I’m a big fan of writing retreats. Being able to switch off, concentrate on nothing but your manuscript, and, at the same time, hang out with other authors to chew the fat over dinner, or cake, lots of cake. What’s not to love?
Yet baby logistics have meant that I’ve not been able to commit to a week away, which has proved tricky because I still have deadlines to meet and a work in progress scratching away at my subconscious!
I may be stating the obvious but juggling writing and raising a now five-month-old baby has been harder than I imagined.
Babies demand a lot of attention. Working during her naps never really goes to plan as that precious ‘baby free time’ is barely enough to shower/eat/clean/complete life admin/have a cup of tea/etc. Everleigh also has this innate ability of wanting to play at the exact moment I flip open my laptop!
The other big issue has been prodding my brain to wake up. Everleigh’s not the best sleeper and five months’ broken sleep does little for the ol’ creative juices. My friend jokes that some of her brain was pushed out during labour. The strange here but not really here fuggy cotton wool feeling since becoming a mum has taken some getting used to. I used to be indecisive but now I don’t know…
Thankfully Woodside, a gorgeous Edwardian hotel in leafy Warwickshire, came to the rescue with a solo 24-hour writing retreat so I could get to grips with book five, which, between you and me has been a tough beast to tame.
I’m not sure if it’s because this is the first standalone since the Lonely Hearts Travel Club series (so a whole new cast of characters to get to grips with) or the potent cocktail of sleep deprivation/hormones or a combination of all of this that has made this a tricky blighter! But I am not going to let it beat me. I’m nothing if not stubborn and determined…
I checked in, turned my phone off and fired the laptop up.
I emerged some time later and managed to make myself take a brisk walk around the stunning grounds to clear my head. It was one of those crisp autumnal mornings with a gorgeous blue sky where all the colours seemed to be in HD. Stretching your legs, having a change of scene and allowing yourself some head space away from a screen does wonders for untangling tricky sub-plots or working out why your character is misbehaving!
I left feeling like I could probably have done with moving in for a whole week but at least I managed to get a good solid chunk of undisturbed work done, which is a good start!
Thanks to Woodside for kindly hosting my stay. Woodside is great for leisure breaks and business events, it specialises in hosting groups of people, celebrations and weddings. You can find out more about them and the other hotels in the group here.