Not the naughty kid…

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.


Lunchtime listen: Death By Dim Sim

This month we’ll enjoy Sarah Vincent reading an extract from her memoir, ‘Death By Dim Sim,’ which is being published by Penguin Random House in March 2017.

Beginning her writing life as a playwright, Sarah’s plays have been performed professionally in Australia and travelled to Athens and Edinburgh. Since changing her focus to prose, she was invited to a memoir-writing week at Varuna in 2014 and was accepted into the Hardcopy program run by ACT Writers in 2015.

Sarah has appeared on festival panels and run workshops discussing many aspects of the writing and publishing process, including taking the leap from short fiction to a full-length book and finding support available to writers.

I’m really looking forward to hearing Sarah read from her memoir, and then we’ll have to let her get back to writing her next project, a detective novel called ‘The Fake Detective’ after lunch.

Look out and listen

Look – WriteSpace Retreat is on Instagram, and loving it.
IMG_1396Today’s pic is the before shot of the Platform at Donkey Wheel House. On Sunday the room will be set up for a day of writing and eating. I’m looking forward to meeting my first-time guests as well as catching up with some familiar faces. If we feel like a Lunchtime Listen I’ve chosen a short clip from…well I’ll keep that quiet until afterwards.

At our next date, Sunday 17th July, we’ll have a Lunchtime Listen with laughs. One of our writers will read from her upcoming memoir and I’ll be asking guests if they’d like to bring a paragraph or piece of flash that’s made them laugh.

Interested? Get in touch to find out more or to book your place at WriteSpace Retreat. Jen


We’ve moved!

It’s very exciting to let you know that I’ll be holding the next WriteSpace Retreats in the sunny spaces at Donkey Wheel House.

One of the challenges for me has been finding a CBD venue that is light and bright, available on Sundays with simple kitchen facilities, good wifi and a few other nice-to-haves…and I’m so pleased to have found The Platform as the answer to these needs.

We’ll be able to configure the room depending on who’s there and how you want to work; there’s a foyer space with reading chairs and I’ve been saving some short podcast episodes that could be perfect for a lunchtime listen.

If you need more information please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Bookings are open – for you or the writer in your life.


where creative events belong

Sponsored place

I really enjoy preparing and providing plenty of food to the writers at WriteSpace Retreats, which includes the specialty fruit loaves from Oliver Lane.

They’ve been kind enough to offer our first business sponsored place to a writer for the retreat on Sunday 13th September. If you’d like to win a place to join us, just email me with your name, FB/Twitter details (so that I can promote your good news) and a brief summary of what you might work on during the day (not compulsory, just because I’m curious). Jen

For you or the writer in your life.