7 things I learned living in a castle for Nanowrimo

We spent the last two weeks in Castle Rappottenstein, Austria. It’s hard for either words or pictures to do the experience justice, so in the post I’ll also share some of the less obvious benefits of hosting writing retreats in castles.

But first, here’s a video tour with some last minute Nanowrimo tips.


I don’t always do Nanowrimo, and a few years ago even thought I was “done” with it – but there is something miraculous about a shared deadline, a common goal, and physical proximity with other writers who are also maniacally devoted to increasing their word count. I usually sleep in, so by the time I woke up the other authors were already at several thousand words for the day and I had to catch up. Being so productive is exhausting, and I think we were all pretty burnt out by the end of it – though we’re also all happy about the progress we managed to make during the stay.

However, the benefits of co-living or co-working retreats far exceeds the personal productivity. The real boons are the exploratory conversations that lead in novel directions; conversations where a linear combination of creative insertions builds up to something truly remarkable, that couldn’t have been realized contained in only one mind, without external influence and steering.

Some of our greatest insights came when taking a day tour, driving through the mist to explore ruins nearby; or during a late night game of poker; or over dinner. Multi-individual progress. I love teaching authors how to write and publish bestsellers, but I don’t know everything – I was able to help them out with covers, subtitles and taglines, or story generation – but I learned a lot too.

However, I’m still processing everything and my brain is half-dead from creative overload and travel (we just landed in Bansko, Bulgaria)… so I’ll update this post with my top lessons soon. In the meantime, here are some pictures, and the guest list below.




Jay Tinsiano writes thrillers, apocalypse and sci-fi fiction with multiple novels under his ammo belt. For NaNoWriMo, Jay is adding a third book to his Frank Bowen thriller series with plans to publish in early 2018.








Ingrid Seymour loves, loves, loves to write. She’s a young and new adult author. She writes in a variety of genres including romance, urban fantasy, paranormal and horror. She loves pizza and sushi, Sunkist and gum. She believes in vampires, witches, but not zombies (uh-uh, never!) She writes to loud music, daydreams constantly and spends too much time in twitter!! Find her there?







Nathan Rose is a bestselling author with a strong interest in alternative finance, history, philosophy, technology trends and global citizenship. He writes with an engaging, informed style. His role models as an author are Michael Lewis, Nassim Taleb and Robert Greene. Nathan is a digital nomad with a home base in Tbilisi, Georgia. Outside of writing, he enjoys motorbiking, chess, climbing hills and conversations with others living uncommon lives. http://citizensoftheworld.io




Derek Murphy lives in castles and writes dark fantasy and technothrillers. He’s also got a PhD in Literature that collects dust on the shelf next to his books, macabre Halloween decorations and a toy stun ray that makes inappropriate noises. He writes fiction at www.UrbanEpics.com, and helps authors and artists create work that matters at www.creativindie.com.






Bradley Charbonneau’s life drastically changed when he accepted a challenge to Write Every Day for a month. He was familiar with monthly challenges like weight loss or waking up early, but the difference this time was that this one was close to his heart. What happened next changed his life in ways he could have never imagined. Bradley writes motivational self-help, as well as children’s literature. He tells inspiring stories at http://repossible.com






Gavin Reese spends most weekends and holidays in a patrol car, and is honored to protect and serve the public in this manner. His ongoing training and experience in areas such as Patrol, Narcotics, Undercover Operations, Counter-Terrorism, Sex and Human Trafficking, S.W.A.T., and Dark Web Investigations provide an ever-growing queue of ideas and stories for his fact-based fiction. Visit – www.gavinreese.com



1 Comment

  • Suz Korb Posted

    Oh my word. No pun intended. I’ve never been on a writing retreat with other authors, let alone in a castle! I’d love to someday though.

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