Workshops

Meanwhile, Back in Bali

Posted by Robin Sparks on January 3rd, 2014 | Email this to friend

October 15, 2013

P1090220 Workshop attendees and me dining at Bali Fair Warung.

Milestone. Workshop finished. Writers festival wrapping up. I did not want to come back to Bali, but I had a workshop to teach and so come back I did.

And now? Feeling blessed. Surrounded by friends. Laughter. Wonder. My beautiful home on the edge of the jungle. So much possibility. The remembrance of magic and mystery. The smell of cloves in the land that is Bali.

And a new appreciation for this island. For its Alice in Wonderland quality that always brings me squarely back home or plops me into a world of pain. There is something so other-worldly about Bali. When I told my friend, Claire last night about how the workshop transpired and the organic creativity that unfolded, first we laughed about how seriously New Age this island can be. And then she said, “We forget and take for granted the energy of Bali.”

Yes, we do.

I am watching workshop participant Francesca – who has committed to stay with me this month along with another workshop participant to focus on our books – transform, and she talks about the possibility of moving to Bali. I see the wonder in world travel writer, Don George’s eyes. I hear the roosters calling us to wake up this morning. The water trickling from the ancient Subak to the river below. Bali is magic and I am woven into it, and I am grateful.

Another relationship has come and morphed into I do not know what. But I saw a vision of him floating down the river. Goodbye. Nice knowing you. Now that love has cleared out, and thank you Universe for creating the meetings, the possibilities, the moving away…I don’t quite get the lesson yet, but the short-lived relationship was amazing practice for getting clear on “what I want”, and when seeing that his way did not fit, simply opening my hand and letting him fly. A huge lesson.

And now? Back to the big fat book. Love of my life. I talked to my students about being in relationship to their writing as if the writing were an intimate partner. And so in honor of living what I teach. I’m here to say, I love you writing and I’m committing to more intimate time with you.

Starting Here Now.

Stepping Up

Posted by Robin Sparks on October 17th, 2013 | Email this to friend

Coming up the steps of the Kumara Sakti Resort in Ubud, Bali, October 2013

Coming up the steps of the Kumara Sakti Resort in Ubud, Bali, October 2013

I returned two weeks ago to Bali after a 4-month hiatus in Turkey, Greece, & California to teach a 6 day writing & breath workshop. Since I’d rather scrub toilets than stand up and speak in front of a class, this was self-imposed torture. At least that’s what it felt like in the months leading up to the event. I’ve been organizing writing retreats around the world since 2006, but this would be the first one that I would teach.

Most people don’t set themselves up to do things they don’t want to do. So why do I? I can’t really say. All I knew was that it was time.

During the retreat we explored authentic writing that comes from within via deep listening, body awareness, and showing up to the page consistently. We journeyed inside with breath work to stir up and release old blocks, and to mine what we really had to say. After two days of intense, cathartic breath sessions that took the students to places they’d never been, they asked for a day off from “breathing” – their psyches needed a rest.

Kumara Sakti garden

Kumara Sakti garden

Fully open, we sat down and brainstormed our projects, mindmapped, designed each students’ unique message, and plotted the way forward. I watched with amazement as our individual books and multi media “ideas” blossomed into real living, breathing things.

What did I learn? That teaching is more like being a guide and involves a heck of a lot of trust, getting out of the way, being still, listening, and allowing whatever wants to be taught, to show up organically.

Oh yeah, I also discovered that I can walk directly into one of my biggest fears and come out on the other side alive.

Stay tuned folks! Several amazing books and multi media projects are headed your way. I’ll be the first to let you know when they are born. And with that, I am off to write.

With gratitude and great relief,
Robin

Breath meditation in Ubud, Bali

Breath session

Writing exercises

Writing exercises

letting go

letting go

Connie Collins after breath session

Connie Collins after breath session

Just Breathe

Posted by Robin Sparks on September 30th, 2013 | Email this to friend
Breath meditation in Ubud, Bali

Breathing in the jungle

This article was first published in the October 2013 issue of Inspire Magazine.

I’m hesitant to tell people I’m a breath worker. After all, we breathe from the moment we’re born until we take our last breath. So who needs lessons in how to do what we’ve always done and who am I to show them how to do it?

Three years ago I attended my first breath workshop on the recommendation of a friend. The facilitator gave our group an introduction to the process and what we might experience. He demonstrated how to breathe deeply in and out through open mouths, without pauses, and he asked that we continue to breathe in this manner for an entire hour no matter what came up. He explained that we could control the intensity of our experience by slowing down or speeding up our breath.

About 30 minutes into that first session, my body full of oxygen, I experienced what felt like imminent death. The facilitator encouraged me to keep breathing. I did and what transpired next has stayed with me since. A crystal clear knowing came to me that day that the divine existed within —not out there in crystals, gurus, or any other number of teachings we reach for in search of peace. It was inside, all along.

