Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The Importance of a Writer's Retreat

Where is your shed?


In order to self-publish anything what do you need first of all?

  • you need to write some material
  • you need to be in the right frame of mind to create that material
  • you need as few other responsibilities as possible to distract you from your creative task

Finding your own retreat in which to accomplish this feat is a a challenge in itself.  Some writers have sheds, others have lofts, 19th Century poets had garrets in Parisian suburbs. My Itinerant Poet's favourite haunts are cafes and hotel lobbies with the occasional wild rural setting if the former are not available.

Our current, and oft visited retreat is in Mallorca.  While the UK is a frozen wasteland, we enjoy milder temperatures of 15 degrees Centigrade and the most amazing light.  The warmth seems to awake the creative juices.  We never have "just a holiday". 

The backlog of poetry to be edited and re-typed is considerable and has been demanding attention for at least a year.  The book of school poems awaits my illustrations.  We both work every day for at least five hours on these projects in addition to the deluge of emails requesting workshop bookings.

Here, there are no phone calls, no door bells, no DIY jobs looking at you.  The villa is cleaned everyday by smiling housekeepers.  Emails can be dealt with in due course.  In short, there is freedom to think and create.  Here is where we produce 90% of our creative output and it is essential to our business.


Home-ed Shed


The children's home education runs more smoothly here.  Without the domestic distractions and commitments, as parents we can dedicate more time to giving them intensive tuition.  They progress faster than at home in the Winter.

The benign climate is a contributory factor.  Nature walks reveal hoopoes, red-legged partridge, feral cats and the occasional wild Mediterranean tortoise.  The on-site spa pool, floodlit tennis and scope for uninterrupted rollerblading add to the attractions.

We are currently preparing for IGCSE English Language in June 2013.  It is actually quite interesting to analyse passages from the Edexcel Anthology because it forces me to carefully consider everything I write, from brief emails to blog posts.