Thoughts from Emily Spurr after her first WriteSpace Retreat:
1. WriteSpace Retreat starts early on a Sunday morning. When you were on your way there, how were you feeling? What were you looking forward to?
I was mainly working out how I was best going to get there after getting on the train and realising as it was a Sunday, it would not be going to Spencer St!
I’m not big on ruminating over something I’m about to do before I do it. I prefer to plan and then just do. I’d planned the week before how I wanted to use the time and what my goals were, I’d packed my bag the night before, so really, once I’d worked out my amended itinerary, I just enjoyed the peace of walking through Melbourne on a clear Sunday morning. Which, by the way, was bliss.
2. How did you go? I claim that it is amazing what you can achieve in a day – did you feel satisfied with how much you wrote that day?
Definitely. I’d planned to get from point E to G in my ms and to roughly sketch out the scenes to finish. And I did that. I would have given myself a high five for a couple thousand good words, so getting 4,000 down was really satisfying!
3. How did I go? I think that coffee, tea and hearty food are important to fuel a writing day – did you enjoy what was provided, and was there enough?
Food, delicious. Just the right amount of yummy treats (homemade bickies!) and fresh brain food (soup, toasty wraps) good coffee, relaxing tea, all delivered and offered unobtrusively and with uncanny timing.
4. I describe WriteSpace Retreat as “It is work. It’s also a retreat.” How would you fill in the gaps? It is [INSERT]. It’s also a [INSERT]
It’s space and time. And the space isn’t just the space itself, which was lovely, but the head space too. To be in a room where everyone is writing, to have permission to focus on nothing else, and a whole day to do so, well, it was invaluable for me. It also creates the added incentive of not wanting to be the ‘naughty kid’, with all those keyboards clacking, you don’t want to let that vibe down. The focus in the room was great.
Emily Spurr is a writer who once did not appreciate the luxury of time. She thought working or study (or both) were adequate reason for the fluctuations in her productivity relating to her own works. There was all the time in the world to finish them… Then she had two kids, at the same time. Making time became a struggle and concurrently an absolute essential requisite for sanity. Half an hour three times a week became a really lucky week. The hunger to finish the current project became a roar.
As well as being a hungry writer and the mother of twins, Emily is a development editor working in educational publishing. She is looking forward to completing her novel this year. The gods of toddler naps and writing retreats permitting.