A story of how to make your dreams come true. Content Castle went from a freelance writing agency to a writing boot camp on the paradise island of Koh Samui. We are building an ever-evolving community of creative and professional writers–and you can get involved. It’s a place where you learn to write, enhance your skills and build your freelance portfolio.
What began as a dream for a “writer’s village” has evolved into a place for a writers’ intensive, where wanderlust and wordsmiths collide. Writers, travellers, nomads, and dreamers come together to develop their craft and expand their vision through hard work and creative collaboration.
The Content Castle’s foundation was laid by Archipelago Communications’ founder Kaila Krayewski. Before beginning a career in digital marketing, Kaila took a year to backpack around Southeast Asia. She explored the Philippines, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand.
Her year wasn’t filled with frivolous parties, but enlightening cultural experiences. This convinced her that everyone should travel at some point–no matter the time frame. “It’s a fantastic way to open your mind in a way that wouldn’t happen if you stay home.”
The one thing Kaila wished she had during her nomadic days: a place to work along the journey; somewhere she could settle for a month or more to really explore the area and complete basic but necessary tasks.
Placing the Castle Bricks
Fast forward to 2015: Archipelago Communications was off the ground and the business had just moved into a downtown location on the tropical island of Koh Phangan. As many Thai business owners live and work in the same place, the “corporate” office had two bedrooms above it. Having her own comfortable home on the island, Kaila chose, instead, to turn those bedrooms into a living space for an intern. Writers came to work for Archipelago for a couple of months in exchange for a room.
The first bricks of The Castle were laid but it wasn’t quite what Kaila envisioned during her travel days. That all changed when she was looking after a friend’s children in Koh Samui and ran across a house for rent on the main ring road.
Something inside Kaila told her to make a call and check out this building. It was in shambles–a shell of what she had pictured–but a month later, Kaila had an investor and a house in Archipelago’s name.
From Rubble to Royalty
The Content Castle, as it sits now, is the result of much sweat equity and perseverance. Kaila’s husband and project developer, Fraser Dalgleish, remodeled the whole inside of the residence. He added walls, created rooms, laid floors, and fixed wiring.
Interior designer Vicky Falileeva took on the Castle as her first major project. She combined Kaila’s style with Fraser’s designs and transformed the interior into a writers’ haven. The Castle is filled with nooks, crannies, and spaces to write–both indoors and outdoors.
Forget Victorian or medieval, this Castle feels more like a tropical paradise. Colour pops, plants abound, and much of the furniture is made of wicker or island wood. The walls are covered with inspirational messages for writers, from word lists to quotes about the craft itself.
Keeping it Running
The foundation had been poured, the bricks had been laid; next The Castle needed someone to help maintain the vision. Through much trial and error, Kaila found Jill Anderson and Cherry May to keep things running smoothly.
Jill is the house manager and full-time editor for The Content Castle and Archipelago Communications. She can cleanly proof written material, is graceful under pressure, and listens empathetically and clearly. Teacher is another role Jill fills, as she leads the weekly workshops on writing professionally and working as a digital nomad.
Jill moved from California in the United States to come to live in Koh Samui and work at The Castle. She has combined her professional and communication skills to successfully keep the residence running. Jill has brought structure to life at The Castle and continues to shine in her unique role.
Writers not only receive a room at The Castle but meals, as well. Cherry, who hails from Myanmar, cooks two yummy meals a day: tom yum, panang curry, pad Thai, and fried everything are all in her repertoire. She is a ray of sunshine and fills the home with joy and laughter. Yes, she has been known to randomly break into song, sharing her cheerful energy with those around her. Cherry also keeps the main areas clean, performs minor maintenance, and keeps basic household supplies stocked.
Catering to Professionals, Not Princesses
The final step was to fill the Castle with residents. Here, your room and board are covered by your word count, writing for Archipelago and its clients.
This programme is the first of its kind, but it’s not for the faint of heart. Even though there is a “princess corner” for writing, the intensive workload is not meant for drifters on the cheap lollygaggers or rest-seekers. It’s meant for workers: people willing to be responsible, to cramp their typing fingers and funnel the inspiration surrounding them into published words. The beach brings beauty and breezes to the Castle residents, but the focus of the house is still on professional writing.
For those who work it well, The Castle has proven to be a win-win for both sides. Archipelago Communications can offer competitive rates for high-quality content, and writers receive experiential and educational development. Plus, they become part of a network of travellers and writers, learning from one another and developing relationships that last well beyond the few months they’re here.
Towering to the Sky
Today, The Content Castle continues to evolve. Kaila and her team have been on a massive learning curve, assimilating feedback from staff and residents, and often making changes accordingly. One of the next goals is to make the residence available for even more writers to stay.
Fraser will be transforming what is currently the largest bedroom in the house into three small rooms. A smaller-size bedroom may mean a smaller-size word count creating additional opportunities for aspiring writers. Subscribe to The Content Castle newsletter for building updates and resident insights.
Are you ready to cross the moat and join the Castle yourself? Apply now and you could soon be writing for digital publications from a patio overlooking the Gulf of Thailand.