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The Teen Writing Workshop

October 26 October 30

So you’re a teen and you love writing? You love creating characters, imagining new worlds, and dreaming up stories? Explore the writer within in this workshop.

The Himalayan Writing Retreat is hosting a Teen Writing Workshop from Oct 26-30, 2022. The earlier ones were sold out and much enjoyed by parents and kids.

To participate, you should be between 13 – 16 years of age. (writers 17 and above can participate in the Creative Writing Workshop) . 

The workshop is custom built for teen writers. You learn the framework for writing a good story or novel. You work closely with a writing coach and get personalized attention. You write. You share. You get feedback. And you become a better writer.

Can a 3 – day workshop make me a writer?

Expecting a writing workshop to make you a great writer is like expecting a six-pack after your first workout at a gym. 

Writing is a continuous process. You evolve every day. It needs a lot of patience, consistency, dedication, and practice.

This workshop introduces you to the craft of writing. You understand the various elements of the craft – basic skills, good practices & tools for writing and editing. Taking the metaphor of carpentry, you will learn to cut wood in straight lines, and hammer nails without bending them. But to make that perfect table will take a lot of hard work even after the workshop is done. In this workshop you will put together a few elements which will help you write a great story. But not the finished work – that table.  That will need you to diligently work on after the workshop.

This workshop is also a great place to start your journey as a writer because you join a reading & writing community. Fellow participants remain connected and support each other in their writing journeys. The First Draft Club and the Himalayan Book Club help you move your writing along. You have the means to find a writing buddy ( maybe one of your co-participants? Or a club member?) to help you work along.

The Himalayan Workshop sessions are held in the open or in the book lounge. Some meals maybe served in the open too if the weather is good. The outdoors are a very inviting and inspiring here.

We only accept a total of ten applicants in one workshop on a first-come first-served basis. To apply for this course, please click the blue button below and fill out the application. If accepted, you can pay the fees to secure your spot.

The price is INR 26,000 for each participant and INR 16,000 for each accompanying adult. These prices include your stay, meals and taxes

Chetan Mahajan

Chetan Mahajan leads this non-fiction book writing course. Chetan has spent two decades working in on-line learning, both in the US and India. He started teaching online in 2006 as a faculty member at the University of Phoenix online.

Chetan is a Penguin-published author and an award-winning blogger. Chetan and his wife Dr. Vandita Dubey (also a published author) moved to the Himalayas six years ago. There they founded the Himalayan Writing Retreat.

non-fiction book writing course

Chetan Mahajan, Writing coach

Chetan is a full-time author and works as a  writing coach independently as well as with the London based the writing coach.  He also writes for The MintOutlook Magazine, HT BrunchReader’s Digest and Hindu Business Line


Read two short stories we send you. Also, keep your favourite book (Fiction / Narrative Non-fiction) handy. 

Day 0 Arrive any time . You can take the train up here or drive. Please be aware that cars cannot come up to the property and parking is a short walk from the retreat.

The following

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 the day 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 analyze 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?

Day 4  

Participants leave after a sumptuous breakfast.

The Himalayan Writing Retreat is built for writing and learning. We are rated 5-star on google and facebook.

Once here, you will be sharing a room with a fellow participant (unless we’ve confirmed a single). All essentials like food, hot water, towels etc. are provided. No hidden costs.

Book lounge snow winter
The Book Lounge on a Snowy day.

It can snow in winter. Weather can vary and the weather chart of Mukteshwar (12 km from the retreat) is here. A pair of sturdy walking shoes, some rain protection and an extra layer or two are always a good idea.

Our rooms are built to let nature in and inspire you. To see pictures of the rooms click here . To see pictures of the writing spaces click here

Depending upon where you travel in from, you can reach us by road, train or air. Even if flying or taking a train, the final stretch is a drive, and the last 150 metres is a walk.

By Road

The retreat is a 370 km/9 hours drive from Delhi. If driving, we recommend you leave early. Note that parking at the retreat is on the road – we do not have any private parking. We have limited driver accommodation, so please check in advance.

