Thursday, 17 August 2017

A Writers Retreat to Die For...

Saving Private Rice!
I'm not gonna lie, I've been on writing retreats before that I've enjoyed... But I've never been on a writing retreat before which I really enjoyed where I actually got LOADS of writing done, too.

Sundown in Wexford
There's always something hugely inspiring to me about being with other writers - chatting late into the night about process, the industry, brainstorming plots and sharing writing woes and insecurities (while occasionally having the odd tipple of wine and prosecco!). But last week in the glorious Wexford countryside brought a whole new meaning to the term Writers Retreat for me.

Firstly the company was fabulous, there's nothing better than being with a great bunch of fellow writers and this lot were awesome - focused, smart, articulate women who were, most importantly of all, a lot of fun to be with. Or as the Irish would say 'great craic'.

Oscar Wilde woz here!
Carol Marinelli, Jane Porter, Kelly Hunter, Abby Green and me met up at Dublin airport on the Saturday, piled into two cars and headed down to a glorious cottage near Carne Beach in Wexford with a stop en route for a delicious lunch at the Avoca Cafe in Mount Usher Wicklow (if you're ever there check out the feta fritters!).

Calm, serene and beautifully furnished, the traditional thatched cottage we stayed in is rumoured to be the place where Oscar Wilde spent his childhood summers. Well, one thing I will say, there was a definite writing vibe as soon as we got there - whether that was Oscar's ghost or the lack of wifi who knows. But either way, after a day of settling in and raiding the local SuperValu, we were all getting down to work.

Soaking up the Smithwicks
A couple of us had screaming deadlines, a couple of others were putting some words down and getting their plots sorted, and I was doing revisions on my third Presents/Modern book... And much to my surprise, the words flowed easily (not a usual occurrence for me - see 'writing woes' above). By the end of the week I had figured out the problems with the ending and fixed them and my editor had sent word the book had been accepted... (FYI Captive at Her Enemy's Command will be out in April 2018! Yay me). But not only that, I'd also managed to submit three chapters and a synopsis for my next Presents and laid down plans for two new longer book proposals and had a think about my next cowboy book for Tule!

Our Lady's Island
I don't think I've ever been so focused and had so much fun while doing it, because in between the writing we found time for trips to:

Rosslare Harbour – to feed our internet and Clonakilty sausage addictions.

The Lobster Pot - a local pub to eat crab claws soaked in garlic butter.

Our Lady's Island - to light a candle at the outdoor shrine and have a glass of Smithwicks at the Island Bar (both holy experiences IMHO).

Curracloe Beach - to get windswept while learning all about the filming of Saving Private Ryan from our own Abby Green.

Another picture in the Pub! Wot?
And have a date with bestselling author Carmel Harrington and some delicious posh nosh at Kelly's Resort.

I even found time to start running every morning, something I'm going to keep up now I'm home... Although jogging around Clissold Park in Hackney doesn't have quite the same inspirational vibe as jogging down the quiet country lanes to Carne Beach.

When we headed back to Dublin a week later I was really sad to say goodbye to everyone.

But there's only one cure for my melancholia... We MUST do it again, ladies...

Leaving my heart in Wexford


Jane Porter said...

It WAS a brilliant week. I am wishing I had everyone around me for some energy and focus now! Will have to summon Oscar Wilde's ghost to Southern California! And yes, let's definitely do again!

Heidi Rice said...

Know the feeling Jane, I'm blogging about writing while I should be writing!! Oops..