Morning ftfers! Got back from the writing retreat yesterday. It was a very interesting experience! There were four of us, all women (I definitely get the impression it’s mainly women who go on these things). The others were 29, 32 and 50 and were an interesting bunch. We mainly met up at mealtimes when there were a lot of very political conversations ranging from Brexit to feminism and then a particularly lively one in the pub one night about compensation for populations which have been historically maltreated, with a special emphasis on Northern Ireland Catholics! I had to hide in my room most of the day after that 🙂

I got a fair bit of writing done and got the novel up to 10,000 words but started flagging on Friday, lost my novel-writing mojo and decided that it was mostly shit. One of the others had made the horrifying suggestion that we should each read out some of our work to the others on the last evening, which completely freaked me out (the whole reason I went on a retreat instead of a course was to avoid having to let other people see my stuff) but actually the fact that she made that suggestion was good in the end as I was inspired to write a short piece with a view to letting them read it. It was really interesting to listen to their stuff too.

So, I wrote a 900 word piece satirising the introductory talk we were given and the information we were provided with in the house, most of which started in quite a standard, friendly way but then rapidly deteriorated into something with a sense of menace lurking underneath. I got lots of giggles as they were reading it but now need to show it to others who weren’t actually there to see if it will work for a broader audience. I was reading the New Yorker on the train on the way there, and was thinking vaguely of sending it in for the Shouts and Murmurs column which is often not as funny as it should be, in my opinion. I’m sure the chance of it being accepted is close to zero but I have nothing to lose.

So, it was great to meet the others and I learned a lot about myself and what I should be writing, and I can continue to think about the novel in my head and how to make the plot more complex. One of the others was a very driven, intense corporate type and was talking about organising her own retreat next year which I might do if the timing suits. She and I had a lot of great conversations particularly at breakfast, strangely, and I’m hoping we’ll keep in touch.

Back to work today then… hopefully not too many horrors waiting in the inbox! I do feel refreshed after my week in the countryside, even though I didn’t go out very much.

Hope everyone else had a good week and that you’re recovering from your tumble at the weekend, wren.


Comments on: "SL’s FTF, Tues 16th August" (9)

  1. Your writing retreat sounds great! I’d love if you could share which genre your novel falls into. “Writing retreat” is a very exotic concept around here. All I was able to think of was the movie “Tamara Drewe”… have you seen it?

    • The genre was a comedy adventure mystery caper – I possibly need to write something in a more standard genre to get published! There seems to be a whole industry of writing retreats out there. I suspect it’s a good way of rebranding self-catering cottages in the off-season because writers don’t need great weather 🙂 I saw Tamara Drewe some time ago, and someone actually mentioned it while we were there. Must watch it again.

  2. Sounds like a lovely break, even if the writing didn’t go 100% to plan – but still 10K is amazing, plus a finished short! Think this is something I’d like to do eventually 🙂

    • I did have a really good time, and would do it again, I think. The Arvon people said they had more demand than they expected (this is the first year they have done them) and are expanding the season. If you ever fancy doing it at the same time let me know 🙂

  3. How wonderful that you were able to immerse yourself in a creative environment, spend lots of time writing, relax and make new friends. Sounds like time very well spent to me! The one thing I miss about living in Los Angeles is that it was a time when I was surrounded by friends who were all very creative. Being surrounded by that energy really helped support my own creativity. Living in such a vibrant city, as you do, have you thought about finding ways to bring that writing workshop spirit into your life in a more regular way, or would that even be something of interest to you?

    • That’s a good question… I did have a look at London Comedy Writers group but the photo on their website seemed to show lots of old men sitting round tables which I found offputting! Am going to continue to keep an eye out for things round here that might appeal, but also one of the girls I met is organising a retreat for next year, so I might just do that.

  4. Glad to hear you enjoyed the retreat. Who organized it? Was it a published writer or a writing teacher? Or just someone who wanted to get away with others and write?

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