Friday 3 February 2012

The magic of a real writing retreat...

I left home on Friday 20th January with between 1,500 and 1,800 wds of the next novel, and a year's worth of thinking, and the knowledge that gradually I'd persuaded myself that this thing could be attempted. The prequel plus the sequel of The Coward's Tale, in one.
I came home yesterday, 2nd Feb, having had 12 days at the marvellous Anam Cara, just me in residence. All writing, as ever, done curled up on the bed (although I am assured by Huguette, the masseuse who tackled my shoulders on Tuesday, that I will regret it)... or in front of a turf fire, in the evenings - feet up on the sheepskin-covered footstool.
I took two days off -necessary R&R, because the writing I have chosen to do is very intense - both strands, in different ways. So, ten days on which I wrote during the morning, and the evening. Most days, I went for a walk in the afternoon, either down to the strand, or up to the mountaintop above Mountain MIne at Allihies.
No internet on the laptop. NO facebook and twitter at all. Emails only accessed after the day's work had been done, on the slowest PC in Ireland.

And I came back with 41,375 words. Maybe not all the right ones. maybe not all in the right order. But goodness me, isn't this internet thing a drain of energy if we let it be?


  1. You're right, of course. And congrats on a really successful retreat. But, without the internet I would not have met you, or (m)any other writers, and I wouldn't know about all sorts of journals and words and fabulous places. I wonder if one can have a retreat from the internet at home. Not sure I'd be brave enough to try….

  2. Absolutely -I have met such great peeps, and have a lot to thank the internet for. But I felt the need to be in control of the internet, rather than it controlling me - if that makes sense!

  3. 41,000 words? Holy guacamole! Amd I bet a huge proportion of them will be kept. well done!

  4. Wow, that is an impressive word count! Go you!
    I really do need to cut myself off from the internet, too. x

  5. That all sounds so wonderful, good on you! The Internet is a drain, but, as Sara said, it does have some bonuses. I do think though that part of the magic of retreats is the contrast with real life and the limited time, making the most of it because you know it's "only" 12 days. You certainly made the most of it!