For the past week I’ve been living out of a suitcase again and it’s completely brilliant. First my weekend writing retreat just outside Downpatrick and now bumping along the Wild Atlantic Way in the west of Ireland.
I’d forgotten what travel felt like what with lockdowns, jobs and general Real Life happening. Our Big Trip in the van for a whole year around Europe and Scandinavia feels so long ago and yet here I am again, sitting on a deckchair beside Hans the Van, towels flapping in the (not insubstantial) breeze and feeling like this is real life.
So the great retreat, I hear you ask, how was it? Did you get your sample chapter written? Well, it was great and, um, nope. I had aimed for 8-10,000 words and ended up with 6,000 or so. Not bad I suppose, but in the end, the main outcome of the writing retreat with my creative writing group was getting to know them better, and taking some big deep breaths in beautiful surroundings.
Funny isn’t it? You can have a list of things to achieve with a colour-coded (I know) plan to tick as you go, but it turns out there’s been a secret list in front of your nose all along. Generally it involves surprises, unplanned detours, shared giggles, midnight sparklers under the stars and just being. It’s stopping all the hustle. And anyway, what’s a writer to write about if life happens and we don’t take notice?
So I’m pleased with my progress. The Thomas Hardy chapter (a laugh riot, as you can imagine) is not quite done yet, but I know a little bit more about each member of my writing group, and I know a little bit more about what it means to stop and stare at a river for hours at a time.