The Taos Writer’s Retreat


You love to write. Or you used to love to write before you got too bound up and critical of yourself or started to wonder what other people think. Or maybe you are yearning to take your writing to a deeper level?

You know that if you had time free of distractions and filled with inspiration, you would write that thing burning inside you – or finish that project that needs your full attention. Or simply, powerfully, rediscover your voice.

And it would be fantastic if someone was serving you delicious healthy soul-food, and there was a crackerjack writing coach on call to hold your hand if you have a question.

You know what would be extra de-light-ful?

A smart circle of women to giggle with. How about heart-fueling, creativity-expanding mini-writing seminars to tame the critic and charge you up with inspiration and amazingly helpful take-home tools?

Why not add daily yoga, liberating morning dance, strolls through arty Taos, a labyrinth to walk, daily writing circles, and fresh baked goods (aha, the cream puffs!), healthy snacks, and and and…

Sound kinda perfect? Great!

You are invited
to a one-of-a-kind writing retreat

May 8th – May 14th, 2016

– OR –

July 24th – July 30th, 2016

The Mabel Dodge Luhan House
Taos, New Mexico


Lynn-Jacobs_Cir“This retreat is so valuable to me on a spiritual and writerly level. Being with a group of women who are sharing that focus with me for a week is immensely valuable, and there is always a connection with them for having shared this beautiful time together. I love that I am also encouraged to listen to my heart, to what I really want and need in every circumstance. I feel cared for and free at the same time.

There is no other experience I’ve ever had that allows me this time for myself. The writing that I’m able to accomplish here is deeper and more conscious than at other times and I’m able to take that with me when I go home. I’m so happy that I decided to take the plunge a couple of years ago and attend this retreat. It’s now my annual renewal time!”

— Lynn Jacobs, teacher, Taos 2014, 2015

Who this retreat is for:

jennifer-louden-taos-teachingThis week-long write, rest, laugh, learn, and then write some more experience is made for you if you’ve got to get some writing done and you need a strong dose of self-nurturing and mojo reclamation.

It’s made for you if you love hanging out with smart women, talking about writing and books and characters, if creativity makes your heart beat faster – and good food is a lovely plus.

It’s the retreat for you if you are ready and willing to discover just how much you can love your writing and the process of writing.

Could be you’ve been putting it off for years or maybe you are hungry to do more with your writing or maybe you’re writing your 10th book. Great! This is a “fits-all-writers” retreat!

If you want and need to write and be inspired to do it with more ease and joy, this is the retreat for you.

This isn’t like any other writer’s retreat out there.

Here’s what we aren’t going to do:

  • We aren’t going to critique your work. We do have reading circles at night but no commenting – only witnessing.
  • We aren’t going to diagram sentences. But we will talk structure and what makes a good sentence.
  • We aren’t going to network to get published, although I will answer any questions I can about the current state of publishing.
  • We aren’t going to do therapy. This is not a therapeutic retreat; this is a retreat where we welcome our full selves in service to our writing.

This is about you and what your creative heart truly needs. This is about inviting yourself into the wonder and spaciousness that you access when the noise of the world drops away.

Ann-Graf“For the first time in over 10 years I actually disconnected from my work, no e-mail or phone calls, no texts. I fully relaxed and enjoyed the experience, learning, writing, nature, yoga… shall I go on? I have not felt as relaxed and connected to myself as I did on the last day of the retreat, and I will never forget the three most important words you said before we left, “It’s not here.” Thank you, Jen, you have truly changed my life.”

— Ann Graf, Sierra Madre, California, Taos 2015

The only difference between people who create and people who don’t is that the people who do don’t believe the mean voices in their heads.


IsabelParlett_150w“The retreat was exactly the kind of soul-nourishing experience I’ve been wanting to give myself. It was the perfect blend of guidance and open space. I loved the free dance in the morning, the writing prompts, and the small group was perfect! Being in Taos was transformational. It brought me back to myself in a new way and reminded me why I am here. It was beautiful!”

— Isabel Parlett,, Taos 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

What will you actually get out of this week?

  • You’ll get writing done.
  • You’ll feel joy and have fun again.
  • You’ll feel less alone. Ever feel like a round peg in a square hole? Not at this retreat!
  • You’ll get to rest. To recharge and gather strength.
  • You’ll get perspective on your writing projects and maybe your life.
  • You’ll step away from habits of body and mind that don’t support you.
  • You’ll gain new insights into the craft of writing and take your writing to a new place, and yourself along with it.
  • Oh, and you’ll get the pleasure of knowing that you won’t have to cook, clean, or take care of anyone else for one whole week!

