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What people have to say...

about Writing Workshops

Julia is a masterful writer and teacher. Her workshop was the perfect environment to finish my book.

Heather Greer

I had been struggling with my project for over a year and made more progress in the ten weeks than in all the preceding months.  I started with a story to tell but without the skills to make it real.  I finished with a sense of direction and having for the first time experienced satisfaction with what I had written.  I will be back for the next session and look forward to the continued support of a group that provides loving and constructive feedback. 
Thanks, Julia!

Rosette Evans

Dr. Julia Barclay-Morton most excellently encourages, nurtures and guides the writer through the writing process as well as the roadblocks that assail on the creative path. Julia gets your manuscript on its way!

Wendy Coyle

I have been looking for a supportive writing workshop that gives honest, constructive feedback.  I have found even more with Julia's Uptown Writing Group--a wonderfully smart and connected group of writers who inspire me to push myself.

Corinne O'Shaugnnessy

Julia is brilliant and sensitive-she’s created the perfect environment to support my writing. Her insights and suggestions have allowed me to trust my voice and further my writing into deeper levels. Her workshop style is intuitive and stimulating.

Wanda Garcia

The workshop Julia Barclay-Morton leads was the missing element from my writing.  I could stare at a piece of my writing for 1000 years and never see the things that this encouraging group of peers sees at once. No matter our skill level, all of us can become better writers—and Julia’s workshop is a great way to get there.

Derek McGee

Testimonials: Testimonials

What people have to say....

about Coaching and Manuscript Reviews

Julia and I met during a month long yoga teacher training program. As we introduced ourselves to each other, she said something about her work as a writing coach. My first thought was the Universe was poking a bit of fun at me for procrastinating so long on a memoir that had been a long time goal, by giving me a writing coach for a roommate.

After several months of Julia's coaching, I can see progress in both my project and in the way I think about what I’m doing. She is enormously talented and skillful in both reading the content, but also seeing the deeper questions that should be asked. Sometimes Julia will read my work, and ask the most elegantly basic questions—which sometimes overturn my views on what I remember versus what was actually happening. She knows how tricky it can be to work with personal memories, and I’ve experienced more than mere writing coaching. It’s as though Julia has been guiding me through a much deeper and comprehensive analysis, which has been personally transformative. Healing through writing is a yoga of sorts, and I’m very grateful Julia is patiently coaching me as I continue to work on my project.

I recommend Julia for writers of all levels, she clearly has a very effective coaching style, and is a joy to work with. 

Dr. Ruth Schleifer

I'd been stuck on a book project for five-plus years until I realized Julia Lee Barclay-Morton could help me — and I expect to have a proposal to my agent by later winter or early spring. Working with her in November changed everything. My book went from something I just wanted to finish and get off my plate to something I can imagine being proud of, something I actually want to write and bring into the world. Writing a book *seems* like a thing you do alone. And maybe that works for some folks. For me, having Julia in my corner is my secret weapon, and I never want to have to power through without her again. If your writing project needs a secret weapon, too, I'm willing to share.

Dr. Orna Izakson, ND, RH

Julia’s chapter by chapter manuscript review of my novel was insightful, comprehensive, constructive and extremely useful. I was impressed by the depth, breadth and specificity of her comments, addressing large structural and character issues while not missing small things like typos and tiny inconsistencies. She worked very productively with me on the follow-up phone call, helping me to fully understand her concerns and brainstorm ways to address them. In short, her manuscript review was worth every penny, and I wouldn’t hesitate to use her services again.

Susan Cook-Abdallah

I hired Julia Barclay-Morton as a manuscript reviewer for my long, sprawling novel. It was a complicated story with many characters. In addition to answering the many questions that I posed about continuity and character development, she gave me a thorough rundown of problems in tone, language usage, and plot. Not only that, Julia showed me what was right about the novel and how to bring out the best aspects. She was a pleasure to work with. Being an editor/writer/teacher herself, Julia has a keen eye and excellent ear. I cannot recommend her services enough.

Elisa DeCarlo

Julia Lee Barclay-Morton is a gifted editor, writer, reviewer. I hired her for her manuscript review services and am so pleased with her work, relentless in exposing the problems--and pointing toward solutions--in a problem-laden and complex manuscript. I highly recommend her. Your project would be in good hands and you would learn much to apply in future new work. Thank you, Julia

Vicky Gundrum

Julia has been a great help to me. Not only does she provide meaningful directions, she also is there with amazing support and encouragement. Very grateful to work with her.

