a feast for the senses, from the beautiful surroundings to the incredible food. With Kathryn’s creative approach and inspired exercises, I was able to develop my project and improve my writing. It was wonderful to spend time with such a lovely and supportive group of women.
Victoria Pombiero, Cornwall, UK
I’m so glad I put my fears and self-doubt aside and said YES! Kathryn leads a structured but relaxed retreat and projects an aura of calm control throughout the week. I felt completely safe in her hands, both as a writer and guest. I come away from this week knowing that I have found my “writer within.”
Cynthia McKnight, Jacksonville, FL
I was a little nervous coming to the retreat, I hadn’t written in a while, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep up in the workshop. I needn’t have worried; Kathryn eased us into the writing and made sharing our work easy and comfortable. By the end of the week, I reached a deep understanding of my work and leave feeling inspired and excited to get home and keep writing.
Nicole Ross, Morgantown, WV

Tuscany, 2019

I said “yes” to the dream of a writing retreat, and what better guide than Kathryn Kay to make that dream become a reality? As a workshop leader, Kathryn is gracious, grounded, and focused. This was truly an all-encompassing experience of exploring myself and my writing.
Marisa Brown. San Jose, CA
As characters and themes emerged over the course of the week, I became increasingly curious and eager to give voice to my inspirations. Thank you, Kathryn, for creating this incredible opportunity to explore and give meaningful expression to what had been tucked in the recesses of my mind. I now have the tools to bring my stories to life.
Sherry Jones. Phoenix, AZ
Kathryn begins with the idea that we all have a writer within and is masterful at empowering us to silence our internal critics and give that writer a voice. I discovered energy for writing that I have never experienced before.
Christine Torres. Los Angeles, CA
This retreat was exactly what I needed. I was stuck in my writing but didn’t know it. Kathryn’s exercises and guidance, along with the support of my fellow writers, enabled me to open a door to another project, one which has me feeling excited and joyful. Thank you.
Tracy Good. College Grove, TN
I arrived at this retreat not knowing what to expect and found a kind, generous facilitator who gently guided me to stretch my limits and tap into the creative process in a new way. Somehow, Kathryn seemed to know exactly what I needed each step of the way. I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to come to Tuscany and work with Kathryn.
Zaineb Sajid. Casablanca, Morocco
I came to this retreat with a clear agenda: see a bit of Italy and fix the novel I was working on. Daily life in a beautiful villa and delightful excursions around Tuscany more than fulfilled the first item on my list. Kathryn’s creative approach and attention to the craft of writing have replenished my toolbox in a way that will take me far beyond fixing my current project. Thank you.
This workshop more than exceeded my expectations. Kathryn has designed a well-organized retreat that is both instructional and entertaining. A master of teaching the craft, she breaks it down into digestible pieces and then ignites our imagination. I am well on my way and feel confident about completing my manuscript.
Wendy Matthews. San Diego, CA
I hoped to begin a new chapter in my writing life, and I have. Surrounded by like-minded women who generously share their stories, I feel supported and guided by Kathryn’s artful management. I am off in a new direction and filled with anticipation.
Nancy Morgan. Leesburg, VA
Any fears I had in anticipation of joining this retreat in Tuscany were immediately assuaged by the warm welcome I received from this amazing group of women. Kathryn’s leadership created a sense of safety that supported us throughout the week. I highly recommend this retreat for the fun and innovative writing instruction, superb accommodations, and the perfect balance of work and relaxation.
Allison Parke. Hudson NY
If you are looking for a serene setting to explore your creativity and writing process, this is the retreat for you. It is the perfect blend of writing instruction, free time, and excursions to the Tuscan countryside. Kathryn is an excellent facilitator, and the villa will inspire your writing.
This retreat has been unbelievably helpful in finding the writer within myself… and the authentic voice that has for so long eluded me. I am so grateful.
Anne Waldon. London, UK
Kathryn’s retreat was a warm reset and exactly what I needed. Working with her and the other writers was life-changing. Experiencing the deepening of my creative process and watching my fellow writer blossom was incredibly inspiring.
Jo McGinley. Pasadena, CA
This has been one of the richest experiences of my writing life. Kathryn set boundaries and created a safe space where I felt accepted and cared for. My writing process expanded into new and exciting territory where I was able to access my authentic voice.
Nora Grove. Vancouver, B.C.
I am so grateful to Kathryn for leading us on this journey to find the writer within each of us. It became about so much more than just writing; we listened intently, shared our admiration, laughed, cried, and created new friendships. I left inspired and eager to keep writing.
Carolyn Siegel. Altadena, CA
Kathryn creates a safe space for words to flow and hearts to open. Magic can happen in such a space…and it did. Thank you.
Betsy Witherup. New York, NY

