The Himalayan Writing Bootcamp – 4-8 Dec, 2019

Bootcamp #1 - Oct 2016

Bootcamp #2, April 2017

Bootcamp #8, Oct 2018

Bootcamp #9, Feb 2019

Note: The bootcamp scheduled for Nov 30-Dec 4 is sold out and registrations are closed. Due to to multiple applications still pouring in, we have scheduled a bootcamp on Dec 4-8. This is also filling up quickly. If you're keen to join, please apply immediately.


Writing ​ - like anything else - starts with desire. You have something to say - a story to tell. But too many unanswered questions can make things seem difficult. What should you write? How should you write it? How will you hook the reader – make sure your writing won't drag? Will your readers judge you? (Ans : yes). Should you try to impress or ignore them?  What are the publishing options? Once published, how do you market?

Thinking of all these questions together is like trying to eat an entire meal in one gulp. At the Bootcamp, we break the massive meal into small, digestible chunks. Here we break these difficult questions down for the novice/ intermediate level writer.  You get the answers, you write, and the big daunting meal turns into a feast. Or at least something you can tackle.

The Himalayan Writing Bootcamp is our most popular course.  You learn and you write. A lot. ​You learn by doing. You dig into aspects of a good book - plot, character, dialogue, voice (First person or third? Or second person like this paragraph?) and much more. You learn the rather critical art of editing, and realize how much unnecessary, extra and pompous verbosity we habitually stuff into our writing. Okay, now lets edit that: You learn the rather critical art of editing, and realize how much unnecessary, extra and pompuous verbosity we habitually stuff into our writing. You learn tools: For editing, for writing better and for disciplining yourself as a writer.

Eight or nine of you do all this collectively - as "we". We understand the writing landscape of India. We get to know the various players – writers, publishers, literary agents. We dissect the publishing industry and understand how technology is changing it. A detailed, day-wise break-up of the Bootcamp is shared below. We learn to notice unnecessary use of passive voice, like in the previous sentence. It could have been “We’ve shared a day-wise program below”. We learn how to clean up our writing.

Participants love this Bootcamp. They say nice things.  And they write - six books have been completed, and many more are in the works. ​To read about the books HWR has helped along, click here.

When: 4-8 Dec, 2019

​Level: Novice - Intermediate writer (Advanced writers, please consider the Masterclass​ instead)

Who: Chetan Mahajan, a Penguin published author and award-winning blogger,  leads this workshop. (For instructor profile, click here or scroll down.)

Where: The Himalayan Writing Retreat, Satkhol Village. Uttarakhand - 263138 (India). Details here.

How much : INR 25,000 ( 3 days, 4 nights of learning, twin-sharing stay, food and taxes). Click here for our Cancellation Policy.

Note: Single occupancy is subject to availability at an additional cost of 8k. If this is a prerequisite (e.g. if you snore loudly, have sleep apnea or talk gibberish in your sleep) then​ please mention it clearly in the application. 

We only accept ten applicants on a first-come first-serve basis. To apply, please click the blue button below and fill out the application. If accepted, you can pay 50% to secure your spot and pay the balance two weeks before the event. 

Participants saying nice things

About the Instructor

Chetan Mahajan

Chetan Mahajan is the co-founder of the Himalayan Writing Retreat. A Penguin-published author, he quit the corporate world and moved to a village in the Himalayas to be a full-time author and blogger over four years ago. The Himalayan Writing Retreat is all about helping people with their writing. Chetan blogs about living in the mountains here.  His blog won the Indiblogger award for humour. He is also a writing coach with the London based the writing coach​.

Detailed Program

The typical schedule starts with a day of travel for you to get here.

Day 0 (4th Dec)

Arrive. Walk. Chat. Mingle. See a starlight night sky.

We get to know each other that evening. We may also talk about the very basis of writing: Why do we write? What motivates us? Who do we write for? A fireside can be great for such a conversation.

Day 1

Aspects of good writing. Plot, Character, Point of view and much more.

We dig into the aspects of a good book, and spend time on Plot and Character in depth.

In Plot, we go over various frameworks of plot, and how they apply to some contemporary writings, such as Harry Potter. How a good plot leads to a strong narrative. In Character, we explore what characters are, their different types, how they are built, and so on.

Point of view is a big decision - will you write in first-person? Third ? Or will you write from Multiple points of view? We will do voice-writing exercises in pairs to help the writer get into someone else’s shoes and write.

Day 2

Description & Setting, Clean language, Editing, The project of writing.

We understand exactly what Description & Setting is. We do visioning and focusing activities to make our descriptions and settings more vivid.

We then discover some of the bad writing habits we pick up young, and the ways to unlearn them. We learn to omit needless words and write clean.

Editing cannot be over-emphasized. Good writers do it over and over again. We understand why, and explore some tools which can help.

Next, we dig into the project of writing: how to plan a book and write it. We learn new ways to do away with distractions and create focus. We close by looking at tools - both offline and tech - specific to writing.

We review the book writing plans of those keen on sharing. We tweak the plans where required and understand the committed milestones and dates.

Day 3

Writers block, Publishing options, Marketing your book.

We discuss strategies based on research on creativity from the field of psychology. We write more. From figuring out how to “think outside the box” to ways of dealing with the famous writer’s block, we put science to good use. We build on the authors’ toolkit.

We spend Day 3 doing a reality check. Publishing and marketing a book requires a very different set of skills from writing a book. We explore those. We understand the options for publishing available to a first-time author. For analyse the economics of traditional and self publishing, their pros and cons. We learn what a literary agent does, and if you should sign up with one.

We discuss what it takes to market a book. Does Social Media have a role? What are good - and bad - ways to get reviews?

We close with a case study of an idea and how it became a successful book.

Day 4 (8th Dec)

We cover any open items this morning. We click group pictures, start feeling prematurely nostalgic. A few people may cry. We close the retreat with all participants sharing feedback (not enough Nutella?).

We end by 10.30 AM so that people needing to board the Shatabdi can make it well on time.