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  • Writer's pictureAngela Barton

My Writing Retreat

Writing retreats enable us to walk away from our daily lives and enter a fresh environment solely focused on supporting our creativity. We leave behind distractions that keep us from writing, and because we've chosen to set aside this time, procrastination is placed firmly on the back seat. Travelling to a new place helps us see, smell, hear and taste a myriad of new experiences, capturing details that make writing vivid and memorable. Philosopher Albert Camus said, “In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion."

Last month I booked a two-week retreat in Cornwall – fortunately before this latest lockdown. I stayed close to Padstow near a beautiful beach called Harlyn Bay. Our family have spent decades of holidays there during both summer and winter. My daughter was married there, we watched the total eclipse of the sun sitting on the beach, celebrated milestone birthdays there and had countless friends and family join us for holidays over the years. It’s a safe and special place where my late-father’s shadow walks with me.

Seapoint, the white house in the centre of the photograph (with two chimneys) is where we've stayed for more than two decades.

Some people love music playing or the television on in the background, but when I research or write, I prefer peace. When I write my story tends to unfold in my mind like a film. I see images, smell scents and hear my characters’ voices. It’s then that my fingers have to keep up on the keyboard, typing everything that is happening on my imaginary screen.

I didn’t quite reach the writing stage on my two-week retreat, but I read three research books and made copious amounts of notes on interesting facts to use, scenes, characters, settings and plots. The three great books I read were, Hugh Dormer’s Diaries, Cruel Crossing and Village of Secrets.

There may have been a few distractions in the form of Cornish pasties, beach walks, shell collecting, photography and browsing the gorgeous shops in Padstow, (did I mention Cornish pasties?)

But overall, I have the structure of my next book, the setting, my characters' names and personalities and their major pitfalls and celebrations. Importantly I also have the baddy of the piece, my antagonist. I can almost see him twiddling his moustache and cackling!

I'd love to hear about your latest writing retreat. Where did you go and how beneficial did you find it?

Good luck to everyone taking part in NaNoWrMo 2020.

If you'd like to read one of my novels, please go to my Home Page where you'll find links to read the blurbs of my contemporary and historical books.

Thanks for popping by. Love Ange x

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