A few months ago, I was lunching with a group of writer friends when it was suggested we should hire accommodation and go on an informal writing retreat. Four of us committed to a date and I spent last weekend packing for my big adventure.
My son sat on my bed as I haphazardly threw an array of clothes into a case and then I spent an inordinate amount of time carefully selecting notebooks and pens.
‘Like you’re going to use those,’ my son scoffed.
‘Of course I am!’ I was a little offended.
‘It will be like the “revision” sessions I used to have with friends during A’Levels.’ he said.
‘I thought those were really valuable?’
‘Yeah. In terms of drinking beer and eating pizza. You’ll be the same but with cheese and wine.’
‘I’ll be writing.’ I stressed again, as though he didn’t know me really well.
At this point my other son wandered into my room. ‘Mum, isn’t an untutored writing retreat really just a holiday.’
‘Umm… no?’ Yes.
Monday, led by Word Warrior Tina, we checked into Centre Parcs and immediately headed to the shop and filled a trolley with wine and cheese. After we’d unpacked, I lounged on the sofa, opened my notebook and jotted down the available times for a massage. Damn my children for always being right.
But although this week there has been much talking, eating, laughter and drinking there has also been much, much more. It was such a privilege to watch and feed the wildlife including this adorable deer who slept on our patio.
The gorgeous surroundings, dusted by the unexpected snowfall, created the perfect creative environment.
Although we’ve been out – our first day saw me heading to the spa after a humungous afternoon tea – we’ve also given each other the time and space to work on our individual projects. We’ve bounced around ideas, read aloud and critiqued each others work with love. I feel relaxed, energised and as I look back at what I’ve achieved this past week I’ve also written more than I thought.
It’s been a really valuable experience and one I can’t wait to repeat. You can listen to my 90 second summary here: –