Breathwork brought me home. And I got to lay down through the entire experience. I was hooked and I wanted to know more.

There are a number of breathwork modalities: Holotropic, Transformational, Rebirthing, Clarity Breathwork and more, too many to list here. Breathwork, regardless of style, allows unconscious thoughts and patterns to surface, while offering the means to release them energetically, physically and emotionally through sustained connected breathing. The various modalities differ mostly in length of sessions, speed of the breath, and post-breathwork integration activities. In Holotropic breathwork for instance, participants integrate afterwards with art, whereas, in Clarity Breathwork, breathers share their experience verbally. What all modalities offer in common is an awareness of spirit and an expanded sense of one’s true self.

As a writer, I find that breathwork helps me to write more authentically. When I fill every cell of my body with oxygen for a sustained period, all the bullshit fades to black and that which matters rises to the surface. Suddenly, I know precisely what I want to say. As in life.

Typically the experience for each ‘breather’ is unique each time. Participants may experience incredible peace, painful emotions, lost memories. They may journey — some claim that breathwork is the nearest thing to a psychedelic experience.

On a purely physical level breath sessions detoxify and rejuvenate the body. Under normal circumstances, 75% of toxins are expelled from our bodies through our breath. Imagine what happens when you breathe at full capacity, non-stop for an hour or more. It speeds recovery from whatever ails you.

Whether you would like to recover from writer’s block, painful memories, negativity, the inability to solve a particular problem or whether you simply wish to experience incredible bliss, peace and blasts of insight that will change your life, breath work can take you there.

For more information about our upcoming breathwork/writing retreat on Oct 6-11, 2013 in Ubud, Bali, email info@oneworldretreats.com.

Robin Sparks

An Interview

Posted by Robin Sparks on September 18th, 2013 | Email this to friend
Mom and Me

Mom and Me

So much has taken place these past 4 months – in Istanbul an East Meets West wedding and a revolution, in Greece 2 glorious weeks of sailing with friends, and in California up and down the coast reunions with family and new and old friends, meetings with my book editor, and taking care of the myriad of logistics that make my nomad life a possibility.

Now what? I’m packing up to return to Bali to facilitate “Breathe Life Into Your Book” at the lovely Kumara Sakti Resort in Ubud, Bali on October 6-13, 2013. We have just a few spots left, so if you’d like to join us, please email info@oneworldretreats.com ASAP.

The following is a recent interview with me by the staff of Oneworld Retreats.

Passing on inspiration via writing is not as easy as most think. Experiencing blocks with our creative process is something all writers experience. Robin Sparks describes how she revs up her writing process with connected breath work.

What inspired you to start a writing and breath work retreat?

Robin: While we can learn a lot “out there” about the craft of writing, I have come to believe that it is “in here” where we discover our most authentic voice. I had been writing professionally for 20 years and facilitating writing workshops around the world for 9, when I discovered breath meditation. I loved the way that connected breath for an extended period of time, created a space in which the outer world fell away, so that that which was truest for me, became crystal clear. I took a 4-level training course in breath work so that I could incorporate the two things I love most – writing and breath work, and share this process with others. In “Breathe Life Into Your Book” workshop we will approach writing from within and without.

As a teacher and trained breath facilitator, do you have any specific affirmations / empowering words when you begin a project?

Robin: I meditate with connected breath before sitting to write, and then from that space of knowing, I begin writing without thinking. If I get stuck later in the writing process, I ask, “If I could say only one thing in this story, what would it be?” I then return to writing with the answer to that question informing my story.

What are your hopes for future writers?

Robin: That each student might gain insight to the unique story that only he or she can tell. Once the student knows the story beneath the story, he can put to use the additional support we will provide in the workshop to breathe life into his book.

You have wide experience as a travel writer. What do you love most about your journey as a travel writer?

Robin: What I love most about travel writing is the opportunity to meet people from diverse environments, cultures, and ways of being. I meld into their way of being for a time, listen to them, and then share their stories with the world. What I have discovered, is that while we are a deliciously diverse bunch, all stories as it turns out, are our story. This is why I travel and why I write.

Why did you choose Bali for this retreat?

Robin: Bali literally hums with life. Everything grows abundantly and rapidly here, and nothing stays below the surface for long. The beauty and warmth of Bali along with its unique culture provides an inspiring and nourishing environment in which ideas flourish and projects are birthed. Bali is the perfect place to breath life into your book.

