Kind Words


Writers share how ClarityWorks writing retreats and classes made a difference in their lives and their writing.

Click on the program of interest to see what writers have said:
Free Daily Writing Prompts

Peggy, thank you so much for adding the “daily prompt” feature to your website. I have been getting them … AND HAVE WRITTEN EACH DAY TO THE PROMPT!! Believe that? Finally, something has gotten me organized to at least do a few minutes a day. And for free. What a deal. Thanks a million.

Gwendie Camp
A participant in several ClarityWorks’ classes, Gwendie is a writer who resides in Asheville.

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Writing Classes in Asheville for Women

I’ve been a member of Peggy’s classes for several years now. The classes are juicy and rich, nurturing both the intellect and the spirit. Coming to class each week is like slipping into a hot bath.

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Peggy’s workshop prompts are like little sparks. Sometimes they illuminate an idea, a character or a setting that I develop later. Sometimes they set off a big blaze of a scene that goes straight from my class notebook into a piece and is published without changing one word. I am always amazed by how many sections of my book and my stories can be traced back to their origin in a ClarityWorks group.

Valerie Ann Leff, Class participant for over six years. Valerie has published short stories in The Antioch Review, The South Carolina Review and other journals. Her 2004 novel, Better Homes and Husbands, is optioned for a television serial by NBC.

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How I love our circle. I’m finding a new and different writer-self in me, reclaiming something dormant and sleeping…. I see clearly that to be without a circle of women is to be deprived. The fulfillment and the soft love for each other becomes my spiritual food and mends my hermit self.

Annie Miracle
A ClarityWorks’ class participant, Annie is a writer and writing teacher who studied with Natalie Goldberg.

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Coming to this class has ripped me out of my comfort zone. Which was something so unexpected–never saw that coming. But I needed it. I have isolated myself with my writing all my life. Rarely ever letting another set of eyes scan over the ink I left behind. It was all fear. Being here and listening and participating has really opened up some windows for me. Listening to all the beautiful stories that have poured from the hearts of these women has truly inspired me. Sharing my own with them has helped to build confidence within myself. It has helped to level the playing field. Reminding me that we are all just human–no more, no less. And whatever we have to offer with our pens is enough because it comes from our being.

Kecia Fowler

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Peggy’s writing prompts drop me down into my unconscious where all the rich fertile soil of my life lies waiting to be mined, brought up into the light clothed in startling new words. Over the years of exploring my own unique images and ways of expressing, my writer’s voice has become more powerful and clear. Peggy’s gentle support to me and all of us who come to her class has enabled me to trust my voice, and feel safe enough to speak it to others. I have taken up my book again, rewrote it and am more than half finished. I intend to have it completed this year!

Looking back, I see how I have grown, not only in writing, but in healing, in awareness, in laughter and tears which are shared with the others in community as we read today’s thoughts, right here, right now, one word at a time.

Ginger Graziano, a ClarityWorks’ class and retreat participant, Ginger is completing a memoir and writing poetry. Her creative efforts in writing have spilled over into her passion for painting.

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A sisterhood of writers is an affirmative hug from the muse; the writing space contains the gamut of so many emotions: love, hate despair, jealousy, confusion…where else could you meet as many characters as you do in a writing group?

Alice O. Johnson
Class and retreat participant since 2003, Alice’s work has appeared in the O. Henry Festival of Short Stories, The Crucible, Pembroke Magazine, The Guilford Review, and two anthologies, I Thought My Father Was God, edited by Paul Auster and Alice Redux: Tales of Alice in Wonderland and Lewis Carroll, editor Richard Peabody.

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The joy of your class, for me, is that we are there to craft, but also to free up, to be brave and go into the depths, to live without judgment because that’s where the real work is living. The classes are about creating a space and welcoming the writers to explore. The class is a jungle, a motel room, an island, a Victorian living room, a forest, a waterfall, a city, a color, a word, a name.

Lis Anna
A film director, writer and producer with numerous credits and awards, in 2006, Lis Anna won 2nd place in the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Contest, 4th place the New Century Writers Short Fiction Contest and 1st place in the 11th Annual Poet Hunt contest

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The writing class has given me an opportunity, through Peggy’s sweet and gentle ministrations, to find that place in me that jumps out of the mind and connects to the whole. I think of it as a doorway I can step through to the other side, where my better writing is.

