The M25. On the day schools have just broken up for Summer hols. With the hangover fugg of a migraine. Yikes. I was off on a road trip to my friend’s house in Worthing, which was to be my writing retreat for a week, didn’t the world know I didn’t need end-to-end traffic? I’d planned a writing itinerary, checked the weather and packed paper and hundreds of pens. What could go wrong? See the opening three sentences. With tears streaming down my face and the air blue from swearing at myself, I turned the car around and came home. Defeat; I hadn’t reached writing nirvana.
Coffee and chocolate and a phone call with the friend who was waiting to give me the key to her house/my writing retreat consoled me. Then – DOH – it dawned on me; there is no such thing as the perfect writing retreat. I just needed to get on and blimmin’ well write – right there, and then. Wherever I was.
I didn’t tell anyone that I wasn’t in Worthing. I didn’t let on that I was actually at home. Wow – the relief of knowing that friends and family believed me to be unavailable in No Wi-Fi Land, was palpable. I ignored the internet, forgot about social media and sat down and wrote. For six days straight. It was hard, hard work. Another lesson learned – a writing retreat is not a holiday. It’s work. If I was a full-time author, I would consider myself to be ‘at work’ not ‘on a retreat’.
There were long nights of the soul where I question what the eff my story was about and why the @@@@ was I writing it. There were moments of yay this is fab, and several yeeesssses out loud.
On day five, my Mum texted me to see how the seaside retreat was going….I had to ‘fess up. She was thrilled that I chosen to not let on so I could knuckle down to writing. ‘Well, you really have created a work of fiction’ she laughed. Almost, I replied. If I can let go of this ‘writing nirvana’ idea, and write, write , write, anywhere everywhere, I will finish this novel and start the next one. And the next…