If you are uncertain….

I so understand. I book a retreat and then I wonder, usually right before it’s time to go, “What was I thinking??? I don’t know anybody! What if the food sucks? But I don’t want to write anymore; I want to go on a _______ retreat (fill in the blank with whatever your critic has just tossed out as a way better idea).”

But you know what happens when I go anyway–in spite of my fears and better ideas?

I rediscover what I love about writing. I learn something new – often lots of new things. I get out of rushing/pushing/business Jen and rediscover creative/fun Jen. I love myself all over again.

If you are willing to rekindle your creative spark and experience creative breakthroughs – which is going to mean loving yourself through the hard moments (you’ll have a coach on call!), join me and 22 like-minded women in Taos.

Some of the stuff we’ll cover in this writer’s shangri la:


Carefully designed blocks of time where your writing can flow. It’s about giving you a container that will let you access and pour out your creative juice. Containers make magic possible!

Helpful, funny, chock-full-of-help petite-seminars like:

  • How to get to that real honest place in your writing
  • How to befriend and stop believing the various critical voices we all have
  • How to take a rough draft or journal entry and mold it into a deeper, richer piece of writing
  • How to start (hint: it’s not at the beginning)
  • How to leave behind time monsters and shadow comforts that may block your creative work

HollyBullard“It was an amazing, wonderful, perfect, lovely, relaxing, informative, delicious week for me!

Jen will help show you how to nourish the writer within you no matter what stage or shape your inner writer is in. You will leave KNOWING you are a writer! I can’t wait till next year!”

— Holly R. Bullard, Ed.D., Taos 2011, 2012, 2014


Mary-Ginnane“Heading off on this retreat I hoped to find a compatible group to spend a week with and information to shape my writing project. And it was so! Jen created a week of activities for a like-minded group of women–those interested in writing (and reading!). We wrote in circles, we talked of our writing (and other subjects) in safe small groups, we wrote in mini-workshops, we wrote during luxuriously long personal writing time.

What I learned about writing is now essential to keeping myself moving forward with my project. And I must mention morning dancing, the wonderful meals, the restorative yoga, the timeless space of the Mabel Dodge Luhan House…and Jen, our deeply experienced writer-leader, who treated each participant with equal attention and equanimity. The week was totally satisfying!”

— Mary Ginnane, Taos 2014

paula trucks pape“Before I went to Taos on this Writer’s Retreat, I was drowning in shame about not writing. I was convinced I was not a writer, because otherwise, I would be writing. Instead, everything else came first. But sitting down with this group of writers, putting one word after the other onto the page, and talking about what happens as we do that has changed my life.

I learned that it doesn’t really matter what the words are (you can always change them later); what does matter is what happens, what unfolds when we become conscious of what is possible when we just trust who we are and what we want. When it is enough to breathe, move, feel, write, and then let it go. After it is over, you will take this retreat with you in your body, your heart, and your notebook. Thanks, Jen!”

— Paula Trucks-Pape, Unterlüß, Germany, Taos 2014


  • Daily council to offer support and a place to be heard (many women’s favorite part)
  • Daily writing warm-ups to get the writing flowing (optional)
  • An on-call writing coach (me) available for brief coaching if your writing hits a rough spot or your mind starts babbling that “Who do you think you are??” bullshit
  • A band of allies in the women who, like you, are willing to take a risk and make time and devote resources to their writing dreams – you’re going to make some dear new friends. You are embraced!
  • A follow-up resource handout
  • All-level yoga with Marianne Elliott (May retreat) or Anna Guest-Jelley (July retreat) every afternoon to help you melt away stuck and loosen up your body
  • A Facebook page to get to know each other beforehand (share rides! save money!) and stay in touch afterward, plus meet other alums from previous years

Click here to see tentative schedule.
Please note arrival and departure times!!!

joanna_colbert“I had a lot of anxiety before I came, around feeling like a fraud as a writer, and what if after spending this money and time, I come away without having made any changes in my writing and creative practice? Those fears evaporated by the second day.

I came hoping for an ‘assignment’ from the universe for my next project and I received it while brushing my teeth on the morning of the third day! I was thrilled beyond belief. I worked on my new idea the rest of the week and received crackerjack coaching from Jen. I also received gracious, positive feedback from other women, which made me think that there’s a market for this book. I’m no longer floundering, but have a clear direction for my next creative project.

Benefits of attending? The place. The conscious, creative women. The luscious food. The teaching. The times of solitude and socializing. The structure created by Jen that allowed so much to come forth. Being stirred in the cauldron of creativity where magic and transformation happen.

