Writers! THIS is your permission slip! It’s time to devote some undivided attention to your writing.

For me, September is like the real new year. It’s when I feel MOST motivated to focus on crushing big goals and get back to WERK. My favourite feeling is being super-focused, (Pumpkin Spice Latte in hand), with a head full of ideas and the time to get them down on paper. It takes carving out time/creating space to truly conjure this feeling, but it’s so, so worth it. Here are 5 writers retreats in Ontario if you want to set aside time to get down and dirty with your writing.

Write Now Retreat (Stratford, October 22-25)

This three-day memoir-writing retreat is part of the Writers Festival of Stratford, which is a gorgeous city two hours from Toronto best known for it’s focus on theatre (…and for being the home of Justin Bieber). This retreat gets you three nights at a vintage boutique hotel, daily lectures and one-on-one time with an instructor. Get scribbling in two writing lounges, by the Avon River, or in the Shakespearean gardens. Stratford is the best.

Bright Harvest: A Weekend Writing Retreat in Southern Ontario by Firefly Creative Writing (Lake Simcoe, October 13-15)

From the heart-centered small biz Firefly Creative Writing comes this juicy retreat for peeps that want to “step out of the bustle and create mindfully, carefully and lovingly.” If you’ve got a story in your heart, a memoir in mind, or a bushel of poetry to produce, Firefly is a supportive community that’ll help you thrive. Duck out of everyday life to spend two nights in a soulful old manor (!) with ten other writers and two instructors.

Algonquin Fall Colours Writing Retreat by Quick Brown Fox (Arowhon Pines Resort, Algonquin Park, September 15-17)

It’s the last call for this wilderness writers retreat, where you can get inspired by Ontario nature (a la The Group of Seven) and write with instruction/one-on-one time with author and teacher Brian Henry. Then you can reward your efforts with some kayaking/hiking/swimming or chilling on your wood-panelled cabin’s back deck to the sound of loons.

Peele Island Book House Writing Retreat (Peelee Island, October 2-8 or self-directed)

This week-long retreat, “Genre Writing: How Story Transcends Genre,” is led by novelist/screenwriter Chuck Wendig. If genre writing is your thing, consider how two focused workshops and free writing time on scenic Peelee island could enhance your project. Or, if you fancy a more self-directed approach, book a “weekend bookhouse escape” in the five-bedroom literary-themed inn and soak in those writerly vibes.

Artscape Gibraltar Point (Toronto Island, self-directed)

This former school on 46 acres of parkland on the island is home to Toronto Artscape’s short-term studio/overnight accommodations and programmed residencies. Here, writers, artists and creatives work in old classrooms, share a big kitchen, chill on the beach and enjoy life just beyond the big smoke. This is v much a community vibe.