George Horton

Testimonials: Testimonials

What people have to say...

about Writing Retreats

I signed up for the writing retreat in Westray dragging with me a creative project I’ve been working on for the last three or four years. I hoped a period of focused writing somewhere away from my daily routine would help me commit to the work and see a path through the project. I was amazed at the extent to which my expectations were fulfilled — the silent writing time during the day gave me the space to experiment and just get words on the page, the excellent feedback from the talented group of fellow writers during evening workshops helped me refine my work, gave me confidence in my voice and encouraged me develop ideas to shape the project as a whole. The spectacular surroundings, including the deserted Maes Sand beach, the cows, puffins, and resident dog, donkey and horses were magic on top of the creative experience. As was the optional yoga and meditation Julia led daily throughout the retreat. I’m intending to return to Westray for the 2020 retreat. An utterly inspiring experience.

Dr. Katie Beswick

The island of Westray, where there are more cows than people is beautiful and wild and a perfect place to write for two weeks. The small group allowed each writer to have ample time to share writing each evening and receive feedback from all the workshop members. One of the best things was the quality of feedback I received which was consistently astute and useful. I got many practical notes, which I was able to implement into my writing. 

The silent period of the day allowed for total immersion in my writing. The schedule of day writing and evening workshops meant I had big chunks of time in which to write. This was one of the best things about the retreat. 

The ocean, the cows, the lambs, taking walks, bird watching were all nurturing as was the chance to do group yoga and meditation. 

It was wonderful, excellent and I want to do it again!!

Professor Marietta Hedges

I arrived in Westray with a manuscript that needed time and space to review and revise. I wasn’t sure how much I would get done in the ten days I was there, how quickly I would adjust to the people and the place. But the minute I stepped foot in the magical house that is called The Manse, I felt every condition I needed to make the most of the retreat fall perfectly into place. Each morning started with a gentle yoga class and meditation guided by Julia. Each writing day was full of respectful silence and cozy nooks to work. And each evening came with wonderful feedback from and conversation with my fellow writers. If I were to describe what I got out of the experience in one sentence, I would say it is where my story became a book and where I developed a deeper confidence in myself as a writer. Thank you, Julia, for the care and skill you brought to every moment of our time together. It will stay with me always.

Heather Greer

This retreat was all I hoped it would be. In a historic and comfortable home, in a breathtaking pastoral landscape, amid companionable silence during a day that could begin with a grounding hour of yoga and meditation, and with intelligent, encouraging feedback during evening workshop from Julia and my fellow writers, I could be/feel/hear myself and experience deep immersion in writing. I have never worked more steadily or with less anxiety, nor been more productive. Julia has shaped a true idyll for committed writers who want peace, quiet, and just the right amount of supportive structure.

Lisa Kaufman

The island continues to shimmer in my mind - it was there, and with you all, that I faced the necessity of surfacing with all of this, of becoming visible. 

The retreat gave me a rare place of stillness in which to hear my voice and my profound connection to the landscape, to feel the shape of it. Important to this was being able to live alongside others, all there to dedicate time to their writing, holding to silence in the day in an atmosphere of encouragement.

Jules Bradbury

I have been spending some time each morning on my writing since I returned. While I was completely overcome with the beauty of Westray so much so that I just wanted to be a spectator of the ever-changing sky, birds, mommy, daddy and baby cows and sheep, white sands and the sea meeting the shore, I have somehow returned with some need and inspiration to write while sitting on the couch with an air-conditioner that is constantly turning itself on and off, more on than off.

To expect: Continuity in schedule and quiet hours to create, write, and be inspired, to gaze out the many windows of a lovely and warm 600 year-old history filled manse, encouragement from a small yet mighty group of writers who just could become lifelong friends, the ultimate gift of time for your craft in a space so beautiful - expect your breath to be taken away often and your soul to be stirred. Expect to return to this place in your mind often after you board the ferry to head for home. Expect tears as the ferry pulls away from the dock.

Don’t expect: Continuity in the color of the skies; it is far too dramatic, a typical blue ocean; it’s far too layered in ombre colors of blue and green, typical wildflowers; for they thrive in unusual places in colors so vibrant, typical farmscape; for these curious cows and sheep roam on the greenest grass on quiet rolling hills, a small town feel; for the people of Westray embody community, warmth, and friendliness.

