Monday, 16 August 2010

Retreating again to the island

I spent this past weekend down at Phillip Island on a writing retreat. I am a little shocked to discover that the last time I did this -- escape to the island for the express purpose of novel immersion -- was October last year. That's 10 months ago. Even more disturbing is that I discover I was writing chapter 28 back then. On Saturday I finished chapter 32 of the rewrite. That's less than five chapters in 10 months. What a disaster. I knew I hadn't written much this year (Trailwalker . . . work stresses . . .) but I truly didn't realise I hadn't even cracked 15,000 words. No wonder I've been feeling mildly blue.

I suppose there's no point dwelling on it, and indeed I feel a mild bemusement. I'm not quite sure how it happened, but I sure as hell had better make sure it doesn't happen again. The way forward is more weekends at Phillip Island!

This past weekend was fabulous. Three of us went down, and setup on the dining table with the fire pumping out heat and making the room a cocoon of warmth. Just how I like it. (For anyone that got too hot, there was the balcony or the beach and a rush of freezing wind.) As mentioned, I finished a chapter on Saturday -- a momentous achievement for the year as it turns out! -- and managed to start another on Sunday.

I actually write better with company -- sure, there's the distraction of conversation, but in most cases it's writing related, and often directly refers to what we're working on. But even so, I manage to push myself harder when there are others present. I write longer and later, spurred on by the knowledge that my companions are focused on what they are doing (even if it's spending time with a book on the couch).

And at least I'm starting to get into a better routine. My head is back in the story for the most part; now I just need to keep it there and finish the damn thing!

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