If you are serious about wanting time to yourself, do whatever you have to do to come to the Writer’s Retreat.”

– Joanna Powell Colbert,, Taos 2011, 2013

This retreat is NOT for you if:

  • You want to learn about getting published. You can ask me all the questions you want but this is not a writer’s conference.
  • You want to be around only fiction writers or poets or published authors. The Taos Writer’s Retreat draws all kinds of writers so you must like diversity.
  • If you only want to relax. I ask you to write during writing time, not go shopping.
  • You can’t bear talking about writing or hearing critical thoughts others have about published writers. We will not critique our own work but we will engage in conversations about published works.
  • You want a healing retreat. This is a writing retreat where healing happens.
  • You can’t stop yourself from giving advice or talking during silent times. We are silent during writing time each day.
  • You don’t know my work at all. Go read my blog and see if we are match. Please do not come without knowing my work.

“Jennifer has a magical way of creating a container for anyone to find their inner writer. If you’re ready to step deeply into your writerly self, do yourself a favor and sign up.”

— Christine Frei, Taos 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014


frances-banks“The value of this retreat went far beyond my expectations. As a person who tends a wee bit toward the cynical, before experiencing Taos I couldn’t imagine the retreat experience that magically emerges from the incredibly safe and welcoming ‘container’ Jen creates.

My week in Taos was nothing less than life-changing and all that I learned continues to create positive impact in many areas of my life. I always knew that writing was a good thing for me, but Taos opened my eyes to the value of trusting myself and my story. I came away with new energy, strong connections with some other amazing women, and memories to nourish me until I can return. I also made significant progress on my book project and left with a clear direction where my writing is headed – that was almost like the ‘icing on the cake’ compared to other amazing gifts of the retreat. As Jen says, ‘going on retreat is not self-indulgent – it is sacred.’

— Frances Banks, Taos 2014

The Place

jennifer-louden-taos-mabel-dodgeYour fee includes everything! All lodging and all meals, daily writing seminars, daily yoga classes, on-the-spot writing coaching, plentiful snacks, and love love love.

As this is a historic building, you will encounter a degree of “funkiness” you wouldn’t find at the Ritz, but if you love stepping back in history and feeling like you are walking in Mabel’s shoes (or Georgia O’Keeffe, Ansel Adams, or even Dennis Hopper who once owned the place), you’ll love it. The rooms vary widely in size and furnishings. Rooms will be assigned in order of registration. We cannot guarantee rooms.

Note: If you will not be happy unless you are placed in a certain room, please do not plan on attending. Of course, if you must be on the ground floor for any reason, ask and we will do our best to place you there.

Smoking is restricted to designated areas outdoors. Also, keep in mind that Taos is a high-elevation destination. It can take a little time to adjust, so you may wish to come to the area a day or two early if you know you are affected by altitude. (If you do come early, you must book directly with Mable Dodge, and while we will do our best to keep you in your same room, we cannot promise.)

Mabel Dodge Luhan House
The Mabel Dodge Luhan House is a famous gathering spot for writers, painters, and geniuses. The house and Mabel’s hospitality inspired everyone from Georgia O’Keeffe to Carl Jung to Martha Graham to D.H. Lawrence. The food is sublime and plentiful with veggie and gluten-free options when requested (via a handy form Amber sends you), with tea and cookies, fruit and nuts, always available. There are numerous nooks and crannies to write in, including a magical garden across the street. The village of Taos is a 15-minute flat walk away.

Tammy-Roth-Writers-Retreat“This was hands down the best retreat I’ve ever been on. It starts with the absolute sacred and inspiring space of Mabel Dodge Luhan and then blend in the incredibly skilled facilitation of Jen. As a retreat junkie and leader, watching/experiencing how Jen held space and boundaries was very inspiring. It was also very comforting and inspiring to see that Jen really walks her talk on retreating, self care, and being authentic.

The focus on the body through morning dance and afternoon yoga was also key to opening me up to deeper realms. It was a beautiful blend of true personal retreat combined with exploring writing. I learned a lot about the craft of writing. I left transformed.”

– Tammy Roth, Best-selling Author, Therapist, Retreat Leader, Taos 2014, 2015

Registration Requirements

This writer’s retreat is open to women writers of all levels, from beginner to professional. How do you know if you’re “a writer”? Because you write. You do not need to be published to join us!

You do not need to be working on a particular project or want to “do” anything with your writing, or you might be getting away to finish something big – there is room for it all.

