I love writing. I always have. At primary school, English was my favourite subject and any time we got to write our own stories… well, those were my favourite lessons. I’ve always had a tendency to waffle on though. I still remember that when I was 10 we all had to write a Christmas story. I have no idea what mine was about now, but I do remember that I’d written over 20 pages, with no ending in sight. I’m pretty sure that by the time my teacher asked me to abandon it, mid-sentence, everyone else had finished theirs and written it up in neat with illustrations.
True to form, I’m waffling again. My point is that writing is something I’ve always enjoyed, but until I started blogging, it was always for school, or college or university.
When I graduated, way back in 2006, I remember feeling a bit lost. I’d achieved my life goal of completing teacher training but didn’t know what on earth I was working towards next. I remember declaring to my friend that I was going to write a book. A book about endometriosis to be exact. Did I? Nope.
Last year the idea came back to me and I started drafting some stuff. None of it was really gripping me though so I shelved it.
Enter Writers’ HQ
If you like to write, any type of writing at all, you need to have at look at Writers’ HQ. I’ve been following them on social media for almost a year now, mostly because their posts make me laugh. They have a ton of massively valuable content and courses and stuff too.
One of the things they do is put on Writing Retreats. Six hours in a room, with no internet access and no distractions. Just time and space to write.
After my friend Clara had been to one and it had helped her to finish writing her amazing book*, I decided to book onto one too. An early Christmas present to myself. When I booked it, I had no clue what I was going to use the time for. Blog posts probably, I thought.
“But I’m Not A Proper Writer…”
I wasn’t sure what to expect from today’s retreat at all. I didn’t know how many people would be there, whether we’d have to discuss our work or what. Would I be in a room with “proper” writers? Would I have to talk about what I was writing, or worse, have someone read it?
The day before I thought that it would be better to go with a bit of a plan. Although I do have a stack of blog posts I want to write, both for here and our business, I decided to go back to my endometriosis book. Or rather, start again.
We went around the room and quickly introduced ourselves and then everyone said what kind of writing they were doing and their goal for the day. My goal felt a bit woolly as I didn’t have a word target in mind. I decided that I wanted to plot out a timeline (pre-diagnosis through to the present day), get some idea of chapter contents and actually start writing.
I liked the way that the day was organised. We did little sprints of writing, of varying lengths, and then came back as a group to just check in with each other and see how on target we were. For the first two sprints, I focused on scribbling notes and plotting out my timeline. I was amazed at how much stuff was coming back to me from over ten years ago. Obviously I needed the peace and quiet and space to think!
For the rest of the day I started to write properly. I was amazed that I ended up with just shy of 3000 words! As far as my timeline goes, I wrote about 2002 until 2005.
The retreat was at Alpha Works, which is in the Alpha Tower near Mailbox and the old Municipal Bank. It was a really amazing space to work in and the view from the 21st floor was awesome. It’s a co-working and office space, and definitely somewhere I could spend a day another time. I wish I’d gotten some more photos of the inside, but trust me, it was lovely.
I would definitely book onto another Writing Retreat in the future, so it’s good to know that they will be the first Sunday of every month at Alpha Works.
As for the book I’ve started, of course a few hours later I already had doubts about whether it’s is any good. I think that I need to just power through and carry on with it when I get chance to. If I start overthinking and editing anything at this point it’ll be like that Year 6 Christmas story all over again…