Wednesday, 14 December 2011

A writer's retreat

While I could mean a retreat from writing here (and sometimes that sounds like a good idea), I'm actually talking about a place to go to write, or paint, or read, or just be you for a while.

Where is this absolute gem, you ask? I'll tell you (because I'm nice like that).

It's in a tiny little village called Sheepwash, near Okehampton, in Devon. I know for a lot of my friends outside the UK environs this is rather a long way to go, but if you're ever visiting…

Anyway, I've had trouble getting into my rewrite with all the distractions of everyday life intruding. I'd booked a holiday, but, inevitably, if I stayed home, I'd find chores to do. My plan was to get away completely - escape - and concentrate on my writing for a few days.

I had heard of Deborah Dooley's Retreats For You on various other sites and it came highly recommended. She and her husband, Bob, have opened up their gorgeous thatched cottage to people needing a break. But it's so much more. Not only is breakfast included, but all meals and snacks as well (Deb makes amazing banana bread!). All food is home-cooked and I came away feeling better than I had in ages. Guess that says something about my cooking, huh?

There is a desk in your room if you want to write, etc. up there. You are also free to sit in the lounge, with its comforting real log fire, and write. I took up residence there one afternoon, and Deb and Bob were kind enough to ply me with tea. I felt like a fraud - I had tea-making bits and pieces in my room (including fresh milk - what a luxury!).

If you want to take a break and watch a DVD, there's a whole library of them in the TV room at the back of the house, which is also for guests' use.

Deb is a freelance journalist and is available for general writing advice. Plus, with other writers staying at the cottage, there is the opportunity to get feedback about your day's writing, but only if you want to.

You can also be as sociable or as solitary as you like. If you'd like to keep writing, you can have your meals on a tray in your room.

While I was there, I finally managed to get over a bump in my rewrites that had been stalling me. I also relaxed for the first time in ages. If you need a bit of writing time, or a bit of "me" time, maybe you should try a retreat.

And if you're in the UK, or you're visiting here, I seriously recommend choosing Deb's Retreats For You, so you can experience for yourself the treasure of a place she's created in Devon.

17 comments:

Laura said...

Wow that sounds amazing! And really not that far away from me. Maybe when I get a break at Uni I may have to place this wonder a little visit

C D Meetens said...

I had a really great time there, and I would certainly go back. If you do go, let Deb know I sent you ;).

Cherie Reich said...

Oh, wow! It sounds like a fantastic place to relax and write. Now, if it wasn't so far away . . .

C D Meetens said...

I usually say that about American places :). I was thinking that about the conference you went to earlier in the year.

Kelley said...

Wow, nice :)

Nicole said...

This looks amazing! My crit group does a writing retreat each year, and it's like a breath of fresh air to not have anything on my agenda except writing. Happy day!!

Joshua said...

By the end of this weekend, I'll have finished building my own writing retreat. No fireplace, though.

The Golden Eagle said...

It sounds like a wonderful place!

LynNerdKelley said...

What a wonderful getaway and that's great that you overcame some writing bumps and made progress! Sounds like an awesome place for a retreat.

C D Meetens said...

Kelley: It is - I was sorry to leave.

Nicole: It is great to just be able to concentrate on writing for a while, isn't it? I like the idea of a group going too.

Joshua: You're more skilled than I am - I can't build anything. And I would miss the fireplace. I like to be warm :).

Eagle: It was great just to relax for a while.

Lyn: I was so pleased to get past the scene I'd been writing for several weeks. It's allowed me to continue at a decent rate with subsequent rewrites.

Eve.E said...

Looks gorgeous cd. X
Have an awesome Christmas and new year xxxx

Shelley Sly said...

Wow, this looks wonderful! I live in the U.S., so I'm too far, but maybe there's something like this around where I live...

Theresa Milstein said...

How lovely! It reminded me a little of a bed and breakfast I stayed at in Cork 12 years ago, at least from the outside. Looks like a good place for writing inspiration.

Aubrie said...

Wow, I need a writer's retreat myself! This one sound fantastic!

C D Meetens said...

Eve: Thank you, and the same to you. Enjoy yourself :).

Shelley: With this one, I decided I needed some time away to write, searched for retreats, and this one appeared. I'm very grateful it did.

Theresa: Cork is a place I'd like to visit. Actually, Ireland in general I would like to visit.

Aubrie: It was just what I needed :).

Coral said...

That looks so wonderfully peaceful. I'm such a recluse I'd probably never want to come home!

C D Meetens said...

I didn't want to come home either. It was a lovely village with very friendly people - totally different to where I live.

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