However, I only want you to come if you yearn to make a loving, creative commitment to yourself. In that spirit, you will find a few questions on the registration and deposit page so you and I can both be sure this is the best retreat for you.

May 8th – May 14, 2016

– OR –

July 24th – July 30th, 2016

The Mabel Dodge Luhan House
Taos, New Mexico


Sharon-Downey“I was so nourished by Jen’s Taos retreat. This is a magical place, full of the spirits of those who walked through the Mabel Dodge house. Jen creates a container, a safe and grounded space, where women of all backgrounds and ages come together to share and learn from one another.

Writing? Yes, we did — and I was constantly blown away by the beauty of the words from my fellow retreatants. But we also stirred our souls, looked deep within, harvested what we’ve sown in our lives and saved seeds for the future. In the glorious light and air of the mountains of New Mexico, we birthed new dreams. Thank you for making this possible.”

— Sharon Downey (CrowsFoxes), Taos 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

More on the Money Stuff

Double rooms with shared bath: $2,030.00
Single room with private bath: $2,430.00


Fill out the application and submit it with your $500 non-refundable deposit.

May 8th – May 14th, 2016

July 24th – 30th, 2016
(Please note: We are currently sold out for the July week in Taos.
If you would like to be added to the waiting list please complete
the application below. Many thanks!

The remaining balance, after your deposit of $500, will be due on February 8th for the May retreat and April 24th for the July retreat.

Need to cancel after paying in full? If you cancel more than 30 days before the retreat begins, we will return your payment minus the non-refundable deposit. If you cancel within 30 days of the retreat, we will not refund any monies but you are welcome to sell or give away your spot, contingent upon the writer filling out the questionnaire and/or having a short conversation with Jen.

May 8th – May 14th, 2016

– OR –

July 24th – July 30th, 2016

The Mabel Dodge Luhan House
Taos, New Mexico


tara-sophia-mohr“I chose to give myself the gift of Jen’s writing retreat because I thought I would be nurtured by southwest skies, the loving community of other remarkable women, and Jen’s wise guidance and facilitation. I was right. Jen’s deep experience facilitating retreats is evident in every graceful, moving moment of the experience. When I met a friend for dinner the day I got back she said, ‘Oh my God, I have never seen you look like this. You are GLOWING.’ I got great writing done, learned a lot, but most of all, fed my soul.”

– Tara Sophia Mohr, author and women’s leadership expert,, Taos 2011

Jen-Louden-Headshot-02-CIRJen Louden is a personal growth pioneer who helped launch the self-care movement with her first book, The Woman’s Comfort Book. She’s the author of seven more books on well-being and personal wisdom that have inspired more than a million women in nine languages. Her newest book is A Year of Daily Joy published by National Geographic.

Jen has been a regular columnist for Whole Living magazine, a radio show host on Martha Stewart’s network, and a spokeswoman for companies like Real Networks and SC Johnson. She even sat on Oprah’s couch. She’s a trained ontological coach, a mess-making artist, a mother of an amazing college senior, and the bonus mom of an amazing college freshman. She lives outside Boulder, Colorado. Her newest project is a memoir about letting go of regrets and learning self-forgiveness.


About Marianne


Marianne Elliott is a best-selling author, human rights advocate, former UN Peacekeeper, and yoga teacher. She believes kindness, joy, and an openness of body, mind, and spirit are essential to our creativity, which is why she teaches yoga that is kind and joyful, designed to help open your creative flow and support you in writing and every area of your life.

She attended the retreat as a participant and has taught our yoga class for the last four years to great acclaim. She’s also an amazing friend and soul. More information about her teaching style at

Marianne will be with us for the May retreat.



About Anna

anna-guest-jelleyAnna Guest-Jelley came as a retreat-ant three years ago and is coming back to teach yoga again for the second time. The founder of Curvy Yoga, a training and inspiration portal for yogis of all shapes and sizes, she is also the author of Permission to Curve: Inspiring Poses for Curvy Yogis and Their Teachers and the co-editor of Yoga and Body Image: 25 Personal Stories About Beauty, Bravery and Loving Your Body.

She’s a beloved teacher, wonderful writer, and all around fantastic gal. Everyone loves Anna’s body positive yoga! Her new book will be published in 2016. You can find more on Anna at

Anna will be with us for the week in July.

I know you will cherish your week with us – it truly is magical.

With love,






I’ve helped a million+ people plumb the question: How do you shape & live your truest life?

No pat answers, just imperfection you can use.

I’ve helped a million+ people plumb the question: How do you shape & live your truest life?

No pat answers, just imperfection you can use.