August 10th – August 16th 2020

A week in the woods to nurture the writer within with Playwright & Teaching Artist

Amy E. Witting

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“There is no greater agony than bearing

an untold story inside you.”

― Maya Angelou

Unplug for seven days and six nights in the north woods of Minnesota and reconnect with the writer within. 

Writing Without Worry is a week-long residency with daily workshops geared towards leaning into your own unique writing voice.  The morning workshops will concentrate on tools for tackling a blank page and the afternoon workshops will focus on moving through already written pages.  Participants are invited to attend all workshops, but encouraged to lean into the impulse and authenticity of curating their own time.  

The week includes two daily workshops, yoga, waterfall writing, individual nature walks to clarify writing goals, nature activities, lake exploring, sauna sweating, and group sharing. Kayaks, paddle boards, and canoes are available for exploring the beautiful lake, conversing with the loons, and watching the eagles fly. The retreat culminates in a sharing of both food and words to celebrate each writer’s journey.

Accommodations feature fully equipped cabins with kitchens and lake views.  Linens and towels are provided. 

Residency week fee per person:  $795 (includes lodging, workshops, individual consulting, and four meals)

For out-of-towners, Ely is a few hours from the Minneapolis or Duluth airports.   Our instructor will help organize travel for all East Coasters and other 0ut-of-towners to keep expenses down, and help create a community caravan up to the lake.


Amy E. Witting

We all have something to write about.

We all have our own way of writing it out.

We all have our own way of getting stuck again.

We all have the possibility of getting unstuck.

We all have the ability to write.

For years I hid my writing because I was told by multiple teachers that I couldn’t write, well at least that is how I heard it.  With overwhelming red marks on creative papers for poor grammar and spelling, I missed the positive comments about the content, and let the negative noise cancel out my love for creating stories.

I felt to become a writer you must know how to write in a structural uniformed way.  You must be disciplined.  You must know what you want to write about, who your audience is, and why you are writing before you get anything onto a page.  While all of these things are important, what I didn’t realize is all writers have their own unique way of expressing their stories.  Fear was keeping me from celebrating my own unique voice.  I became a teacher to help others embrace and overcome the fear inside no matter what level you are at with your writing.

When I first discovered Tofte Lake Center five years ago, I was at a turning point in my career as a writer.  With a new Masters of Fine Arts under my belt I wasn’t sure if I could make a career out of writing.  I allowed nature to be my guide, and through the week overcame some major hurdles and took a huge step forward in my own personal writing journey.  I’m eager to share this space and meet you where you are and celebrate your own unique voice!  

Amy’s bio

AMY E. WITTING’S plays include THE HOUSE ON THE HILL (Atlantic Theater Commission, World Premiere - Contemporary American Theater Festival, NNPN Showcase, The Kennedy Center ACTF/NNPN MFA Alumni Playwrights Workshop), ANNE PAGE HATES FUN (Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries Winner; World Premiere - American Shakespeare Center), ARCHIPELAGO (PlayPenn Conference), A BAD NIGHT; A DOCUMENTARY PLAY ABOUT CONSENT (New York Rep Workshop, MTC Creative Space, June Havoc Theatre), THE MIDNIGHT RIDE OF SEAN & LUCY (Roundabout Theatre Underground Reading, Semi-finalist O’Neil Playwrights Conference), DAY 392 (The Kennedy Center ACTF/NNPN MFA Playwrights Workshop, Hunter Playwrights Week, Kilroy’s List), SUNNYSIDE IMPRESSIONS (QCA Grant), and THERE’S NEVER A GAVIN, THE TRUE STORY OF A DISCO ROLLER SKATER (Atlantic Theater Amplified Reading Series, Weissberger Award Nomination). Her plays have been developed at Playwrights Horizons, Manhattan Theatre Club Creative Space, Atlantic Theater, The Lark Play Development Center, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Tofte Lake Center, Roundabout Theatre Space Jam, National New Play Network, Abingdon Theatre, Pipeline PlayLab, The Kennedy Center, and Mission to (dit)Mars Propulsion Lab. She has been nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, Stavis Award, Theatre Visions Award, and has received the Clifford Odets Ensemble Play Commission, Actor’s Express Ensemble Commission, Jerome Foundation Fellowship, NEA Grant, Queens Council on the Arts Grant, and Anne Freedman Grant. She is a member of The Dramatists Guild, Artistic Associate with New York Rep, affiliated artist with The National New Play Network, founder of aWe Creative Group, and received her MFA in playwriting from Hunter College. While she is not writing she is busy working in the New York Public School system as a Teaching Artist where she more recently curated an original play about young immigrants called CATCH ME IN AMERICA.

Leading with love is Amy’s most important credit.