You want to write. Really you do. You long to. In fact, if you could run away now to Rome and write full-time with the Italian sunlight streaming through your open balcony doors you’d be in heaven. You think about it all the time. But there are bills to pay, things to clean, people to see and that dinner won’t make itself, will it?
Somewhere, tucked away at the back of your head, there might be a small voice suggesting that these are excuses, that you’re allowing yourself to procrastinate.
That voice is probably right. We all need something to help us stop procrastinating. Tough love, a place where it’s impossible to do anything but write, where you walk away at the end of a day tired but elated, on a writing high. Luckily, I know just such a place…
Where do you live?
I’m starting to list retreats run by other people/companies so that it’s easy for you to find your nearest retreat. When you book you’ll be contacted by the retreat leader directly with more details. At the moment, all London retreats are mine.
Run by: Me (Charlie) or Katherine
Location: The Cube, Shoreditch unless otherwise stated (see bottom of the page for more information). I’m very sorry, The Cube has steps and isn’t suitable for wheelchairs.
Cost: £40 per day, including lunch and cake!
Sunday 26th May 2013 - £40
Sunday 9th June 2013 – £40
Sunday 23rd June 2013 – £40
A freelance writer and editor, Amanda wrote a quarter of her novel at my Urban Writers’ Retreat in London and loved them so much that when she moved out of London she decided to start her own in Exeter.
Location: The Generator Hub, Exeter
Cost: £35 including lunch, tea, coffee and cake
Run by: Amanda at Retreat West
Sunday 12th May 2013 – £35 – spaces available
Sunday 9th June – £35 – spaces available
The Write Day
Date: Sundays 19th May 2013, 16th June 2013, 21st July 2013, 18th August 2013
Location: Divas Cafe, Frome, Somerset
Cost: £30 including food
Run by: Kate at The Write Day
Does this sound like you?:
- You find it tricky to find time to write. Life is busy and distracting, and things just get in the way despite your best intentions.
- You know what you want to write and how much you want to write per day but, um, things seem to be slipping. Or you just feel as though you need to get a few thousand words out of the way to give the project a boost.
- When you do have time set aside to write you start to feel a desperate need to do the washing up, paint a fence, organise the sock drawer or file your tax returns and naps start to look awfully tempting.
- You do this even if you have a pressing reason to write, such as a course or publisher’s deadline in the distance.
- You get disheartened sometimes because, just as you’re about to sit down and write, you realise that nothing you write is any good anyway.
Urban Writers Retreat gives you time and space away from the real world so that you can just write.
The hardest bit of writing is actually sitting down and starting, getting through those first 10 minutes before you sink into the world you’ve created. Imagine being somewhere that this isn’t an issue: no phone, no internet, no children, no sock drawer. You’ve already worked out what you will write and without distractions it’s just you and your work, surrounded by the sound of other people in the same situation tapping away industriously, so settling into that lovely feeling of being lost in your work is easier.
I have the same problems as you and I’m here to enable you to write, to be your cheerleader, and to look after you with cake. Yes, cake. And biscuits. And tea. Mmmm.
‘The absence of distractions is rare and hugely helpful. I am a fairly slow writer, turning in around 1,500 words on my very best, chore-free days before I feel I’ve done as much as I can and need to call a halt. On Sunday, I wrote over 6,000 words of the novella I’m currently working on… this was a big breakthrough, restoring the momentum I’ve carried on since.’ Rob.
‘Heaps of thanks, Charlie! I wouldn’t have finished it if I hadn’t gone to the Urban Writers Retreat! ‘ Sian, who wrote 13,000 words (our record!) to finish her novel at the retreat.
How does it work?
- One day (10-6) in a Central London venue that is all ours and has ample power sockets but no internet (begone evil distraction!). Phones must be off.
- I provide reference books and creative exercises in case you get stuck, plus lunch and refreshments including home-baked cakes.
- Before arriving you’ll set your own goals to make sure you get the most out of the time.
- You bring your laptop, notebooks, project and a willingness to write.
- That’s it! You come, you write, you go away happy. No classes, no embarassing sharing of work. We’re here to write.
This is the only writing retreat in London and the only one running for a day so it fits into your life easily. And if you’re buying for the writer in your life (aren’t you lovely?), just tell me their name when you book and I’ll send them a pdf voucher.
A one-day writing retreat costs £40 including lunch and refreshments. We limit numbers to make sure that you have plenty of space and a supportive small-group atmosphere, so join in quick!
The thing that makes you a writer is writing. That means you actually have to do it! Nothing else matters. How long have you been letting yourself get away with making excuses and being ‘busy’ because writing is a bit scary and you’re not sure you’re good enough? How much longer will it take you to get around to writing what you can achieve at the retreat in one day? It’s time to take your writing seriously because it’s the only thing that will get rid of that nagging feeling that all that procrastinating and not-writing gives you.
And if a day sounds terrifying, don’t worry! The time is yours to use as you please so you can leave when you’ve done as much as you set out to do. I send out a goal-setting sheet a few days before the retreat and I suggest giving yourself projects for each time-slot so that you know what you’re doing. It can also help to bring a backup project just in case, and if you find yourself getting stuck we have creative exercises available to help you. So, what are you waiting for?
The Small Print
If you want to swap dates its normally possible to switch provided that there is room on the date you want to change to (which must also be within the Sep-Nov 2011 series) and that you give a minimum of 2 weeks notice. If you find you can’t come and need a refund, you must let me know at least 2 weeks ahead of your retreat date. I know that life gets in the way sometimes but am very sorry, I can’t provide refunds for cancellations if the retreat date is less than 2 weeks away. If you’d like to change or cancel, just email Charlie on email@example.com.
Don’t worry. Click on the buy now button. Take a look in the bottom left, just above the line of credit card symbols, and you’ll see ‘don’t have a paypal account?’ Click to continue here and it will process your payment securely without requiring you to sign up. I’m very sorry, but I can no longer accept cheques.
My retreats in London are held at The Cube, a lovely members’ co-working space located a 10 minute walk or short bus ride from Liverpool St and Old St stations. Unfortunately The Cube isn’t accessible to wheelchairs, although there is a room on the ground floor that may suit people with limited mobility – please contact me to find out more.
155 Commercial St
Other retreat venues are noted on the listing, and you’ll get more information from the retreat leader when you book. Please note that I do not run or take any responsibility for any retreats not run by Urban Writers’ Retreat (generally the London ones but check above each retreat listing for details). I just list other people’s retreats on my site to make it easier for writers to find one near them!