Storytelling with the Tao

Online Creative Writing Course

NEXT Start date: 31st July 2023

Spaces available: 15

This online course uses 6 chapters of the Tao Te Ching to inspire storytelling that speaks to what it means to be human, living now in our times.

The Tao Te Ching is a Chinese classic text which is the basis for the Taoist philosophy and religion. It is believed to have been written around 400 BC by Laozi, who was a Chinese philosopher and writer. Also known as “The Book of the Way”,  as Tao Te Ching translates roughly as “the way of integrity”, it is considered to be one of the most important books of spiritual literature and is thought to have been written to help restore peace and harmony to a kingdom where discord and disorder were rife.

The workshops are released every 2 weeks and are in a private area of our Online Community for you to access 24/7 and work through whenever suits you best. You can post up stories you write from the prompts for feedback from the course tutor and the other writers on the course.

What writers have said about the course

As someone who is always aspiring to add more depth and meaning and optimism to my writing (and my life!) I found this course really beautiful. The content is thought-provoking and provides wonderful opportunities to reflect, and share with others, what is important in the craft, our writing and our lives. 

Rachel Rivett

Before taking this course, I knew very little about the Tao and the idea of using it to stimulate creativity didn’t occur to me. As well as the craft lessons, writing prompts, and stories to read, this course has given me the tools to look more widely for ideas and consider more deeply when I’m reading. The reflections really resonated with me and I’ve got several stories I’m working on now.

Anne Maguire

I’m someone who is a bit wary of asking deep questions of myself. I need someone to hold my hand and this exploration of the Tao I found to be accessible and guided me to a new depth in my work. Who knew I could be spiritual too. Thanks Amanda.

Mike Murray

Before taking this course I knew very little about the Tao. I did buy the book although you don’t need to as Amanda provides all the information needed.  It is a lovely in-depth course with craft lessons and writing prompts around the story given. It will definitely give you lots of ideas and bring out your creative side and develop further.  It is lovely to read what the other students come up with too.

Heather Boncey

Course outline

Each workshop features a chapter of the Tao, along with associated discussion content linking the chapter to our world today, a short story reading, craft development section, and a writing prompt.

  • Workshop 1: Balancing Act
  • Workshop 2: Exterior Focus
  • Workshop 3: Letting Go
  • Workshop 4: Open Minds
  • Workshop 5: Chasing Change
  • Workshop 6: Finding Contentment



Amanda started Retreat West in 2012 and expanded to include the award-winning Retreat West Books (Most Innovative Publisher 2020 Saboteur Awards) in 2017. She has been designing and teaching online courses, and live workshops, for many years and has worked as an editor on hundreds of manuscripts. 

She’s the author of two novels As If I Were A River (2016) and Remember Tomorrow (2019). Her short stories have been widely published; long/short listed in the Mslexia Flash Fiction Competition, Fish Flash Fiction Prize, Ink Tears Short Story Prize, Cranked Anvil Short Story Competition, Flash 500 and V300; and won the Editor’s Choice Prize at 101 Words. 

Amanda is currently working on a flash fiction collection, a novella-in-flash and many short stories while also training to be a Mindfulness Teacher and Counsellor. She has been practising mindfulness, meditation and qigong, and reading the Tao Te Ching every day, for several years.

How much does it cost?

There are two options available:

No Additional Feedback – £120

You get feedback just on the stories you post in the forum during the course.

Additional Feedback – £165

Send in a short story up to 4,000 words for more detailed feedback after the course ends.