Hello my lovelies,
I hope you’re all well and staying safe. I was talking to Debbie Flint who runs Retreats For You in north Devon the other day and it got me thinking about how much of The Last Charm I actually wrote there over the course of two summers, and how much longer it might’ve taken to finish the book had it not been for the lovely tranquil cottage and even lovelier team to look after me. I went digging around and found a post from 2018 I wrote about my first experience there – you can read it here The Wonders of Writing Retreats.
The four days I spend at Retreats For You each summer enabled me to get huge chunks of the story down, and during those visits I wrote circa 45,000 words – or half a book… The benefits of writing retreats for me are:-
- No day job to distract me – I save up holiday entitlement to use
- No Fiancé/son/puppy to look after/talk to/walk – very time intensive!
- No housework – I’m cooked for and taken care of at RfU
- No life admin – the bills can wait until I’m home
- Headspace – the ability to focus on the story and nothing else
- Freedom – setting my own schedule, around meal times
- Triple the number of physical hours I usually get to write in, around the day job and other commitments*
*I got into a routine of 7.00 a.m. wake up, write for an hour, shower and dress, quick breakfast, write until lunchtime, quick lunch, write until 5.30 p.m., take the retreat dog for a walk, dinner and wine with everyone, write until 10.00 p.m, read for an hour/watch TV, sleep… repeat! This meant I got at least 10 hours of writing time a day, if not more.
If you get the opportunity to visit a writing retreat – which often includes tutors on site to deliver workshops – I’d heartily recommend it. Giving yourself permission to write is an important step on the journey to finishing a book and getting it published, or meeting your deadlines if you’re a published author. If you can’t go on a retreat due to financial pressures/family responsibilities then there’s always the option of going to stay with a friend (so long as you explain you’re not there to socialise other than at meal times!) or having an ‘at home’ retreat. I’ve done this before, and it really just means clearing the decks for a whole weekend in terms of visitors, commitments, housework etc and telling your nearest and dearest to pretend you’re not in the house and that disturbing you while you’re hiding in the spare room/shed/corner of the kitchen will mean certain death!
I was intending to visit Retreats For You again this year, but due to lockdown it sadly hasn’t been possible, and they had to pivot and offer the cottage out as an Air B’n’B… Seeing all the pictures made me feel almost home sick! But roll on 2021, because I’ll be back and am looking forward to it 🙂
Have you ever been to a retreat? What did you get done, or achieve? It would be lovely to hear about your experiences 🙂
Until next time, happy reading & writing,
Love, Nikki / Ella xx