Robin Sparks, is a facilitator and teacher of writing workshops around the globe. Her stories and photographs have been published in hundreds of magazines and newspapers and her online blog has been going strong since 2003. Sparks is enjoying the process of writing her first book about her trans-global search for “home”. Sparks is a Level Four Clarity Breath Worker and a global citizen, who is based in Bali and lives part of each year in Turkey and California. Robin will be leading the “Breathe Life Into Your Book” writing retreat at Kumara Sakti Resort on Oct 6-11, 2013

- See more at: http://www.oneworldretreats.com/bali-writers-retreat.php for more information about “Breathe Life Into Your Book” – a breath work and writing retreat”

Join me in Ubud, Bali for a writing retreat the week before the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival. See you in beautiful Bali on Oct 6!
eblast-2013-robinsparks

Wow, What a Workshop it Was

Posted by Robin Sparks on October 31st, 2010 | Email this to friend

November 1, 2010

Yet another amazing dinner at our Write & Sell That Book Now! workshop


I arrived in Bali from Istanbul end of September, just days before our Write and Sell That Book Now! workshop.

We had 14 students and the instructor, Joanna Penn, was AMAZING in every sense of the word. Each of us walked away from the workshop pregnant with cutting edge information about how to get our books out of our heads and out into the world. The Kumara Sakti Resort was sumptuous and accommodating, and the Oneworld Retreat staff professional and organized.

This was my first experience in teaching a class. The creativity session I taught was an experiential exercise on accessing the subconscious and writing from a place that is deep and authentic in order to discover one’s unique message. My course served as a counterbalance to Joanna’s left-brained, info-packed approach.

After our “Write and Sell That Book Now!” workshop, I attended the annual Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, and then holed up in a hotel with a friend visiting from New York. After she returned to the USA, I began the hunt for a new home in Ubud.

My house perched below Sayan Ridge has been feeling less and less secure as the rain saturated earth around it has begun to slide down to the Agung River below. I’d been wanting to move closer to town anyway, so I’ve looked at house after house and have finally found one which I will move into December 10. Thanks to several dear friends I’ve had amazing homes to stay in from a beach house in southern Bali, to a seaside palace on Bali’s northern shore, to an extra bedroom in a friend’s bungalow in central Ubud.

It will be amazing to finally park myself in one place for at least 9 months and unpack everything for the first time since May. That’s 6 months of living out of suitcases!

Back to the workshop. Here’s a recent blog Joanna Penn wrote about our “Write and Sell That Book Now!” workshop. http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2010/10/20/international-speaking-lessons-learned-from-a-multi-day-retreat-in-ubud-bali/

I’ll be posting photos and some of the highlights and tips gleaned for the workshop soon. Until then!

Love, love
Robin

early morning on Echo Beach, Bali, 10/10

photo courtesy of Flickr

This workshop will take place the week before the Annual Ubud Writers Festival – not to be missed.

The publishing world, in case you have not yet heard, has changed.

The time has never been better, riper, more promising for story tellers to get their tales out of their heads and into the hands of readers fast. And to make money doing so. The old publishing paradigm dinosaur is gone. Poof. Like that.

I for one say, “Thank God”.

The old way: Months and months to find an agent. Followed by more months seeking a publisher. Followed by 2 years (If you are one of the 1% chosen for publication) of line edits, book design, back and forth between editor and writer – all before ever (if ever) seeing your book in print. Followed by years of having to hit the road on your own dime to sell your own books from the trunk of your car, for a few dollars per book.

The publishing bottleneck that has developed over the past 20 years is enough to intimidate many authors from even getting started.

No more.  There is a new way.

Join us in Ubud, Bali at the “Write and Sell That Book!” workshop October 1-6, 2010 – one week before the Annual Ubud Writers Festival – and together we will learn how to use the new tools available to write our books, to promote and sell them.

Details : http://www.oneworldretreats.com/ubud_bali_yoga_retreat_robin_Joanna.php

And just in case you’re worried that all that new technological know how will give you a headache, relax. You won’t have to do anything but sit back soaking up the infamous Balinese atmosphere while Joanna Penn www.thecreativepenn shows you everything you need to know to take your place in what is rapidly developing into a new era for authors.

We’ll stay at the luxurious Kumara Sakti Resort www.oneworldretreats.com

The peaceful Kumara Sakti Resort

located in a stunningly beautiful jungle valley just outside the artist center of Ubud, Bali – home of the Love chapter in the bestselling “Eat, Pray, Love”. You’ll get a free 1 1/2 hour herbal massage, see a Balinese dance at a local temple, and take a stroll through a breathtaking terraced rice paddy for a luncheon at my favorite Ubud restaurant – Sari Organik.

We’re keeping the class size small at 20 students – 5  reserved for locales.

In case you’re not convinced about the changes unfolding in the world of publishing, here are predictions for authors for 2010-2020 in an article by Jane Friedman.

http://blog.writersdigest.com/norules/2010/01/11/WhatDoesFutureHoldForWritersPredictionsFor20102020.aspx

Or you can just read my excerpts from the article below:

“Predictions are common as a new year begins–especially a new decade. And the publishing industry invites more speculation than ever, given the tremendous transformation underway.

