Somebody asked me last year…
What do you do on your writing weekends away, how does it work? What is it you actually do?
Hmmm, quite a difficult question to answer really, as no two weekends are ever the same and there’s no real agenda to follow, just a few ideas I know I want to spend some time on.
The reason I think it works is the fact I manage to escape the everyday stresses and strains of life and just have the time to clear my head, think about my stories and write! It also helps that I go away with Ellie, a great writer friend of mine who is also my star beta reader, taskmaster and probably the main reason I’m still ploughing on with my novels after all these years of numerous rejection letters and emails, (I can safely say, I now have skin that is thicker than a rhino’s)!
Planning our getaway, we usually make sure we’re at least a good hour or so away, hopefully in another county so there’s no temptation to just pop home and see to the cat, the kids, the washing, the cleaning, the day job…. Our writerley (this is how we like to spell it) weekend has to be just for us and our laptops.
Of course we don’t actually do any writing on the first night, most of that is spent settling into our new home for the next two days, before getting down to the important business of discussing our work over a chilled glass or two or three. Plotlines, characters, bits we can’t quite work out, are we really any good (self-doubt takes up a lot of this time), agents, publishers, lack of agents and publishers (that’s me), competitions, books we’ve read, literary events and numerous other things that are related to our writing. By the end of the evening however, we’ve usually managed to convince ourselves that we are fairly good at what we do and that our writing weekend was a good idea after all!
On the second day we usually flip open our laptops feeling all inspired and motivated, quickly churning out some of the ideas we had from the night before, in case we forget. After a few hours of this, it’s time to venture outside into the fresh air and mix a spot of research with some shopping and lunch. Our last writerley weekend was in Filey during November, however Filey itself was covered in a fog of sea fret, so we headed over to Whitby, which is where Ellie’s latest work in progress is set. After an enjoyable hour checking out the gorgeous little shops for Christmas presents we hiked up the 199 steps to the impressive Abbey, which if you haven’t seen, is definitely worth a look.
Afterwards it’s back to our lovely little cottage for more writing, eating, drinking and discussing.
The third day is spent packing and cleaning up for our lovely Airbnb hosts (we don’t want a bad review) and then more walking. This time the mist had cleared and we could stroll along the beautiful Filey beach before a final coffee in a fab little café that played nothing but 80’s tunes, going over some of the things we’d decided to do with our work. Chapters to finish, plotlines to change, characters to work on and giving each other strict deadlines to meet.
One of the more interesting things to have come out of our last writerley weekend to Filey was Ellie and I deciding it was time for us to go into business together. This is so we can support other writers to get away from it all and spend some quality time out to develop their work and meet up with like-minded people. And so, two months later, Ellie and I are now Directors of TylerGray Associates Ltd, with our first venture being Writer’s Escapes. Our first planned Writer’s Escape to the Country takes place between 24th and 26th May 2017 in the beautiful East Riding of Yorkshire, however we are planning to run many more escapes across the UK and possibly abroad in the future, staying in inspirational settings such as castle hotels, country house hotels and beachside locations. So, if you’re interested in receiving future information about our venture, please keep in touch with us via our website and social media, which can be found here: Writer’s Escapes
So, I suppose the answer to the question…what do you do on your writing weekends, how does it work? What do you do? … has to be, I don’t really know. You just have to pack your bags, get in the car or on the train/bus and see what happens, but I’m sure something will be achieved by the chats, the support, the change of scene, the lack of everyday worries and routine and a few treats of course.
From my point of view I think it’s safe to say that our writerley weekend was indeed a success and I am very much looking forward to our next one and whatever that will bring.
Hearing from you…
I’d be really interested in hearing about what you like to do on a writing break, what works for you and any suggestions you may have for future writing escapes, either topics to cover, places to stay, inspirational settings. You can comment in the space below or via the following Twitter Facebook Pinterest Instagram or Writer’s Escapes