Tuscany, 2018

Kathryn’s well-planned days unfolded seamlessly against a backdrop of openness and trust. Her creative writing prompts lead me to new discoveries and insights into my writing. Add to all this, comfortable beds, excellent meals, and enlightening excursions, and you will have a week to treasure.
Sarah Ismail. Northampton, MA
I didn’t know if I’d be able to write to prompts, but Kathryn’s directives were both specific and wide open, which allowed me to adapt them to my project. The progress I made in developing my characters and deepening my story was far beyond what I could have done unprompted. Very inspiring!
Sandy Bernant. West Tisbury, MA
Kathryn’s unique exercises and gentle guidance helped me focus on my characters rather than worry about where the plot was going, and it was through developing these delightful characters that I found my direction. The workshop hours alone were worth every penny of this spectacular retreat. Don’t miss out!
Val Estabrook. Martha’s Vineyard, MA
The participants on A Writer Within’s Tuscany retreat were all intelligent and talented writers who shared their work generously, and my writing benefitted greatly from it. This, along with their kind and supportive company, made it an experience to remember.
Jacquie Tullo. Nantucket, MA
I feel like I had the opportunity to test-drive each building block of storytelling as it was presented. We focused on something specific and then gave it a try. The instruction, writing, and sharing were perfectly balanced. Kathryn promised we would write a lot, and she wasn’t kidding, I was amazed at how much I produced and left feeling so inspired.
Laurie Ruskin. Newton, MA
If you are hesitant about writing with a group, don’t be – at least not one with Kathryn. Her writing prompts are clear and concise and conveyed in a way that instills confidence and trust. Kathryn’s clear parameters around group feedback keep the focus solidly and positively on our writing. What a wonderful way to meet a group of like-minded women writers.
Jean Hay. Vineyard Haven, MA
I loved that a different sense was addressed each day of the week and woven into the day’s exercises. I had no idea how powerful sensory imagery could be! You can’t imagine a better place to explore the senses than in Tuscany, and Kathryn’s well-organized retreat gave ample opportunity to both write about and experience each one with pleasure.
Kanta Lipski. West Tisbury, MA
This retreat challenged me to think outside of the box and experience my own creativity. Kathryn offered us the opportunity to bypass the internal critic and dive deep into our creative process. I’m not sure how she did it, but it was magical. I’d definitely attend another retreat with Kathryn.
Susan Murray. Bloomfield, NJ
Writing, listening, learning, talking, writing, eating, exploring, writing, laughing, drinking…did I say writing? Just the best!
Mary Kenny. Morristown, NJ
In one way or another, every writing exercise invited me to push beyond my familiar edges. While I had once considered writing exercises with time limits something to be avoided, with Kathryn’s guidance, they easily and effortlessly became something I embraced. I highly recommend this retreat.
Ellen Ross. Huston, TX
Who could ask for more than the gift of inspiration?
Ticia Agri. Placerville, CA

Embrace Your Writer Within

An online small-group writing workshop for women.

If you aren’t ready to commit to a weeklong writing retreat or 1:1 coaching, but it would help to have support and inspiration—this is a great (and affordable) alternative for you.

Tuesdays, 12 pm EST/9 am PST
From June 11 to July 23, 2024

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