Kelle Olwyler
A class and retreat participant for more than six years, Kelle is a songwriter and fiction writer. She is a former corporate Coach. She co-authored Paradoxical Thinking.

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How Your Fearless Writing Retreats Inspired Me

I appreciate the one-on-one with Peggy. It’s valuable time and a gift of the retreat. I pay attention to her advice and move from it to action. I respect and value her as a mentor/teacher and friend. Somehow she makes it possible to know the boundaries of those roles.

Kathy Sievert, Washington
Former teacher and writer for the Peninsula Daily News, Sequim, Kathy has attended several ClarityWorks’ retreats.

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Peggy teaches about writing and courage. I think this is exactly the point of departure for writers. When we accept the scary parts of our writing self, a whole new world opens up, and there’s no cheaper way to travel.

Alice Johnson, North Carolina
A class and retreat participant, Alice is completing a novel. Alice’ work has appeared in the O. Henry Festival of Short Stories, The Crucible, Pembroke Magazine, The Guilford Review, and two anthologies. I Thought My Father Was God, edited by Paul Auster and Alice Redux: Tales of Alice in Wonderland and Lewis Carroll.

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I strongly feel/think/believe Group Writing and Reading is a good way to jump start our writing, get juices flowing, bump us out of our comfort zone, stimulate new ideas, provide positive reinforcement, and is a great place for learning.

Heloise Jones, North Carolina
A ClarityWorks’ class and retreat participant, Heloise has finished one novel and is working on a sequel.

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It is time to live as big as I can. And it is time to write as big as I can, even if it’s clumsy and awkward and lumbering: a giant of ungainly words. I have a truth inside me I want to express, a special truth that only I can tell. We all do. That’s why we write. And this realization is the great gift that Peggy’s ClarityWorks retreat has given me—and continues to give me.

Cheryl Dietrich, North Carolina
A ClarityWorks’ class and retreat participant, Cheryl’s nonfiction essay “Zagreb” was published by The Gettysburg Review. She’s also been published in Shenandoah, Mudrock Stories and Tales and has had articles published locally.

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What a journey of self-discovery in the most perfect setting imaginable. Watching my classmates also reach down and find their child-like imagination and let it out to play was joyous and inspiring.

Cindy Lane, Virginia
A ClarityWork’s retreat participant who is completing a mystery.

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The way Peggy structured the daily routine, combined with her teaching, led me to some of the most creative, inspired and imaginative moments I’ve experienced in my writing.

Becca Groves, Minnesota
A ClarityWorks’ retreat participant who collected and wrote family stories to celebrate her grandmother’s 90th birthday in 2007.

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I accomplished the writing I came to do in a new-found powerful voice. I came away feeling satisfied in every way—I expressed myself in a community of women, felt refreshed, and exercised.

Kimberly Childs, North Carolina
A class and retreat participant for five years, Kimberly is completing a memoir. In a previous life, she was a cook in a vegetarian restaurant and an artist of art quilts.

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I loved the program of prompts from readings of poetry …and the reading after each prompt. If I was able to write something during the group write, I was even more able to write a piece during the afternoon “free” time. I learned so much from each and every participant. I am bowled over with the blessings of many wonderful writing personalities voicing their works in my presence.

Elizabeth Moreskine, California
In earlier years, Elizabeth was a concert pianist. Now she is an artist, poet, and writer, working primarily on a children’s story. She attended a ClarityWorks’ retreat and has received coaching from Peggy.
Lake at dawn2Lake Logan Fearless Writing Retreat

The energy of shared passion and bringing passion to the page. This is what part of the Lake Logan experience has been for me. And then there’s Peggy, with her calm and easy presence sharing her wisdom and insights, always supportive, always available when we exude through the experience of putting pen to paper or when we crash in self-doubt with demons wild….I have no idea if anything I write will ever be published. Right now it’s not even a goal. All I know is what a difference writing practice has made in my life. That alone is THE greatest gift.

