Well, here we are again. Since my last retreat update, the Urban Writers Retreats have turned 3 years old! I can’t honestly say it’s been easy;  many times I’ve thought that if my aim was to create something cool and make a little money, I might have been better off getting a bar job and taking up painting.  Sometimes I end up spending all of my time working on the retreats rather than writing, which rather defeats the object.

But, aside from the fact that I’m terrible at painting, seeing how happy it makes people to walk away with another chunk of novel done and hearing that ‘oh, what a great idea’ from writers, knowing I’m able to provide the sort of space people long for, tells me this is a good idea and that I should persevere. And, of course, I’m one of you. I’m one of the people who wants to write but who sometimes finds it hard to make room for the writing I really want to do (and am therefore a little scared of). I know this benefits writers because it benefits me.

And so my little retreats, after starting inauspiciously in a room with a half-dead mouse in the corner (a story for another time perhaps), have made it through 3 years. And this year I’ve rediscovered them. I’ve started doing things my way, with afternoon tea and wordcount horseraces. I ran an online bootcamp earlier in the year, and while it’s fair to say I’m still working out how to do those things with a better approach and not end up feeling like a schoolteacher, I have gained huge faith in the power of groups and accountability and am planning more things for next year.

Speaking of which, here’s the horserace. Mine is the rubbish one at the back because I was doing a lot of sorting and planning that day, but check out the Ostrich way over on the right! It feels as though a 5k wordcount challenge is a good thing to give people to aim for, and you can see a few grouped in that area. I just add the picture/race element because it’s funny. Not everyone thinks so, but that’s ok. Enough people join in for it to be cute and amusing.

 

And as for cake, oh, we had cake. The Bake-O-Matic went a bit retro and votes were pretty evenly split. So I went for a Victoria sponge cake and chocolate brownie bites. Then Elaine, a first-timer, bought us her pumpkin and raisin loaf, which was completely lovely and made me all warm and fuzzy. Oh, and they aren’t on this pic but I’d had a fit of enthusiasm and made mince pies. I know it’s a bit early, but I don’t do a retreat in December and I was determined to get past my terrible-pastry issues (since you ask, it was a bit meh on this batch but I’ve got it sorted since).

 

I also wanted to show you the gorgeous green wall that’s been growing outside The Cube for the last 6 months or so. This autumn has been so mild that it’s survived really well and I’m interested to see what it’s like when we come back in January.

So. That’s it. Another year over, for the physical retreats at least. But I do have exciting plans up my sleeve, including online writing retreats!

Like, srsly.

More on that to come.