The Wonders of #Writing Retreats

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Hello my lovelies,

I can’t believe July has rolled over into August already! What a gorgeous summer we’re having 🙂 July was a busy month for me, and I didn’t get the chance to blog with everything else going on, but I’m delighted to say that I’ve added 25,000 words to the work in progress (around a quarter of a full length novel). The new book is taking shape!

The only reason I’ve been able to make such great progress is because I went on a writing retreat to Sheepwash in Devon at Retreats for You. It’s a lovely cottage property in a little village with a pub across the way, within easy reach of a variety of gorgeous villages and beaches in Devon and Cornwall. It was peaceful and perfect for what I wanted to achieve…

I must admit that, hand on heart, I felt selfish and guilty for taking time off work and leaving my boyfriend and son in charge of each other, but actually all I was doing was giving myself permission to do something I love and that’s important to me. I’m so glad I did, because it was amazing and without a doubt the best gift I could have given myself.  Like others, I struggle to fit my writing in around a day job, housework, and family etc. But taking some time away from it all, when I didn’t have to worry about HR or housework or other people (who I love dearly but do a lot for) meant that I was completely free to concentrate on my writing in a way that I rarely am. And I loved it!

I have to say that Debbie Flint, who runs Retreats for You with the help of a few lovely women, was so warm and welcoming. She made me feel totally at ease, meaning I felt able to get on and write without worrying. Three meals a day are included in the daily price at Retreats for You, and I could sit down at mealtimes for as long or as short a time as I wanted, depending on how I was doing with my word count that day. And at 6.30 p.m. every evening there was wine ‘o’ clock, and if I was knee-deep in writing a scene, Debbie would  simply bring the wine up to my cosy room and tell me what time dinner was being served. The two other guests staying there that week – Jules and Eileen – were also great fun and we had a good time putting the world to rights over dinner every evening 🙂  And as if all that wasn’t reason enough to go again (which I will be), there are two resident chocolate labs on site who are adorable 🙂

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I woke up early every morning, and from the Monday to Friday wrote each day in a series of two-hour stints. If I didn’t achieve the word count I wanted to in the day, I wrote in the evening too. I also gave myself rewards for reaching my target word counts i.e. a trip to see Mamma Mia 2 in the cinema, a few hours on Bude beach, a bit of light reading, a great writing related catch up with the lovely Faith Bleasdale (on Twitter @FaithBleasdale). That made it fun and like I’d had some R&R rather than just working. Most days I averaged around 5,000 words. I wrote scenes that had been in my head for months, smiled at my characters and cried with them too. I did it all on my trusty iPad with detachable keyboard (as you can see above) and one day I wrote outside at the pub with a half pint of the local beer. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon!

All in all, I can heartily recommend writing retreats in general, and Retreats for You specifically – they really couldn’t have done enough for me. Their details are here https://www.retreatsforyou.co.uk  and as well as providing a quiet place to write, they also run themed events and also sometimes have authors stay and provide tuition, such as the lovely Julie Cohen. Check them out!

I’ll definitely be going on some more retreats in the future – why don’t you give yourself permission to do the same, and finally start that book? Or if you’ve stayed at a retreat before, how was it for you, and how many words did you get written? Please share your experiences in the comments box below 🙂

Until next time (when I’ll be going back to my writing tips series), happy reading & writing.

Love, Nikki xx

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