Retreating with words

Yesterday, I got stranded on St Mary’s Island.


Happily, this was entirely intentional, a six-hour retreat, organised by Elementary V. Watson. Elementary’s Victoria visited me last month to talk about her writing, but today she was in full facilitation mode, helping us all get the most of six gloriously-uninterrupted hours of writing time. Having just come back from Swanwick, it was a chance to make the holiday last that little bit longer, as well as put into practise some of the hints and tips I’d come back from Derbyshire with.

Granted, it took me a little while to settle, being very easily distracted by the chance of seeing seals (I did, yay!), but also, I really wanted to watch the sea creep over the causeway. I thought, before the day, that it would be an odd sensation, triggering some deep, dark poem about isolation, but in the event, it wasn’t worrying at all. There was a slight moment of being alone when the last bit of concrete vanished, but then, at that moment, I was with very good friends, and already having a fun afternoon, so definitely no dark or deep feelings!


Instead, I read through the 37.5k words of the current WIP, on Westminster Abbey, noting the edits I need to do, and the new scenes needed to get the flow right. Over forty notes are now in the notebook, ready to be worked on over the next couple of weeks. Coupled with edits on The Last Plantagenet? which I received from Victoria yesterday, it’s going to be a busy but happy time ahead. Just how I like it!

But back to the island. Having six hours of nothing to do but write (and yes, ok, chat and try to entice the island cat to come and play) was heavenly. At home, however hard I try, I end up getting tangled in some TV drama, or have an uncontrollable urge to clean part of the flat, so it was lovely to have no distractions. A retreat like this isn’t something I’ve ever done before, but I’m definitely keen to do it again!

For now though, it’s back to that plan…. Wish me luck!

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