Free writing retreat in Bulgaria writing contest!

For several years I’ve been thinking about holding writing retreats or author-training events in beautiful, inspiring locations around the world. Now that I’m finally finished with my PhD (wahoo!) I’m ready to get started.

Ideally I would sell spaces and split amazing AirBnB rentals, to at least pay for my own costs -and I might do that later as well – but for the moment I think it’ll be more fun (and less work) to simply rent a place I want to live in and throw out an offer for people to join me.

To research my own books, this year I’ll be heading to Sophia Bulgaria and some Thracian sites in the Rhodope mountains; the ancient site of Delphi in Greece; and Portballintrae, Ireland to see Dunlace Castle and the Giant’s Causeway.

Rather than booking a cheap hotel or being crammed into a hostel, I want to rent inspiring, beautiful places that make me excited to get out of bed and spend all day writing and enjoying the view. For example, this place in Ogled Bulgaria is as beautiful as it is impractical: as far as I can tell, there is no internet, it’s hard to access without a car (and even then), and it’s in a tiny town with possibly a little store or market but not much else.

bulgaria writing retreat

I was planning on renting it all for just my wife and I, but that’s kind of a waste of the two other bedrooms. There’s not a lot of shared communal space it looks like, other than that main table, so we might get a little stir crazy together. But the view though!

It would make a lot more sense to rent THIS amazing place near Delphi for a month or THIS massive place or THIS incredible complex of castle-ruins in France for a week, and have more people and more space: I’ll probably do those too later. If I was doing a real, serious, professional writing retreat, I’d need to figure out food and transportation and we’d probably need internet.

That’s not what this is.

I just really want to stay in this completely unreasonable apartment in the middle of nowhere for awhile, and since it has extra rooms, you can come stay there too if you want.

writing retreat

This will be a writing and work retreat: while I can help you out with book marketing and building a platform and the craft of writing, and we’ll probably take some amazing day trip adventures, you’ll be expected to spend a LOT of time quietly pounding away on your own books or projects while I work on mine.

You can come stay a week, for free, probably the first week in September.

I think I can arrange to have the host prepare and cook us meals, but this will definitely not be resort living (again, it would be smarter to just rent nice hotel rooms in the nearby Pamporovo resort area and get a buffet breakfast, pool and gym, plus plenty of space.)

You’ll need to get to Ogled, Bulgaria (or very nearby so I can pick you up) on your own. I imagine for most people, this offer will be interesting but not really that attractive… for some of you, though, I think it might sound like an ideal opportunity for an epic experience (and if you’re already in the UK or Europe, a flight to Bulgaria won’t cost that much).

In the future, I’m interested in developing the kind of co-working and co-living businesses that are popping up right now for digital nomads (check out this post) but focused on writers rather than coders or designers.

How will it work?

This isn’t exactly a “writing contest” though I hope to do more of those later… instead we’ll keep it super simple:

Comment down below on why you want to come and what you’d work on during your one week stay. It can be fiction of non-fiction. I’ll help you (if you want) map it out or plot it, and keep you focused on getting a great deal of work done. You probably can’t finish a whole book in a week, but you could get a lot done… or, if you’ve written a book and it needs editing, this might be the right setting and environment to help with that.

Please also comment with a link to your website or email (sometimes I read comments and there is no way to track you down afterwards). If you don’t want to share that info, add your Facebook or Twitter handle and I can find and contact you.

Please only apply if you can seriously make this happen (getting here, taking a week off, etc.) If this one isn’t for you, don’t worry – I’m going to be doing more stuff like this from now on. Sign up on my email list if you haven’t already so you don’t miss out on future opportunities.

Finally if you think this is a fun idea and would like to see more giveaways like this, please share!

About Derek Murphy

Derek Murphy is a book designer with a Ph.D. in Literature. He's been featured on CNN and spoken at dozens of writing conferences around the world. These days he mostly writes young adult fantasy and science fiction, while helping authors build profitable publishing platforms. Find me

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