The rise of the independent, as I expect more individual authors and small presses will be able to take advantage of the digital format to sell direct to the consumer, make a healthy living doing so and take advantage of the platform to provide more (and more unfiltered) coverage of a broader range of content, including niche and emerging topics. Just as apps have liberated bedroom coders, so too will the preponderance of ways to connect directly with readers, build a healthy fan base and enjoy higher profit margins doing so compel legions of aspiring authors to finally put pen (or is that stylus?) to (digital) paper and permanently blur the lines between amateurs and professionals. While they’ll still have a place in the industry, I suspect by that point, most agents will be, shall we say, a good less relevant than they’ve become accustomed to in the past.

—Scott Steinberg, DigitalTrends.com

Long-form text-only narrative will continue to thrive as it has since cavemen gathered around the fire, just as painting has thrived since Lascaux. The advent of more and richer iterations of multimodal entertainment and edification will not kill off others (either multi or single mode) in the future, just as they did not in the past, though they certainly will kill businesses with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement based on past success in a given mode.

—Richard Nash, publisher

Digital First/Print Maybe Deals Will Give Authors Leverage: Not only will traditional publishers enter into more ebook-first deals, but more digital publishing houses will emerge, across all genres. Because the latter will naturally start from a position of higher royalties, traditional publishers will have to up the ante as well. Right now, the trend is to decrease digital royalties, but when publishers ask authors to take new kinds of risks, publishers have to be willing to make it worthwhile for the author. Especially in a world where playing field is increasingly level.

—Kassia Krozser, Booksquare blogger

Trend: [Publishers] will continue to focus more resources on fewer titles, using their strengths as large-scale marketers and distributors to publish brand-names. Title count at the largest houses could drop by as much as fifty percent over the next five years. Counter trend: At the same time, self-publishing (including partnerships like the one announced recently between Author Solutions and Harlequin) will grow exponentially.

Trend: Title reduction will be most significant for new talent, with the largest houses entrusting support of new authors to a handful of editorial imprints. The editors at those imprints-editors with proven ability to choose new material successfully-will increase in value. Counter trend: Editors whose job is to handle existing talent will find their roles diminished.

Trend: As the initial sale becomes less of the focus for authors, the agent of the future will become more of a business manager who handles every aspect of an author’s career, overseeing the author’s online presence, developing sources of revenue outside of book sales such as workshops and lecture tours, and acting as the author’s publicist in between publications. Counter trend: Publishers will create free-standing departments whose services can be purchased a la carte by authors, whether that author is self-published or published by a competitor who doesn’t offer such services.
—Bob Miller, HarperStudio

Thanks to digital, there is no minimum length for a book anymore. Ebooks that are too short to be print books will become a real factor in ebook sales, opening up new opportunities for publishers but even more for authors. Short fiction is already well established in the romance genre and some major publishers have broken out stories from anthologies as separate items to be sold on Kindle. In 2010, authors and agents will discover that shorter-than-a-book works can be the subject of useful experimentation and learning through electronic publishing and, by the end of the year, it will become a frequently-employed device. Periodical media (newspapers and magazines) will also see this paid delivery mechanism as an alternative worth experimentation for them as well. After all, if a big publisher can unbundle a short story anthology to sell the individual stories as Kindle editons, why couldn’t The New Yorker sell the short fiction it publishes that way as well? This concept has been tipped by the announcement in 2009 than the web site Daily Beast will be delivering shorter books in a timely manner through electronic distribution.

—Mike Shatzkin, publishing futurist”



So ready to write your book and get it out into the world? Join us in Ubud, Bali the week before the Annual Ubud Writers Festival for all the tools you’ll need to get your book written, published and in the hands of as many readers as possible, fast, and actually earn money doing it.

Snag one of the 20 spots available asap and we’ll see you in Bali in October!

http://www.oneworldretreats.com/ubud_bali_yoga_retreat_robin_Joanna.php

Robin

Beautiful Bali

The Kaptan Sevket, Magic Carpet Ride Along Turkey's Coast

The Kaptan Sevket, Magic Carpet Ride Along Turkey

Hello Writers!

We’re counting down to what promises to be another memorable writing workshop aboard the Kaptan Sevket on Turkey’s Turquoise coast September 19-26, 2009 with Larry Habegger, editor and co-founder of Travelers’ Tales Books. Aboard our classic Turkish wood sailing yacht, we’ll meet for instruction in the mornings after breakfast, partake in private consultations throughout each day (in and around writing and exploring), and meet for discussion, and sharing our work in the evenings before a sumptuous nightly feast. After that, of course, there’s more time to talk or write, sip wine or raki, or simply lie on the deck and gaze at the stars. We’ll move from secluded cove to cove up and down Turkey’s southern coastline, stopping to swim, kayak, snorkel, view ruins and visit villages. Full details here: http://www.larryhabegger.com/teaching/

Swimming off Cleopatra Island in 2008

Swimming off Cleopatra Island in 2008

If you haven’t reserved a space yet, I highly encourage you to do so as the class once again is limited to 8 students.

This workshop just gets better each year!