Overnight Volvo buses ply between Haldwani and Delhi, the more reliable of which are government operated. You con book those here. Private Volvos and Sleeper buses also ply between Delhi and Haldwani, which you can book on redbus. Make sure you pick a bus with a high (4+) rating.

By Train

There are three trains a day from Delhi to Kathgodam, the nearest train station. Some others also come in from Kolkata, Lucknow and Dehradun. From Delhi, Ranikhet Express is a convenient overnight train both ways, but finding tickets can be difficult. 

Most people prefer to take the Kathgodam Shatabdi (Delhi dep: 6.20 AM, Kathgodam Arr: 11.40 AM). A cab from Kathgodam to Satkhol takes about 2.5 hrs / Rs. 2200 (more for a big car). Cabs are often shared by participants. 

By Air

There are daily flights from Delhi to Pantnagar. A cab from Pantnagar to Satkhol takes about 3.5 hr / Approx INR 4K.

There are direct flights from Mumbai and Bangalore to Bareilly 3-4 days a week. Satkhol is a 5hr / INR 5.5k cab ride from Bareilly. (More for a big car). Cabs are often shared by participants.

General Queries on Workshop

1. What can one expect from the Teens Writing course?

This workshop is a great entry point to learn the nuances of writing, with course content, examples and reading picked especially for young writers.

The workshop is custom-built for teen writers. You learn the framework for writing a good story or even a book. You work closely, in real-time with a writing coach. You write in a group with 9 other teens. You share. You get feedback. And then you write better.

2. I write in my mother tongue which is not English. Can I attend this workshop?

Yes, you can. We have had participants before who write in Bengali, Punjabi, and Tamil. However, the medium of instruction is English, as are the class readings, etc. So some proficiency in English is essential. 

3. I have never written before. But I want to write a story. Can I attend this workshop?

Yes, you can attend this workshop. However, we do insist on a writing sample to be sent along your application. This is to help us understand you better and also as a fit for this workshop. The writing sample can be anything that you consider is your best piece of writing till date. A poem, an essay or an email – all of these can be your writing sample.

4. What should I do after I have applied for the workshop?

Look forward to an email from namrata@himalayanwritingretreat.com on the status of your application. Do check your spam folders also. To avoid missing out on any important communication from us, please add this email to your safe senders’ list. 

5. What is the process after applying for the workshop?

Once you are accepted into the workshop, you are requested to confirm your slot within a day by paying your fees. In the absence of the payment, your spot may be released to another applicant as we accept only a limited number of participants in the workshop. 

6. What is the pre-work?

Pre-work is a recommended reading material sent by Chetan Mahajan to all the participants before the workshop. It can be 2-3 short stories which he will further discuss and analyze in the workshop. The pre-work is shared a few days before the workshop to give you ample time to go through it.

7. Is the pre-work mandatory?

Yes, it is mandatory.

8. Can I decide which sessions to attend and pay accordingly?

The workshop has a sequential structure. Each day builds on the previous one, and sessions are often connected. Ideally, you should attend the full workshop to get the most out of it. You cannot cherry-pick sessions you’re interested in or pay part of the fees.

9. What if I miss out on any of the sessions for personal reasons?

Our sessions are live and not recorded. Hence, in case you miss out on any of the sessions, there is no way you can attend it again except perhaps ask any of the other participants to brief you on those topics.

10. Is there any hand-holding or continued support from HWR after the workshop? 

At HWR we believe in supporting and encouraging writers. After attending the teens writing workshop, the participant becomes a part of a group of teens interested in writing. They continue to stay connected over email and WA, and soften connect privately through other channels (email is for old people). They often work together in pairs or as a writing group. The close bond formed from the shared experience means you share, get feedback, become beta readers, critique each other’s works, and much more. 

In addition, we run events like the Himalayan First Draft Club and the Himalayan Book Club. The first draft club helps writers set a goal for themselves and write aggressively for an entire month. The Himalayan book club is a forum where members get free books to read and review. We do ask that members write reviews of the books we send them.

We also have our Facebook group “Let’s talk writing” which alums can join. There we talk about writing and nothing else.  

11. What should I do to get the most from the Teens Writing Workshop? 

Firstly, participate diligently, and throw yourself into the process with an open mind. 