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This is what this sacred circle helped me do—help a beginner begin. The principles were simple: Keep your pen moving, your heart open, your belly soft, kill the “editor,” and support the collective.

Betsy Fletcher, Washington
A participant at several ClarityWorks’ writing retreats and classes, Betsy’s poem “Passion” was published by Rapid River Magazine in 2006.

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How my writing life has changed since our weekend at Lake Logan… I can still feel the peace and beauty of our circle… The writing woman—her heart may break, she may cry out in the pain of her labor, she may even bleed but finally in divine quiet, she will settle back with her sisters in the word and laugh from her gut.

Kathy Godfrey, North Carolina
Kathy teaches English at a community college and is at work on her first novel.

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Fall Lake Logan retreat was my second retreat with Peggy (my first was Seabrook last spring), and it was fabulous. I feel that during these retreats my writing moves up a notch–I trust my own voice more, go deeper, and produce. The retreats are also an amazing way to feel a part of a community of women who write!

Katherine Johnson
Katherine is a life coach living on the east coast of Maryland. She is working on a memoir of her trip to Afghanistan in the 1970s.

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I will always remember this time as a sacred circle, one in which I took a leap of faith and began to call myself a writer. No matter where this leads, I have found a way to begin and friends to share the journey.

Pat Jones, North Carolina
Pat Jones came to her first retreat in 2006 and immediately signed up for a class and a second retreat. She has written sermons and other nonfiction in her role as an Episcopal priest and active member of her Diocese. Now she is ready to venture into family stories and fiction.

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The Fearless Writing Retreat at Lake Logan (June) lifted me out of my busy everyday life, and gently transported me to the shore of a serene mountain lake. My only task for three days was to do what I had been longing to find the time and inspiration for–to write. What more could an aspiring author desire?

Sue Larmon
Sue Larmon teaches French in Western North Carolina. She is writing a historical novel based on letters from a 19th century German relative. She has attended Tell It like It Is and the June Lake Logan retreat.

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I want to let you know how rich, inspiring, nurturing the retreat was. I love your facilitation style, your ability to bring out our best into such a safe space and just love who shows up to play with you!

Corrie Woods, North Carolina
A 2-time writing retreat attendee, Corrie is also a life coach and poet.

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From Jamie’s to sea LESeabrook Island Fearless Writing Retreat

Peggy’s firm but low-key manner and her ease with method supports an environment where a writer can profit no matter her experience. Though I had been writing, my subject matter and style were narrow and growing dull and predictable. This retreat built my confidence that I can expand and develop in exciting new ways.

Ginny Cunningham

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I loved all the different prompts and different amounts of writing time. Thank you for a powerful learning experience. I believe my writing became deeper, more descriptive, and more alive. I went places in my writing that tapped sources I was not aware were there. And Peggy–you are a wonderful, gentle, yet probing and imaginative leader. I am especially grateful for the positive focus and feedback. I’ll keep coming back for more!

Katherine Johnson
Katherine is a life coach living on the east coast of Maryland.

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I’ve attended several retreats with Peggy, both in NC and across the country. Her format is perfect in every way for supporting the writer’s process, offering much more than a “room of my own.” Each morning we get the juices flowing with Group Writes from prompts and guided exercises, allowing us to suspend judgment and move out of expectations. The feedback I’ve received from the other participants has been vital in giving me perspective on my writing while providing needed encouragement in those moments of doubt. I like that there are a mix of writers at all levels of experience delving into their process, making my experience richer.

At Seabrook Island I produced two short stories that I’m developing into screenplays and a short story that evolved into a novel now in progress. The Port Townsend retreat allowed me to immerse myself in my creative process and accelerated my momentum toward my writing goals. Not only did I write pivotal scenes for my novel, but I gained clarity on the characters and the essential format of my book. I also wrote two poems and have the seeds of inspiration for two short stories that I can refine for publication.

I will be attending more retreats with Peggy. I consider them essential in any writer’s toolbox.

Heloise Jones, North Carolina
A class and writing retreat participant, Heloise has completed one novel and is working on a sequel.

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Individualized Programs With Peggy Millin