Updated: Apr 6, 2022
Hello all, I'm back in Newy after escaping for a week away in the Byron Bay Hinterlands to focus on writing. This was the first time I've ever done a writing retreat, which I chose to do self-imposed style so that I could make some headway on my next publication and devote some much needed time to my craft.
As some of you know, I am hoping to have my next contemporary romance out early this year, and after this week away, I am feeling more hopeful that I'll be able to achieve this. Overall I wrote about 20,000+ words in re-writes, as well as made some major changes to the characters' relationships. Basically, what was a sweet romance has become a bit *cough* a lot *cough* spicey. I have no regrets about this decision though thanks to being surrounded by so many wonderfully talented writers in the Australian romance writing community. And, after taking the time to see where this new direction can take my protagonist and her love interest, it's definitely something I want to pursue as it's added a fun dynamic to play around with in this new friend-to-lovers tale. Besides, I can't resist a good opportunity for some (character) flirting.
In addition, I've brainstormed some new story ideas to transform some standalone stories into series, which means we'll be seeing more Bea and Alex in the future, as well as some new friends I hope you love as much as I do. (Now how long this takes to write and publish is another question...)
So what was the retreat like? Most days I had a little routine, where I would wake up and make tea/coffee and begin writing on the couch until mid-morning/noon. As much as I wanted to curl up in a knit and sit outside watching the sunrise, most mornings the outdoor furniture was wet from rain the night before, or it was foggy/raining. There was a couple of cooler mornings, though, which meant I did get to enjoy some 'rugged up' moments on the couch. Then I would drive to town for some lunch in the town nearby and do some more writing, focusing on another project (which I can't discuss just yet) to maintain momentum. Afterwards I'd return to my little cabin in the Hinterland and continue working on my current WIP well into the evening. During the afternoons I would work inside with the A/C on until the outdoors cooled and shade appeared. Then as evening fell, I would relocate to the patio, which overlooked the hills, and wrote as I watched the sunset with a drink in my hand.
Now I will admit that I did go on an adventure or two whilst away, visiting local bookshops and coffee shops, as well as doing nature walks to clear my mind. But most of my time was spent hidden away in the mountainside, listening to the birds chirp away as I wrote. The atmosphere was so tranquil and relaxing, that I was quite content in staying at my little cabin in the Hinterland with nothing else to do but write or read. And now having completed my first writing retreat, I can confidently say that I'd love to do it again. In fact, I'd love to make it make it a new ritual within my lifestyle, treating myself to a week away to write at least twice a year. (Ideally, I'd love to make it three-to-four four times a year - though not overly feasible, I think I could definitely get a book written and published every year with that much time and space to do nothing but just create).