If you can, try and keep a few days in hand to write after the course is done. Don’t jump right back into your daily grind after the workshop. A few participants who have attended the physical workshop at the retreat have locked themselves up for days after the workshop and focused 100% on their writing. They have reported massive progress. Try and implement a virtual equivalent of that. Staying focused on your writing immediately after the workshop helps you apply what you learn.

The Teens Writing Course will fill you with inspiration and ideas. Tapping into that energy and enthusiasm right after the workshop can be magical. So if you can, stay on for some time after the workshop – either with us or elsewhere. We offer a great deal for participants wanting to stay on (if attending in person, of course).

If participating online, try and create some time post the workshop to work on your writing. 

12. Can I reach out to Chetan Mahajan after the workshop? 

Working one-on-one is very time-intensive, and Chetan cannot afford to do it free. 

He works as a writing coach with a few individual authors – mostly from abroad. His coaching calendar is full right now. The details for it can be found HERE. You can go through this and reach out in case you wish to consider working with him as your Writing Coach.

13. Does HWR help a participant get published?

Our workshops are about exploring the art of crafting great stories. We do discuss publishing and the various options available for writers in India. Our blog is a great resource for anyone who wants to explore the publishing process in India at length. 

However, we do not provide any assistance in getting published for the participants.

Queries related to Accommodation and Facilities

Could you please share a bit more information about the accommodation provided to our family and the associated facilities?

You will all share a room as a unit with an attached bath. We are a full-service boutique hotel and are highly rated on google. Pictures of rooms and our lounge where we eat and hold sessions can be seen HERE.

2. While my child is in the workshop, what are the options available for the accompanying adults to utilize our time?

You can explore the local area, go for walks, read and chat with other parents. If you would like to explore, you can rent a car for 1-2 days and visit the attractions in the area like Mukteshwar (45 mins drive) to the Jageshwar temple complex (2.5 hours), etc.

3. While your website provides information on the travel and logistics to reach you, will you be able to help with some specifics of travel and logistics? We are not at all familiar with this part of India and have never visited not have any contacts and any help will be appreciated. For e.g. we may need help in arranging a trusted pickup from either Pantnagar airport or Kathgodam railway station.

Yes, we will help and guide you with all travel-related information. We will also help you coordinate with other people traveling for the same event.

4. What the expected weather conditions there during the workshop time?

Lows are around mid-teens and highs are in the mid-20s. we are at an altitude so the sun can be hot, but a shower can bring temperatures down. At that time there will be fruits on the trees that the kids (and you) can pluck and eat. The chart in the link below for Mukteshwar is the nearest published proxy (it is close by but 1000 ft higher) for our village, Satkhol. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mukteshwar#Climate

5. I have noticed the cancellation policies on your website. Due to the unpredictability and uncertainty of the pandemic situation, anything can happen and there can travel restrictions in either origin, destination, or transit during this time. So will you be considerate of that and flexible with the cancellation policies?

The Cancellation policy applies in ordinary circumstances. However, if the government bans travel/ does a lockdown / prevents interstate travel, etc. then we will hold your full credit and you can apply it for any future event or even a vacation. Furthermore, if travel is permitted but you decide not to travel, then the policy will apply.

All participants & parents are required to bring a negative RTPCR report, or proof they have had both shots. If the RTPCR test result is positive for anyone in your party, again, we will hold your credit for a future event.

Have more questions? Feel free to write to us at namrata@himalayanwritingretreat.com or connect with us at +91 73035 16665 (Call/ WA/Signal).

Event Summary


October 26
October 30
Event Category:

Additional Guests, Single room and Cancellation Policy:

Additional Guests may stay with participants, subject to availability. Their stay is charged at a rate of INR 4000 per night including meals and taxes for a shared room.

Single rooms can be requested but are subject to availability. The additional cost for a single room is 3000 per night including meals and taxes.

100% refund if cancellation 4 weeks before event start date, 50% if cancellation is done two weeks before start date, 0% if less than two weeks before start date.

If participants test positive for Covid-19 before travel (RTPCR Report Required), full credit will be held for six months for any future event, subject to availability.

Village Satkhol
District Nainital, Uttarakhand 263138 India
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+91 73035 16665