Our writers’ retreat

We departed on Monday and we arrived home on Thursday afternoon, just the four of us, escaping from the usual to spend a few days writing with none of the everyday distractions.

We had seen adverts for organised ‘retreats’ and they seemed very expensive, so we decided to do it ourselves. None of us had been on such a get-away  so it would be a truly novel experience. We had found a suitable sounding place in Lyme Regis – we are also in a book club as well as being in our writing group, and we had recently read ‘Remarkable Creatures’ by Tracy Chevalier so it seemed an appropriate venue for our first ever get away to devote to writing.

Our accommodation was in the coastguard cottages, spacious, peaceful, lovely with enough rooms for us to spread out and work, and enough space to accommodate us coming together for meals, socialising and a poetry workshop. However, it was more than just accommodating, it was beautiful and with stunning views across the sea. Was this distracting? No, it was relaxing and energising, and a constant inspiration as we tried to find the right words and phrases.

We worked long hours in silence – silence apart from the distant sound of the sea and the seagulls. We took breaks for tea, coffee, cake, chat, and of course we went out for walks around the town and along the Cobb, and down the beach. We talked about our writing and we talked about other things – and we laughed, we had so many laughs!

It was inspirational and I’m sure I can speak for the others to say we learned so much about our own writing and our own writing processes, as well as progressing what we were working on. I was editing my next book… title now unknown as I realise the working title doesn’t work! Because I was able to focus just on this one task – no blogging, no emailing, no checking on the news, I really made good progress and maintained continuity.

The writing highlight for me wasn’t just that progress , it was the poetry workshop; one of us is a fine poet and he very kindly prepared and led our session. I found it really inspiring and I am going to really get my act together and return to writing poetry – which was my first writing love, even before novels. The ideas were quite challenging, I found on reflection, and so stimulating… It was as if I had been given a new prescription for glasses and now see things differently in terms of language!

When I look back on the four days, when my book is finished and I’m onto the next one, and I’m back into gear writing poetry, what will I remember? The beautify cottage (with its quirks – the hidden staircase, the non-working microwave, the front door lock jamming so we had to exit and enter through a window) the meals together, in the house and lunches in the town (forever now wary of seagulls who bombed our soup and stole our bread… and worse) – sitting round the table with friends talking about writing and much more, the writing we did and the aforementioned workshop, but above all the laughter, so many things which almost reduced us to hysterics…

provocative biscuits, photography trousers, the reversing fridge, burning the broccoli…

Thank you dear friends, what a wonderful and productive few days… so when are we going again?

Here is a link to Macaque’s poetry book:

Palimpsest of Ghosts: Collected Poems  – Macaque – http://amzn.eu/5z49q5x

My featured image is what I woke up to each morning, a view, a lichen roof, sea and  Jurassic cliffs…

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