There is much to be said for having your own personal writing space. Some of us have managed to carve out a spot; a corner of the bedroom or lounge, the end of the dining table, even a room to ourselves. However, unless that space has a lock on the door or a cone of silence, chances are we still suffer the distractions of the everyday – the neighbour’s new motor bike, the sink full of dishes, the telemarketers who don’t understand your blunt voicemail message, the child who is bored – they don’t go away.
So what do we do? We might seek the ambience of a cafe or library, even a park on a sunny day. But what of the distractions of the other patrons; the laughter, the tinkle of spoons, the almost canned chatter? It may seem odd to choose to write in these areas of raised noise and movement. But for many of us they work. My theory is that we can ignore such distractions because they have nothing to do with us, they don’t demand our immediate attention. And on the upside, if we are inclined to eavesdrop, the perceived lives of others in these public places may just be the basis of that next story we have been looking for.
However. There is another option for finding the peace and quiet we crave. A Writers Retreat. A chance to withdraw from the everyday. A place to spend literally hours at a time with nothing else to do but focus on writing, research, reading and coffee. Hot coffee. How do I know this?
Recently I was spoiled with the gift of two days at the Katherine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre. In a very pretty setting in the hills above Perth, they have three cabins perfectly set up for such a retreat. And the only distraction is the view. And perhaps the birdsong.
I highly recommend this option. Hours to yourself. Nothing but words on a page. Someone deserves the Nobel Prize for the idea.