Ok, so I’ve been silent for a while, that’s because I’ve been away, first on a self imposed retreat, then for a couple of weeks’ holiday. Holiday? Do other writers do what I do, lug their latest creation with all the associated research notes and work on it at any spare moments to be crammed in between the exciting world of hotel living and sightseeing trips? And as for my retreat, I was so looking forward to this, days of empty space to just write without cooking or any of the usual housekeeping stuff. What actually happened was that I realised there are limits to the period of time I can write for. I’m no Beryl Bainbridge, locking myself up and living in pyjamas and pot noodles for months. No, two hours and I’m brain dead, have to go and do something else, preferably something practical. It was really good to find this out, because I was then able to construct a programme of working, two hours after breakfast, then a walk or trip to shops then a couple of hours editing before supper, then two more hours writing before finishing off with a book or TV. It worked really well and I still got a lot more done than the two hours a day that are my usual limit four or five days a week at home. My ‘retreat’, just a five day break at a cheap hotel in Blackpool, cost me just £100 as against ‘proper’ writing retreats that usually cost upwards of £500. I’ve been on writing holidays and to writing conferences but I’ve never really gone on an organised writing retreat. I’d be interested to hear if other writers have done so and whether they are good value. I can see the value for unpublished writers but are they worth the money for writers who already are published and can you really get peace to write? I thought of applying for a Hawthornden retreat but it’s for a whole month and I think my little experiment in Blackpool has taught me that that kind of retreat is just too much for me. Anyway, now I’m back home and so far knuckling down to the writing quite well. Done a lot of editing and revising and now broken the back of the halfway mark.