For a view of what you’re in for, take a peek at last year’s workshop:

In September 2008, ten writers boarded the Kaptan Sevket in Bodrum, Turkey to sail into the Aegean Sea and to write, guided by writing instructor extraordinaire, Larry Habegger. Our wildly varied group of personalities, ages, and skill levels bonded quickly. Each person in the group was a dedicated writer, emphatic about improving their skills. And each worked at it, showing up for every class each morning and evening and for personal consultations with the instructor throughout each day.

1st class of the day begins over breakfast

1st class of the day begins over breakfast

After a week that included idyllic sailing along Turkey’s curvaceous coastline, swimming and kayaking in aquamarine waters, visits to small villages, hiking among the ruins on Cleopatra Island, eating outrageously delicious, healthy food that just kept coming and coming, meeting and talking about writing, and producing heaps of newly informed and inspired pieces, we disembarked with indelible memories, new friends, and vastly enhanced writing skills.

Our magic carpet, The Kaptan Sevket, is a sleek, solid, 82 foot, hand-built Turkish gulet with majestic sails that tower high above as we head each day into the next bucolic harbor. Ensuite cabins are large, each with 2 single berths or one double bed. We did not see one other boat on the water last September that could compare to ours! And the crew, how we loved them. There was the capable, all-knowing, story teller extraordinaire Kaptan Mustafa. And sweet, efficient Levent, Batur and Tuncay.

The food. Well, if you know anything about Turkish food, you know you’re in for a treat. I cannot say enough about the fabulous food our crew prepared, and so I won’t. Check out photos here: http://ontheroad.destinationtbd.com/2008/10/04/the-food/

In September 2009, we’ll begin a bit further south in the village of Gocek. From there we’ll head south to Ulu Deniz – one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. We’ll snorkel over ancient cities in Kas, sail past Lycian ruins that date back to Jesus Christ, go ashore when the mood strikes, and yes, once again, we will write. And we will do it on the Kaptan Sevket with the same crew. They are family now.

Local girls at the market in Turkish village

Local girls at the market in Turkish village

The price for the workshop, boat, excursions, and food is $2800 usd. (airfare separate). You may reserve your spot by sending $1400 via Paypal.com to robin@robinsparks.com. Spots are filling fast so be sure to reserve yours soon. And please purchase travel insurance as deposits are non-refundable unless we are able to fill your spot.

To learn more about our instructor, Larry Habegger, co-editor and founder of Travelers Tales Books, have a look at the following links:
http://travelerstales.com
http://larryhabegger.com

Here is what some of our participants have to say about last year’s workshop:

When I signed up for the workshop, I couldn’t have imagined what I would leave with: deep friendships, a new understanding of myself and writing goals, an amazing collection of photos, and a great big notebook of souvenirs in the form of writing tips, techniques, and guidance I received from Larry, who has replaced my 3rd grade teacher, Ms. Klein, as my favorite instructor of all time. Sailing on a handsome gulet along the gem-colored shoreline of the Aegean Sea is the perfect place to get inspired, forget about all the distractions at home, and devote yourself to a week of writing. – Cheryn Flanagan, San Francisco, California

This workshop exceeded my expectations a million times. I had a vague idea I could write commentary but had no confidence in my ability to write description. I came away feeling like I can now do both. Larry helped me find continuity in my notes and pull them together into something that was actually writing instead of just ideas on a page. Listening to everyone else was valuable in pointing me in the right direction. Having optional and flexible individual consultations was perfect. Being on a boat in gorgeous surroundings crystallized everything into one great experience. – Nicola Prentis, Istanbul, Turkey

Carrie relaxing on the bow

Carrie relaxing on the bow

Thank you for a wonderful experience aboard the Kaptan Sevket! The trip was well organized. It was a nice touch making decisions as a group about specific destinations on a day-to-day basis. As a lover of the wilderness, I enjoyed mooring in secluded bays absent of resorts and other development. I liked meeting in the morning and reconvening in the evenings for writing. The private meetings with Larry were a real plus. Our group was diverse in many ways, and I appreciated the different personalities. Thank you so much for an inspiring, relaxing and colorful experience! – Carrie Visintainer, Fort Collins, Colorado

So, reserve your spot soon and I will see you in Turkey in September 2009!

Robin Sparks in Istanbul, Turkey
OneWorld Ltd – Accommodations for the Global Traveler and Writing Workshops that Rock!
http://www.robinsparks.com

In the unlikely event that a minimum of 8 students is not reached, we reserve the right to cancel the workshop and return all deposits.

