Writing Retreat

Hello. This is my first ever blog. And I thought I’d kick it off with another first in my life – my first ever solitary writing retreat.

Five days of uninterrupted writing in a cottage in Devon – alone.  Just me and my dog, Maggie, the mud monster.  Bliss, right? I thought so too. Read on to hear how it went.

Mud Monster

Mud monster

Sunday 27 November, 2011

2.00 pm. Arrived, laden with laptop, note book, clothes (scruffy but one nice top in case I went out to pub), supplies (basic food that wouldn’t take long to cook and big jar of coffee) one dog (Maggie), one dog basket, books to read (in case I got fed up of writing), three competitions to judge (in case I got fed up of writing).

Discovered owners had left a bottle of wine to welcome me. How lovely. Discovered cottage had amazing view across a valley with a window seat so I could sit and dream. A log burner, a well equipped kitchen, central heating, internet access.  I was going to do without the internet access, I promise, I was, I was.

But as I was about to start a brand new novel – I thought I might need it for research. Yeah right!

3.00 pm.

Plugged in laptop – wrote first line of my novel. Scary stuff. I was slightly worried it wouldn’t work. I’d had this novel swimming in my head for a few months. Had not yet committed a single line to paper.  Very very Scary.


Have written first chapter – not a very long chapter, mind, (1600 words) but I like it. I think! The acid test is tomorrow when I read back.

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10 Responses to Writing Retreat

  1. The internet is a great research tool – it’s even better for procrastination!

  2. Leigh Forbes says:

    The bottle of wine and lovely view would have been the end of me!

  3. Judy Hodson says:

    Dear Della – just reading a Feb 2012 issue (don’t ask!) of People’s Friend and found your article re the Greek rescue dog. Had to write and tell you of our similar experience. My daughter (living in Greece for 11 eleven years now) found abandoned in the forest in the Peloponese a cardboard box with 11 puppies. She took them in, some so young their eyes were not open and they had no teeth. A diet of spagetti and yogurt supplemented with dried baby milk we sent over managed to keep 9 alive. When she was certain of their survival she began the task of finding homes. Not easy in a country that regards them as, at best, a convenient guard dog – at worst a disposable inconvenience. 3 were taken by a local ‘handyman’ to be given as pets to local families (allegedly), 1 was taken by passing gipsies who saw the sign outside the house, 3 were re-homed in Holland – a contact Juliet made several years ago with whom she has re-homed, at her own expense, countless abandoned puppies. Of the 2 left, 1 had to be taken to join the street dogs on a local beach as unf he had trouble getting on with her own 3 dogs. Last but not least was Marley – our rescue dog. He stayed in Greece for until his pet passport was valid and then made a 13 hour journey from Athens to Heathrow where we picked him up on 27 Dec 2007. Very confused as he’d not experienced civilisation having spent his first seven months in the heartland of Greece. Now he’s such a beautiful dog and we still get admiring glances when we take him out. The sort of dog that makes people smile when they look at him. Would have sent a pic but there’s no option and, like you, I’m new to blogging. Anyway well done to you for saving one Greek dog from a hellish future. If only we could do more. Greece is such a lovely country and yet beneath the beauty lies a true Greek tragedy that most holidaymakers never see. I shall look forward to reading your book – I’ve been telling Juliet for years she should do the same but, sadly, it would not make easy reading if she related even a few of the horror stories she has witnessed.
    Am a struggling short story writer myself, a few shorts published but the magazine market seems to be diminishing by the day. Good luck with the blog – I’ll tune in now I’ve found you and perhaps, one day, be brave enough to start one myself.
    Best wishes

    • Della Galton says:

      Oh Judy, what a wonderful story about Juliet. So glad you’ve got Marley, too. And do have a go at blogging. I’ve not quite got the hang of it yet, but think I will enjoy it – and waste lots of time, tee hee. I hope you enjoy The Dog with 9 Lives if you get it. Please let me know. We adored Lindy, she was a beautiful dog and she loved her life in England.

  4. Karen says:

    Am currently writing the first chapter of a new novel myself and it is VERY scary. I’ve managed 1000 words so far, but keep going back and editing. A writing retreat sounds perfect – far too many distractions writing at home!

    Look forward to hearing more 🙂

  5. Patricia Maw says:

    Hi Della
    Can’t believe you have to come to Devon to write! Always imagine you writing anywhere always. Maybe I should find a writing retreat in Dorest and I might reach Chapter 4 of my novel(s)! Don’t know if I’ll ever get to Caerleon again but perhaps we’ll catch up one of these days.

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