While I could mean a retreat from writing here (and sometimes that sounds like a good idea), I’m actually talking about a place to go to write, or paint, or read, or just be you for a while. Where is this absolute gem, you ask? I’ll tell you (because I’m nice like that).
It’s in a tiny little village called Sheepwash, near Okehampton, in Devon. I know for a lot of my friends outside the UK environs this is rather a long way to go, but if you’re ever visiting…
Anyway, I’ve had trouble getting into my rewrite with all the distractions of everyday life intruding. I’d booked a holiday, but, inevitably, if I stayed home, I’d find chores to do. My plan was to get away completely – escape – and concentrate on my writing for a few days.
I had heard of Deborah Dooley’s Retreats For You on various other sites and it came highly recommended. She and her husband, Bob, have opened up their gorgeous thatched cottage to people needing a break. But it’s so much more. Not only is breakfast included, but all meals and snacks as well (Deb makes amazing banana bread!). All food is home-cooked and I came away feeling better than I had in ages. Guess that says something about my cooking, huh?
There is a desk in your room if you want to write, etc. up there. You are also free to sit in the lounge, with its comforting real log fire, and write. I took up residence there one afternoon, and Deb and Bob were kind enough to ply me with tea. I felt like a fraud – I had tea-making bits and pieces in my room (including fresh milk – what a luxury!).
If you want to take a break and watch a DVD, there’s a whole library of them in the TV room at the back of the house, which is also for guests’ use.
Deb is a freelance journalist and is available for general writing advice. Plus, with other writers staying at the cottage, there is the opportunity to get feedback about your day’s writing, but only if you want to.
You can also be as sociable or as solitary as you like. If you’d like to keep writing, you can have your meals on a tray in your room.
While I was there, I finally managed to get over a bump in my rewrites that had been stalling me. I also relaxed for the first time in ages. If you need a bit of writing time, or a bit of “me” time, maybe you should try a retreat.
And if you’re in the UK, or you’re visiting here, I seriously recommend choosing Deb’s Retreats For You, so you can experience for yourself the treasure of a place she’s created in Devon.