After a busy Christmas and New Year, I knew I had to buckle down to the second draft of novel #3, which I had spent most of December planning out on my Scrivener virtual cork board. A stretch of quiet, concentrated time was what was needed. I also had a bit of location research to do in Tankerton and Whitstable.
OldMan has had a few weeks of working from home – a rarity in his line of business – and he has been saying for a long time that, as he’s around to hold the fort, why don’t I just take myself off for a week and just write.
Perhaps he just wanted to get rid of me for a bit? But it seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up.
So: I set myself a bracing word-count target of twenty thousand words in a week, rented a beautiful cottage with a wood burning stove right by the beach in Whitstable and, as I write this, I’m on my last-but-one night here.
Has it been worth it?
Yes, yes and yes. While I’m going to end up about two thousand words short of my word target, this is largely down to the first two days here being almost entirely taken up with corrections to Every Vow You Break, and I am working hard at not beating myself up about it.
But the big thing is that for the rest of the time I have been completely absorbed in my story, with very little external noise to distract me. (except the odd foray into my blog, twitter and Facebook accounts, but even these have been policed stringently, with liberal use of the writer’s best friend, Freedom).
I have interspersed marathon sessions at the laptop with trips to the High Street to get supplies, and long walks and runs along the coast to fill my lungs with the sea air and my brain with the sights, sounds and smells of the setting. I even found the Tankerton bungalow that my main character grew up in with her Grandmother and Aunt (it’s the tiny, half-timbered one in the middle).
The picture at the top of this post is the wood burner in the cottage. If you’re a wood burner nerd like me, It’s a Charnwood and quite the best I’ve ever used. You just need to give it a stern look and it bursts into flame. Everything in the cottage here is a delight – it’s beautiful, simple and generously equipped. The perfect setting for a week of work.
The only problem is that I miss my lovely family so much it’s beginning to hurt. So, while I’ll regret having to leave this little work island, I’ll be very glad to be back home with all its domestic distractions and the people I love most. But hopefully I’ll be able to hold on to the clarity I’ve discovered during my time here, and take it with me when I go down to my shed to get on with the next twenty thousand words.
You can find details of the house here. Palatial for just one, it sleeps four comfortably in one double and one twin room, and you can squeeze another person on the sofa bed in the living room/kitchen.