By Jenny Hilborne, author of mysteries and thrillers
Many writers juggle their writing career with other obligations; chores, family, and often a full time job. We are always distracted. For those of us lucky enough to work at our writing full time at home, the distractions still exist in the form of the mailman, telemarketers, noise from neighbors, missionaries knocking on the door. The list is not exhaustive. Then there's social media - possibly the biggest distraction of all, and far worse when you have all day to use it.
I need solitude and silence to focus, a place away from home and everyday distractions. A writers retreat. I've dreamed of it for ages. Last week, I went on such a retreat, although not alone. I was invited by my sister to spend a week in a remote part of Wales, with an ocean view. Couldn't get better than this, I decided, and went along. Here's the view I enjoyed.
I set up my writing desk at the dining table with the ocean in front of me. On my first 2 days, a ship was positioned right at the end of the rock jutting out from the mainland. I spent 2 days watching the water and wondering about the boat. Who was on it? What were they doing? I imagined pirates, spies, and fishermen. When a smaller boat sailed out and joined it, my imagination went wild. Hostages, loot? Who knew?
I'm sure it was nothing so interesting, but while my imagination was fired up by this view, my writing suffered. I actually found this view distracting; so beautiful I couldn't stop gazing out of the window. I might have done better looking out at the countryside, but I doubt it. I'm beginning to believe I might do my best work within the confines of four walls with no view to distract me.
What about you? What is your favorite writers retreat? Do you find the views distracting? Does it work to go in a group, or do you do better alone?