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I am away on retreat with my very wonderful writing group. This year we’re in Ramsgate, in a beautiful house two minutes away from the sea.

We arrived yesterday and spent the afternoon getting our bearings and settling in. Over dinner, we talked through our personal writing goals and sorted out the practical plans for meals and critiquing sessions, highlighting anything we might want to discuss with the group while we’re away. From the group point of view, everything was in place for us to begin.

Which left me with one thing last thing to sort out before I could crack on: I needed to get my head in the right place to use the week productively. I have spent the morning walking down a quiet beach, feeling the sand beneath my toes and the sea around my ankles. I am someone who spends a lot of time in my own head. This can be useful for writing, or, if I have other things on my mind, it can be very distracting. I have a strong inclination to over-indulge in introspection. The walk was about clearing my head. It was about putting on hold the thoughts that can wait until I get home and remembering that when it’s going well, I believe in this novel. I want it to be the best it can be, no matter how hard the journey is.

My walk allowed me to engage with the sense of calm and contentment that I always find on my own by the sea. By the sea is where I am internally happiest, flooded with a sense of calm and peacefulness.

Refreshed and reset, I climbed back up to the house. Now I am ready to work.

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