Retreating from the world

I spent the weekend on my second ever writers’ retreat. I had gone on one alone before, and while I got a lot done, it was hampered by 1. not being bothered to make any food, so living off wine gums for three days, and 2. going a bit mental in my own company, to the extent of crying over the book. Also 3. it was quite chilly, and I don’t work well when I’m chilly.

 

So the prospect of a weekend in a full-service stately home with a group of other writers appealed instantly. I packed my hot water bottle and six packets of biscuits. West Dean college is a residential place near Chichester, where you can stay for conferences and the like, but also just book a room. It’s actually a stately home, with oak-panelled rooms, stuffed giraffes’ heads, suits of armour, and extensive grounds. If you stay there you can work either in your room, in the library, or in any of the nice quiet spots round the place. It was £75 a night for your own room, plus bathroom (my bath could have fit three people, easy, though I didn’t try), all meals (huge, delicious, cake-heavy), and use of the facilities. The peace is overwhelming, and the cake helped too. There was always someone around for a quick chat if I felt my brain was imploding it on itself, but plenty of alone time too. I managed 11,000 words over the weekend, and also edited 6 chapters and did some plotting. Book Three is definitely on track now.

I’d fully recommend it if you need some space away from home and family and work. There’s no shame in admitting it, but sometimes we just can’t produce creative work when the dishwasher needs emptied and the dog walking and your spouse is asking you where do you keep the sellotape and other ridiculous queries. Some weeks, days just fall from my hands like casino chips, and I have no idea what stops up the minutes and hours and why all my time drains away like dishwater. On this retreat, I found all that time again, stacked up and waiting for me.

 

http://www.westdean.org.uk/

 

Is this the coolest toilet you’ve ever seen or what?

About these ads

About inkstainsclaire

My first novel THE FALL was published by Headline in 2012, followed by THE LOST (2013) and THE DEAD GROUND (2014). I'd love to hear from you if you are interested in my work or just want to say hello. Or even if you have any good household tips for getting ink out of sofa cushions. I am represented by Diana Beaumont at Rupert Heath.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Retreating from the world

  1. Seems like excellent value for money, what with the progress you made and perhaps more importantly the cake! More and more I’m seeing writers using sugary treats to fuel their writing and I’d have to say that it works for me too!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s