Writing Workshop Aboard Turkish Gulet 2009

Posted by Robin Sparks on December 1st, 2008 | Email this to friend
The Kaptan Sevket

The Kaptan Sevket

Hi Everyone,

Yep, we’re doing it again! We had such a successful voyage last September that we’re heading back to Turkey’s Turquoise Coast for not one workshop but two, September 12-19 and September 19-26, 2009 for a week of sailing, writing, and wandering the ruins and villages. Like last year we’re restricting the group to 10 participants and we’ll meet for instruction in the mornings, have private consultations throughout the day (in and around writing and exploring), and meetings for discussion and sharing our work in the evenings before our sumptuous nightly feast. After that, of course, there’s more time to talk or write, sip wine or raki, or simply lie on the deck and look at the stars. Full details here: http://www.larryhabegger.com/teaching/

A lot of you have asked me about our 2008 Writing Workshop last September. In short, it was perfect. (My humble opinion of course).

Ten of us climbed aboard the Kaptan Sevket on September 20, 2008 and set sail into the Gekova harbor off the coast of Turkey where the Mediterranean meets the Aegean Sea. Our wildly varied group of personalities, ages and skill levels got along fabulously. After a week that included idyllic sailing along Turkey’s curvaceous coastline, swimming and kayaking in aquamarine waters, visits to small villages, hiking among the ruins on Cleopatra Island, eating outrageously delicious, healthy food that just kept coming and coming, meeting and talking about writing, and producing heaps of newly informed and inspired pieces, we disembarked after one week with indelible memories, new friends, and vastly enhanced writing skills.

Most participants were previously published writers who were emphatic about improving their trade. They worked at it, showing up for every class each morning and evening to write, and to consult with our instructor Larry Habegger throughout each day.

As for our magic carpet, The Kaptan Sevket, it was a sleek, solid, 82 foot, hand-built Turkish gulet with majestic sails that towered high above as we headed each day for our next bucolic harbor. We all concurred that we did not see one other boat on the water that could compare to ours! And the crew, ah the crew, how we loved them. There was the capable, all-knowing Kaptan Mustafa. And sweet, efficient Levent, Batur and Tuncay. The food. Can’t say enough about it and so I won’t.

You can see photos of it here, thanks to our itinerant writer and photographer, Cheryn Flanagan. http://ontheroad.destinationtbd.com/2008/10/04/the-food/

We are on again for next fall, September 12-19 and September 12-19, 2009! This year we’ll start a little further south on Turkey’s coastline in Gocek and head to Ulu Deniz – one of the most beautiful beaches in the world – and the waters of Kas where we’ll snorkel over ancient cities, sail past ruins, go ashore when the mood hits, and yes, once again, write. And we will do it on the Kaptan Sevket with the same crew. They are family now.

With two successful writing workshops under our belts, the word is out and we expect that the 10 spots (yes, we will limit it once again to 10) for each of our workshops in September, 2009 will fill fast.
Wondering what to give that friend or loved one for the holidays? Why not a writing workshop off the coast of Turkey? It’s an experience they will never forget.


The price for the September workshop is $2800 usd and is all inclusive for the week on the boat. You can reserve your spot by sending $1400 via Paypal.com to robin@robinsparks.com. Spots are filling fast so be sure to reserve yours soon. Deposits are non-refundable unless we can fill your spot.

To learn more about our instructor, Larry Habegger, co-editor of Travelers Tales Books, have a look at the following links: http://travelerstales.com http://larryhabegger.com

Here is what some of our participants have to say:


When I signed up for the workshop, I couldn’t have imagined what I would leave with: deepfriendships, a new understanding of myself and writing goals, an amazing collection of photos, and a great big notebook of souvenirs in the form of writing tips, techniques, and guidance I received from Larry, who has replaced my 3rd grade teacher, Ms. Klein, as my favorite instructor of all time. Sailing on a handsome gulet along the gem-colored shoreline of the Aegean Sea is the perfect place to get inspired, forget about all the distractions at home, and devote yourself to a week of writing. – Cheryn Flanagan, San Francisco, California


This workshop exceeded my expectations a million times. I had a vague idea I could write commentary but had no confidence in my ability to write description. I came away feeling like I can now do both. Larry helped me find continuity in my notes and pull them together into something that was actually writing instead of just ideas on a page. Listening to everyone else was valuable in pointing me in the right direction. Having optional and flexible individual consultations was perfect. Being on a boat in gorgeous surroundings crystallized everything into one great experience. - Nicola Prentis, Istanbul, Turkey


The trip was really fantastic, worth every penny. I would definitely consider coming again next year. - Judith Colp Rubin, Tel Aviv, Israel


Thank you for a wonderful experience aboard the Kaptan Sevket! The trip was well organized. It was a nice touch making decisions as a group about specific destinations on a day-to-day basis. As a lover of the wilderness, I enjoyed mooring in secluded bays absent of resorts and other development. I liked meeting in the morning and reconvening in the evenings for writing. The private meetings with Larry were a real plus. Our group was diverse in many ways, and I appreciated the different personalities. Thank you so much for an inspiring, relaxing and colorful experience! - Carrie Visintainer, Fort Collins, Colorado


The price for the September workshop is $2800 usd and is all inclusive for the week on the boat. You can reserve your spot by sending $1400 via Paypal.com to robin@robinsparks.com.

