From time to time we invite a guest to reflect on their retreat week. It always helps us to hear feedback, warts and all, and in this case it popped into our inbox from Lin Rogers, before we had even had a chance to ask. Lin emailed to let us know how she was getting on after her week at Bosloe, and she gave us a wonderfully full and honest account of her experience at The Writing Retreat. Thank you Lin for letting us share your message here.
Finally, peace and quiet… Since returning from the oasis of calm and creativity that was Bosloe, I’ve begun to feel that I was turning into Widow Twankey, with laundry billowing on the line every day. We’ve had ten changeovers of guests (downstairs holiday let) and visitors (family and friends staying upstairs) since I got back. Luckily, the summer season has now started with longer 6-7 day stays so I’ve been able to peel off the Marigolds and finally get down to some writing.
I’m still salivating when I think about the food glorious food that you (and the lovely Millie) spread out before us all week. I fully expected to have piled on the pounds but must have burned it all off with the nervous energy, adrenalin rush and the general buzz of the place (can I please put in a plea for the recipe for the courgette bread as it looks like we’re in for another good crop of courgettes over at our allotment this summer.) [Noted Lin – we’ll get on to that!]
My time making beds and scrubbing shower rooms hasn’t been totally uncreative. I have been assimilating my thoughts on The Writing Retreat and mulling over lots of ideas for my book.
Despite having read blogs from the previous Retreats, I really didn’t know what to expect. I was extremely nervous when I arrived (which I always am when meeting new people) and hoping that I would pass muster amongst the group in terms of my writing capabilities.
I think that you’ve got the balance of structure and freedom just right. I did initially feel daunted at the prospect of sitting at the table in my room and finally ‘getting down to it’ – the ultimate blank sheet of paper and no excuses about time to write etc. But the quietude of Bosloe with its ever-changing vistas over the estuary from my window proved to be the perfect setting for the imagination to run riot and the words to flow.
But the setting was only part of the formula. The morning writing warm-ups were a revelation, both because of the strange things that came from my unconscious pen and the fascinating pieces that other people wrote and shared from the same prompts.
The people too – my fellow writers – were part of something that we somehow co-created at Bosloe. Was our group dynamic similar to that of previous retreats? [actually, it was :-)] I’ve been on residential business courses in the past but never before encountered such a feeling of genuine warmth and support – which happened very quickly. The encouragement and sharing of stories – about our own projects, but of life stories too – was very special. I felt relaxed and ‘at home’ within the group and with you both.
However, the magical ingredient in the mix (food references deliberate) was the two of you and your extraordinary generosity of spirit which encapsulated the essence at the heart of The Writing Retreat. The one-to-one sessions were challenging and fulfilling at the same time. Your skills and experience enabled me (and many of the rest of the group) to dissect and analyse my writing and what I was trying to achieve with it. Your advice has unleashed the inner child in me (no bad thing if you’re trying to write for kids). I was fearful that, away from the highly charged creative atmosphere of the Retreat, I would be unable to maintain it. However, in the few hours that I have managed to sit at the laptop, Katie [Lin’s character] has taken me by surprise and I’ve written 5,000 words with relative ease.
I’m itching to get on with it and am planning my weeks with solid chunks of personal writing time in the schedule. As a project manager, I’ve always bemoaned clients who completely ignored my production schedules, so I now have to live up to my own exacting standards.
Sorry if I’ve wittered on too much, but I feel that the Retreat was an important step in helping me find a focus in my writing at long last. So a BIG THANK YOU to you both.
And thank you, Lin – we’re delighted to hear that it’s worked so well for you. As you know, we absolutely love running our retreats, and we very much look forward to welcoming you back soon. In the meantime, you know what to do… (turns away and starts typing)