Susan Miller-Taylor

The island is truly a place to breathe and be inspired. The only things to distract you from your writing are the rustle of wind through tall green grass, the crashing of cold waves against the pristine white sand beach, and the antics of curious-eyed farm animals. Each morning I would do gentle yoga with Julia, make a cup of tea, take a seat at my desk, watch through my window as the horse and donkey grazed in the foreground while seabirds plummeted into the vast blue ocean in the background, and just write. I would break up my work sessions with walks or runs through the farmland around the house, stopping at every turn to say “oh my god this is the most beautiful thing I have ever THIS is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” With communal quiet hours in the house and timid wifi that offered no possibility of a Netflix binge, the normal interruptions and excuses neglect my writing disappeared. And as an added plus, the salmon in Westray was really, really, seriously really good.

Galen Corey

This writing retreat pulls you away from all the distractions of every day life and creates a gorgeous, peaceful space within which to create. I loved the location of course. I also appreciated the discipline of having quiet hours. I need that structure to feel I can safely go off the rails with writing if I want. So in summary, it’s a beautiful, remote, structured experience that inspires creative freedom.

Jill Nierman

The writer's workshop at the Manse on Westray Island (Orkney Islands / Scotland) was an extraordinary experience, and I would highly recommend it.  Julia led the workshop with a light touch and provided an atmosphere that encouraged creativity.  Most evenings, the group gathered to read their recent work and to give comments and constructive feedback to each other.  The location of the retreat is so much more amazing than any words could describe.  The house is comfortable and there are multiple places to write, if you’re the type of person that can’t sit in one place for too long.  The surrounding area is populated with many more cows and sheep than people, and the quiet roads and the nearby beach just beg you to walk and meditate.  The sea and the weather change constantly.

Marie Leithauser

My time at the writing retreat was amazing. When considering committing to the retreat, I was worried that I may travel a great distance and then not be able to write. But I think that would be impossible in the circumstances you find yourself in. Surrounded by intense beauty in a nurturing and serious community, the words just flowed. I was able to finally begin putting on paper ideas that had been swirling in my head for years. I will treasure this experience forever.

Corinne O'Shaughnessy

Being on this retreat was more inspiring than I could have imagined. There is something in the air in Westray that gets one’s creative juices flowing and remains a part of your soul long after you bid the breathtaking landscape and wonderful people farewell…

Felice Neals

Julia's retreat was a wonderful experience. It gave me the peace and communal support to be able to focus and make an amazing amount of headway with my writing.

Dr. Sarah Sigal

Testimonials: Testimonials

What people have to say...

about Kripalu Gentle Yoga Classes

I want to tell you how much I appreciate your Kripalu yoga classes. I was hesitant to try yoga because I was afraid of injuring myself and/or looking ridiculous, but I found that the clear guidance and individual options you offer in class made yoga eminently doable for me. It’s also been a surprise to find that gentle yoga can have such beneficial effects. Since I began the practice, I’ve noticed subtle and not-so-subtle positive changes in my balance, strength, agility, and serenity. I also appreciated the workshop with its introduction to the foundations of Kripalu and illustration of how yoga can be an integral part of daily living. I’m so glad you are offering classes again in February. I hope that this is the beginning of a lifelong practice.

Donna Craig

I am new to Kripalu yoga so thank you for bringing me on this adventure.

I recently had cervical spine surgery. I have difficulty with walking and balance - no pain. In the past I have tried other yoga classes and have found that I cannot keep pace with the class.  I really believe the stretching and mindfulness that are highlighted in this class will be good for me.

Elizabeth McKee

Julia's yoga class was just what I needed. Stretching, strengthening, and breathing. I left feeling refreshed and invigorated! Can't wait to make this a part of my routine.

Sauna Trenkle

Julia's class was fantastic. I had tried out various gentle restorative classes but always found that I couldn't keep up. The poses flowed too quickly and often required that I have more knowledge of yoga than I did. Julia's class went deeper into the poses and explained them well enough that I could follow. The class was also small but not crowded so that it wasn't overwhelming at all. I came out feeling great mentally and physically and will definitely be a regular. Highly recommend!


Julia is a truly compassionate yoga teacher who adjusted the first class I took with her to address some physical problems that I was having at the moment. I felt welcomed into her practice, and the exercises were so perfect for my needs that I felt myself "stretching" at an emotional level, as well as a bodily one. She really is someone who is willing to work with everyone where they are and who has an intuitive understanding of what to do.

Julie Kim

Testimonials: Testimonials
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