Hope to hear from you soon, and I will see you in Turkey in September 2009!

Please purchase travel insurance as deposits are non-refundable unless we can fill your spot. We also reserve the right to cancel the workshop up to July 10 in the unlikely case that there are less than 8 participants.

Robin Sparks in Istanbul, Turkey
OneWorld Ltd

http://www.robinsparks.com

Judy in private consultation with Larry

Judy in private consultation with Larry

Cheryn and Carrie working on assignments

Cheryn and Carrie working on assignments

Cleopatra Beach
breakfast

breakfast

All you workaholics out there, check this retreat out! I’ll be speaking about how to break away from your daily To Do List to explore the world. You won’t believe how easy it is – time wise, finanically, all ways – travel is not only doeable, it’s necessary to maintain a balanced life. If  you’re out of balance, you can’t be present for yourself or for others. Come join us! Don’t miss this chance to hear best selling author and speaker, Barbara Sher in person.

Details here:    www.noTimeForMe.net

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Seven days with Larry Habegger (executive editor of Travelers’ Tales) on a classic Turkish gulet in the Aegean Sea

September 20-27, 2008

On this seven-day intensive workshop sailing on a traditional Turkish yacht you’ll learn the ins and outs of crafting a superb story and how to bring your work to print, whether it’s a short essay or a book-length memoir. Larry Habegger, co-editor of Travelers’ Tales books, helps you develop powerful stories with simple tools and plot the course to successful publication.

In this workshop you will learn how to:

  • unearth kernels of inspiration
  • find the right way in
  • create the ideal structure to give a story maximum substance and meaning
  • access memory to add depth and texture
  • use techniques of fiction to add drama and suspense
  • craft the perfect ending
  • edit to make the story a page-turner
  • develop the kind of book proposal publishers are eager to see
  • create the perfect marketing plan so your book will sell
  • write like a poet but think like a publicist

Instructor, Larry Habegger

In almost thirty years in the travel writing business, both as a freelance travel writer and an editor of books and hundreds of stories in the Travelers’ Tales series, Larry Habegger has developed a fine eye for what makes a story work. He shares his knowledge at numerous writers’ conferences, writing workshops, and individual coaching sessions, both online and off.

He has been covering the world since his international travels began in the 1970s. As a freelance writer or almost three decades and syndicated columnist since 1985, Larry’s work has appeared in numerous major newspapers and magazines, including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Travel & Leisure, and Outside. In 1993 Habegger founded the award-winning Travelers’ Tales publishing company with James and Tim O’Reilly, and as co-editor has helped edit all of the company’s books. Larry is an inspiring writing teacher and coach, and has been on the faculty of the Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference annually since 1994. He lives with his family on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco.

Program

Daily writing exercises will help you find the focus of your story, and discussions will provide guidance for shaping and polishing. Participants will gain confidence about what makes a story work and how to make it shine in the marketplace.

The group workshop will be structured around our tour of the Turkish coast and will include:

  • maximum of 12 participants
  • emphasis on personal travel narrative and memoir, but open to other forms
  • hour-long group workshops each morning
  • daily one-on-one consultations with Larry
  • writing assignments to prime your pump
  • afternoons devoted to writing and exploring the Turkish coast
  • evening group reading and discussion of participants’ work
  • write about your Turkish experience, craft journal notes into compelling stories, develop material you’re already working on
  • come ready to write, share, learn, and have fun

And Much More…

We’ll begin in the internationally renowned resort of Bodrum and work our way down the Aegean coast and into the Mediterranean. You’ll see turtles nesting, sail past and hike among ancient ruins, visit Turkish villages, natural hot springs and a mud bath, explore inner waterways and learn to write and get published. All while reveling in a classic Blue Voyage of legend. Turkey is a beautiful country, and Turks ooze with hospitality. Don’t miss this chance of a lifetime!

WHAT PREVIOUS WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS HAVE TO SAY:

In the eye of the Aegean, with billowing sails as a backdrop, my writing found its new course – winged and unbridled. Robin Sparks’ writing seminar was heady and filled with heart. Aboard our gulet, our senses were heightened by the smells and tastes of great food and wine and through listening to the touching words penned by fellow travelers – a once-in-a-lifetime journey heightened by the vision of a seasoned teacher, Larry Habegger, who brought out the best in each of us. -Connie Collins, Journalist

When I first caught sight of our gulet, docked in a small bay protected by hills with the turquoise Mediterranean Sea gleaming in the background, it took my breath away. One minute I was sitting with a wonderful group of people, laughing, talking about our lives, about writing, and the next, diving off a classic Turkish gulet into the warm turquoise water below, and the next hiking past 9,000-year-old ruins. Larry, our writing writing teacher, was positively inspirational. And I learned so much from the other students. Sign me up! —Michelle Babcock


Price: $2500 USD

Includes:

