Writing Retreats

What are Writing Retreats? 

Writing is hard! It can also be lonely work. Sometimes we need help with our writing, and sometimes it’s just easier to be creative and to find inspiration when there are other people around. If you’re looking for a place where you can write with others and get help when you need it, you should consider coming to the Robert Gillespie Academic Skill Centre’s Virtual Writing Retreats.

Writing Retreats offer supportive spaces where we can all be part of a community of writers. In a pre-COVID world, our Writing Retreats took place in person. We’ll miss the coffee, tea, and snacks at those in-person gatherings, but there’s still a lot of good we can do as a community of writers who assemble from afar. 

Writing instructors will be present at each Writing Retreat. They’ll be working on their own writing (because everybody will be writing!), but they will also be there to help. When you attend a Writing Retreat, you can seek out assistance in the form of informal group discussions or one-on-one conversations with a writing instructor about your specific project. You can come with questions. You can come with (or without!) a draft. The Writing Retreats are spaces where writing happens in the company of others, and you might be surprised by how much of a difference that can make!

Schedule Winter 2022 via Zoom

The Winter 2022 Writing Retreat schedule and Zoom meeting information will be posted shortly. Be sure to check our website for updates to the schedule. 

Dates and Times: Zoom Meeting Info:
Tuesdays at 10 AM - 1 PM (ET), Jan. 25 - Apr. 18 Register here
Thursdays at 4 PM - 7 PM (ET), Jan. 20 - Apr. 14 Register here

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Writing Retreat Procedures for Winter 2022

  • Although you will need to register to receive the Zoom invite, you are not required to attend these sessions. 
  • Bring your questions and bring your writing.
  • Students can request one 10-minute consultations within every hour of the Writing Retreat. We strongly encourage students to use the Writing Retreat for individual writing time after consulting with a writing instructor. Keep in mind that instructors’ ability to provide individual consultations is determined in part by the number of students participating in the Writing Retreat.
  • Entry to the writing retreat will not be permitted in the last 25 minutes of the scheduled time. Please be sure to arrive before this if you want to consult with a writing instructor or do some writing in a supportive environment. 
  • Writing instructors are not editors or proof-readers. Students are responsible for correcting or revising their own work.
  • Writing instructors are not substitutes for your course instructors or Teaching Assistants (TAs). Writing instructors can only discuss your writing. Questions about course content should be directed to your course instructor or TA.
  • Writing retreats are not a substitute for one-on-one online consultations (held via WCONLINE) at the RGASC. Please visit our appointment page for more information about one-on-one online appointments.


Netiquette at Writing Retreats

  • The technical requirements for participating in a Writing Retreat are the same as those for taking online classes. Please ensure you meet these requirements before attending: https://www.viceprovoststudents.utoronto.ca/covid-19/tech-requirements-online-learning/
  • Do not over-use the chat feature of Zoom as it can become a major distraction from your writing experience. Zoom chat should only be used to share ideas or send important messages to the writing instructor.
  • Writing Retreats should be treated as opportunities to focus on writing, so conversations should be limited to your writing.  
  • Writing Retreats should be treated as a safe space to build community with other writers, so be kind and polite to other attendees.
  • We aim to limit noise and distractions during the Writing Retreats, so please mute yourself when you are not talking about your writing.
  • We encourage you to turn your video on, if possible, when engaged in one-on-one interactions with the writing instructor. Video cameras add presence and a sense of community to the Writing Retreat experience.
  • Be respectful and behave in the same way that you would if you were in an in-person class on campus. Be conscious of the sounds and images you are sharing through your audio and video and how these may be perceived by others.


Frequently Asked Questions about Writing Retreats

Q. Do I need to pay for a Writing Retreat?

A. The writing retreat is free. You only need a UTORID and password to access the University of Toronto Mississauga Zoom portal. 

Q. What do I need to participate in a Writing Retreat? 

A.  Writing Retreats take place online so you need to meet the University of Toronto’s technical requirements for online learning: https://www.viceprovoststudents.utoronto.ca/covid-19/tech-requirements-online-learning/.

Q. Do I need to bring something prepared or have a specific question?

A. Come prepared to write. This is a space where you can work on a writing assignment and have access to a Writing Instructor to support you as you write.  This is NOT a Writing Appointment drop-in.  If you are looking to book an online appointment with a Writing Instructor, please book at uoft.me/writingcentres.

Q. Are Writing Retreats silent spaces or should I expect some noise?

A. Writing instructors will engage questions that students bring to the Writing Retreat. However, break out rooms will be used as the primary space for one-on-one conversations and participants will be asked to mute themselves so noise will be kept to a minimum. 

*Remember, Writing Retreats are a great resource at any point in the writing process, so sit down, log in, and get writing!

If you have any questions regarding Writing Retreats, please email academicskills.utm@utoronto.ca.