Bristol Writers’ Retreat

I write this sat on the rather chilly platform 3 of Bristol Temple Meads. Not because I haven’t done writerly stuff today, more to thaw out my thumb. Yes that’s correct: I DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT NOT WRITING! And why’s that, Ed? COS I’VE BLOOMIN’ DONE SOME!!! I hate it when people on tinternet use all caps for emphasis, don’t you?

Today* I went to my first Writers HQ retreat in Bristol, run by Amanda Staples. And I got a whole bunch done. The setting was perfect – The Old Library in Eastville. It is a community-run library and basically a large room full of bookly wonder and lots of comfy seats.

Bristol writers hq retreat
The scoreboard. I wsn’t in it for the wordcount, but still managed to land myself a gold star for my efforts. GET IN (as they say)!

Unlike pretty much everyone else (but not because I’m special), I concentrated on structure rather than wordcount. Recently I’ve been pulling all of my notes from everywhere and popping them in Scrivener and Aeon Timeline to create a single source of truth. I’ve also been fleshing out story characters and relationships. I basically spent the day doing more of that, despite already having written a chunk of the novel. As a planned series, I’ll wager it’ll save me more time in the long run. And also help in those “what would s/he do in this situation given eveything s/he’s been through?” instances.

If you’re a fan of writing with other writers, check-ins to see how you’re getting on, lots of tea, scrummy food and chatting, this is for you. It’s less about guidance and more about getting on with it in a supportive space. Also: you don’t need to read a thing to anyone, which feels a lot less stressful. You can check out the Writers HQ here (be warned, it’s sweary!). For me it’s been the full-day kick up the arse I needed.

P.S. You also get a gold star for writing.

*I actually only wrote the opening to this yesterday, before getting distracted by Family Fortunes, then going to bed because I’D WRITTEN (eaten) TOO MUCH.

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