  • two hours instruction per day and private consultations with travel writer and co-editor of Travelers’ Tales Books, Larry Habegger
  • three delicious meals per day and all drinks
  • all land and water excursions
  • use of all onboard water toys and equipment, including fishing rods
  • full use of a luxurious classic Turkish yacht shared with a maximum of 12 students, your teacher and 3 Turkish crew members
  • shared accommodation in a large air-conditioned double cabin with a private bath
  • three Turkish crew members to make sure that the only work you do is write and play
  • airport transfers
  • and last but not least, laughter, exploration and camaraderie galore

The price does not include round trip airfare to Bodrum, Turkey from whence we will depart on our boat on Saturday, September 20, 2008. We have scheduled the workshop during the travel “shoulder season” so that students may benefit from lower airfares. If you would like assistance booking an airline ticket, please email workshop organizer, Robin Sparks at robin@robinsparks.com.

This is a small intimate class of no more than 12, so don’t delay. Reserve your spot by sending your first installment of $625 via PayPal.com to robin@robinsparks.com. Full payment is due by June 1, 2008. Please purchase travel insurance as we are unable to issue refunds unless we can fill your spot.

This workshop is brought to you by OneWorld Ltd, a Turkish company whose mission is to act as a conduit between the West and Middle East. Founder Robin Sparks says, “When we touch the soul of a place with our senses, when we live among its people, we cannot help but realize that although we are fantastically different, we are at our cores, very much the same.” OneWorld offers not only workshops, but travel accommodations in real homes in real neighborhoods in Istanbul, Turkey and around the world. For more information about this workshop or others contact Robin Sparks at Robin@Robinsparks.com. OneWorld reserves the right to cancel the workshop if less than 8 students enroll by June 1, 2008. In this case, all paricipants will be issued full refunds.

See the full documents at these links in PDF and Word formats (the Word doc is the easiest to read and highest resolution photos; the PDF Formatting and photos may be slightly altered).

At Home in Buenos Aires

Posted by Robin Sparks on March 26th, 2006 | Email this to friend

January 26, 2006 was the departure date on my airplane ticket from San Francisco to Bangkok. From Bangkok, I’d go to India, and from there to Bali.

India has beckoned me for years, especially Kerala. With more and more jobs being exported to India every day and with its new role as an emerging world power, India seems destined to be a next best place. I wanted to meet the Americans and Europeans who are moving to India, to get a glimpse of what their lives are like.

Bali – On this island I’d felt so at home during my five months there, that I left some money in a bank account and a box of personal effects with a friend. How is it that three years later, I’ve yet to return? There have been things like bombs that went off in the night. And the sticky web of time and commitments in the States. But maybe its just that at some level, I fear that I will discover that, Yes, Bali is home. Which means taking the final (or first?) step and going.

On January 30: A week before my planned departure, I received a call from EscapeArtist.com. They were hatching a new online travel magazine and wanted to know if I’d be interested in wearing an editor’s hat.

And so, one week before departure date, I aked my travel agent to re-route my trip to Argentina.

Two months later, March 26, 2006 – I began my stay in Argentina last month on a 75-acre farm in the wine and orchard region of Mendoza.

Today I am sitting in my lovely apartment in Buenos Aires, Argentina finishing what will be the first issue of EscapeArtist Travel Magazine.

There have been rabbit trails, oh yes. Like the emergency appendectomy I had in a rural hospital, followed by a move to Buenos Aires, and a trip to Uruguay for an international real estate conference. I’ll tell you all about it in EscapeArtist Travel Magazine, www.escapeartist.com.

See you in Turkey June 3 for the experience of a lifetime!!! Sign up now!

The Personal Travel Story

Posted by Robin Sparks on February 21st, 2006 | Email this to friend
Hello from Robin in Argentina. Please click the link below to join Larry Habegger and me in Turkey this June as we learn to write ‘The Personal Travel Story.’ See you in June!

PDF: The Personal Travel Story (Turkey, June 3-10, 2006)

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Posted by Robin Sparks on August 4th, 2005 | Email this to friend

June 3-10, 2006

The Coast of Turkey by Yacht!

Calling all moms, daughters, grandmothers, and granddaughters – new and old girlfriends… Take the journey of your life with the ones you love the most…

Led by travel writer, Robin Sparks, our group of 8-10 will cruise the coast of Turkey aboard a classic 82-ft. Turkish gulet. Our expert Turkish crew of three will sail, prepare delicious meals and take care of our every need. The Odysseus  is constructed of the finest African teak and brass with air-conditioned staterooms and private baths. A cruiseship this is not!  Nor is it a it a Caribbean sailboat. This is luxury of the most sublime sort – quality, exotic, sophisticated. To sail the coastline of Turkey is an experience like none other.

You will return from this trip not only enchanted with Turkey and the Mediterranean, but with your life. There’s nothing like a week in the Mediterranean with friends and loved ones to recharge.


OUR MAGIC CARPET RIDE
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