I’m someone who thrives on routine so long as I design it myself, and this I managed well during the week’s retreat with my writing group. I quickly fell into a habit of morning walks along the beach, stopping for some alfresco writing and editing along the way, followed by afternoons of computer-based work.
Our writing holiday provided me with the perfect combination of solitude and social time; of work and relaxation. Each day, I would set out on my own to walk by the sea, sometimes actively thinking about my novel, sometimes allowing my mind to wander – which is, I think, just as valuable. I’d stop somewhere to work for a couple of hours, and then I’d head back home to work some more.
At 6:30pm every day, we’d reconvene for dinner, each of us taking a day to shop and cook so that domestic necessity didn’t get in the way of any of us. Dinner would be sociable and fun, giving us the element of relaxation and holiday which was, I think, so useful to all of us productivity-wise. Then we’d settle in for a night of critiquing.
I’m someone who needs a lot of time to myself, and this arrangement suited me perfectly... because no matter how much I forget it, I also need conversation and outside input.
I’m ridiculously lucky to have found my writing group: serious and talented writers from very different walks of life, all tied together by a love of writing. Their feedback is immeasurably valuable to me and what I can get done during a week away with them is huge.
The trick now will be to transfer what I’ve learnt about myself and my work to my ordinary life. Around work, home and a social life, I need to remember what I can achieve when my head is in the right place, and do all that I can to make sure I’m in that state as much as possible.