FlashNano 2021: It’s Our 10-Year Anniversary!

Can you believe we’ve been doing this FlashNano thing for 10 YEARS???

That’s A LOT of stories!

And A LOT of prompts!

And a lot of fun.

And many others have gotten on the November bandwagon, even dedicating the month of November to flash fiction in some journals.

Wow! All from a “silly” idea 10 years ago….

So, for the 10th year running, in solidarity with our NaNoWriMo brothers and sisters, join us again for a wild November of flash fiction. We are just ONE MONTH AWAY!

What’s FlashNano???

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Find out more and sign up for FREE here:

Virtual Retreat with me this August?

Friends!

I’m inviting you to Virtual Retreat with me this August as I travel: first to write deeply alone, then to gather and teach with friends and colleagues at the long awaited and much-rescheduled French Retreat. As I know so many people have not yet been able to travel, or wanted to retreat with us and the timing didn’t work out, I’m going to be sharing more intentionally my inspirations, creative breakthroughs (hopefully!) and deep thoughts from spending too much time alone 😂 here over the next month! And yes: lots of photos. Follow along with me on Instagram or Facebook as I head into the field and search for radical inspiration, creative audacity, and send dispaches on what it’s like to travel internationally in this new reality.

Let’s do this! Follow here:

Paris, 2018

Are you ready for a Tropical Breakthrough? (TWO SPOTS LEFT)

Have you felt stuck in your writing?
Have you lost your creative spark? 
Are you missing your creative community?

Are you longing for a fresh perspective, an adventure to energize your spirit?
A creative reset that takes your writing to the next level?

Just this once would you like to say yes to yourself and your art

Tropical Breakthrough:
Restore, Renew, and Recommit to Your Writing

in COSTA RICA! 


with Kathy Fish and Nancy Stohlman

February 4-10, 2022

Dear Friends–

Over the last 18 months we’ve all learned so much about what really matters–family, health, happiness. We’ve learned we can’t take the future for granted. 

And whether you’ve been struggling to create in the face of so much uncertainty or have been flooded with strange new ideas, we’ve also gained a true appreciation for the healing, inspiring, vision-casting power of our art. 

But we are no good to anyone–including our writing–if we don’t first take care of the creative instrument: ourselves.

Join us February 4-10, 2022, as we leave the cold winter behind and journey to our own private jungle sanctuary for a breakthrough week of inspiration, creation, and transformation. 

What if you could take care of yourself, go deep into your writing, and say yes to yourself after this long year?

What if you could work with your colleagues and mentors, taking new risks with your art? 

What if you could hug your writing community again?

And what if you could do all this in beautiful COSTA RICA in the middle of winter?

What if you just need a little jolt of inspiration, some radical self-care, and a little adventure to nourish your creative heart?

Then you are going to want to find out more!

But don’t delay. There are TWO cabinas left and one of them might have your name on it! We will consider applications in the order we receive then, so if this is for you: don’t wait!

We can’t wait to travel with you!

Love,

Nancy and Kathy 


P.S. See you inside.

Traveling as a Writer: The Only Question You Need to Ask

You already know I love to travel. AND you probably know I interpret travel very loosely. Yes, I love sitting in a sidewalk café on a gorgeous sunny day with my notebook! (Yes, please!) But I also love driving alone across Nebraska, meditating on corn, clouds, and cows. I love to travel one town over and lock myself away for the weekend in a cheap hotel, diving deeply into my work (and you should try it if you never have!) Regardless of the destination, I’m always traveling as a writer. 

Not all travel is created equal for inspiration. What I’ve discovered is the best writing comes from travel that has a tiny bit of adventure—a little bit of the unknown mixed with a little mystery splashed with a little danger.

Not DANGER danger. Of course.

Just the danger of: I have no idea what to expect…and I’m going for it.

Maybe you’re traveling somewhere brand new. Maybe you’re traveling alone for the first time. Maybe you haven’t mapped out your itinerary and you’re going to “wing it” for a whole day (yes, do this!). Maybe you’re going spelunking or snorkeling or horseback riding along the central American coast (swoon!). Or maybe you’re spending the evening taking slow-motion videos of the summer carnival in your own home town.

No matter where you are you can always be an artist.

Back when I first fell in love with Hemingway, it was both his writing and his contagious curiosity about the world. His life wasan adventure!  Or at least it seemed that way. Whether he was in exotic Paris, Africa, or Cuba, or closer to home in Michigan or Idaho—it was all inspiration. It all ended up in his work. 

Influenced by Hem, I decided I would make it my goal to lead an interesting life. To say yes as much as possible. And over the decades this mindset has become second nature to me, a guiding principle in many of my life decisions. When I’m faced with possibilities, or difficulties, or uncertainties, I ask myself this very important question:

Will it make a good story?

Actually, this is a great question to ask all the time, whether you’re traveling or not.  But if you ask it while traveling specifically…you will begin to follow the road less taken. You will veer away from the crowds and down the quiet side streets…and into your next story.

Because new ideas come when we invite the unknown into our lives. They come from walking the dirt roads through local villages instead of taking the car, going to the wild beaches instead of the tourist hot spots.  They come from talking to a stranger in a strange city in a train station you will never see again.

When you travel as a writer, your heart intentionally open to revelation in all its many guises, you will be just as excited to soak up the muse whether you’re on a solo retreat or a family vacation, whether you’re in Hawaii or Omaha.

So, as you travel or consider traveling again, I invite you to travel as a writer. Whether you engage with your scheduled travel more creatively, make simple travel more inspiring, or decide to go on a future retreat with me (!) remember that as artists we are always on the clock.

And what a beautiful clock it is.


How to Travel as A Writer Wherever You Go

  1. Embrace Novelty: take risks. Eat the new food, walk the new street.
  2. Reflect on Normal: With distance, we can better see our regular lives. Away from our hometowns, we finally have perspective enough to write on what we take for granted.
  3. Carry a notebook. Writing in a notebook is also a fantastic companion when eating alone at a restaurant. (P.S.—try eating alone in a restaurant)
  4. Engage conversations with locals and strangers—real conversations. Meaningful and memorable ones.
  5. Take walks, ride bikes, and take bus/metro/train rides with no destination and no schedule. Public transportation is much more interesting. Walk whenever you can.
  6. Make art that doesn’t count. Carry a camera or a sketchpad (or a harmonica!). Engage that sense of play that comes from making art outside of your preferred genre.
  7. Remember your job: artists show us beauty and frame experiences—everything is inspiring if you want to see it that way.
  8. Create chunks of headspace to go deeper. Travel alone if you never have. (Yes, do this! More than half my travels are alone.)
  9. Make a point to see/engage with many kinds of art: museums, music, community culture (I recently went to a carnival and took photographs)
  10. Meet other writers: there is no better inspiration than surrounding yourself with other creatives.
  11. Learn some new words. Seriously. Learning a language is good for your brain, but as writers it reminds us of the plethora of new words out there.
  12. Put away the phone and step away from the internet. Look up and watch the real world go by in all its beautiful glory.

Happy Travels!

xoxo Nanc


Want to travel and write together in 2022?
New Retreat Opening Monday!

FRIENDS! Are you feeling ready to reconnect and recommit to your writing? To commune with your fellow artists again? Do you need a dose of adventure and a jolt of inspiration?

We’ve found just the place for you!

Kathy Fish and I will begin opening up our first flash fiction adventure of 2022 on Monday, July 26! These retreats sell out quickly so get first access below:

Photo by Lindsay Loucel on Unsplash

Yes, I’m interested! Put me on the list for information and first access!