Monday 26 November 2018

RNA South and West Wales Chapter Writing Retreat Day
Last Wednesday, the South and West Wales Chapter held its very first Writing Retreat Day. It was expertly organised by our very own, Catherine Burrows. Catherine had experienced such days when she lived in Kent and was full of enthusiasm for how successful they were. Our venue for the day was the Events Room at John Lewis Department store in the heart of Cardiff. The venue was ideally situated with excellent car parking facilities, near bus stops and just a four minute walk away from the station. There was no charge for the room and we cannot praise John Lewis highly enough for the generous way they accommodated us. 

We arrived at 10.30 am ready to start writing at 11 am after grabbing a coffee, being signed in by security and hearing the 'housekeeping' rules from Catherine. We set out our lunch, a communal affair with each one of us bringing something to share. As you can see from the photos, a feast was in store. One member, Evonne, brought non-alcoholic Buck's Fizz which went down very well. 

This was the agenda for the day:
10.30 am - Coffee
11 am - 1 pm Morning writing session
1 pm - 2 pm Lunch
2 pm - 4 pm Afternoon writing session
4 pm - 4.30 pm Debrief session and end of retreat

There were ten of us attending and the room was big enough for us to spread out, with a table each, and concentrate on writing in silence (or with head-phones for music). Power points and multi-plugs were available for those needing to top up the charge on their laptops but others had brought notebooks and wrote in long-hand. We caught up over lunch and we had a chance to discuss our work and our current WiPs as well as plans for the afternoon ahead. A number of us were taking part in NaNoWriMo and it was a wonderful opportunity for members to raise the word count or push on with edits.

Our organiser for the day busy at her lap-top.
Catherine had asked us to bring our imaginations and creativity and, from the responses at the end of the day, that is exactly what we did. We all went home feeling proud of our achievements. For me, being with other writers in such an atmosphere certainly helped the words flow and I'm sure others felt the same.

As a group, we wrote 23,337 words and edited 7000 words. The general feeling was to repeat the day again soon. A huge thank you to Catherine! It was a very productive writing day with excellent company, delicious food and writing chat.

Another special thank you must also go to Stacey Taylor, one of our Chapter members, who was our John Lewis contact. Thank you, Stacey! You were a star and looked after us brilliantly. 

Thank you for reading. Have you been on a day like this? What were the highlights for you? I'd love it if you shared your experiences with us. Thanks.

You may also follow me on Twitter @JanBayLit and on my Jan Baynham Writer  Facebook page.

Monday 12 November 2018

Twelve Days In
Today is the twelfth day of NaNoWriMo 2018 and I'm taking time out to give you an update on my progress . . . or lack of it. That's not strictly true because although I'm behind and not achieving the word count needed to write 50,000 words in the month of November, I have averaged over 1000+ words so far. 
In my last post, I was close to making a decision about whether to participate or not. I did choose to register and decided to write as many scenes from my new novel as I could.
Here are some benefits I can see so far:

  • I have written something every day apart from two separate days when I was out all day. On each occasion, I wrote words on the next day to compensate. This means that on my graph - I love graphs! - there is a steady rise in the words I've written.
  • I've read through the previous day's writing and done a quick edit  before I start writing a new scene. This puts me back into the scene and I'm able to hopefully slip back seamlessly into the story.
  • As I write, I've inserted comments to follow up later. This has given me a better idea of the areas of research I need to do before I begin to write the novel properly. So far these include: duties of a groom and stable girl, officer training in WW11, legality of accepting a 'foundling', getting letters and mail to soldiers in France. 
I'm enjoying getting to know my characters. The scenes are from Mary's story so far and written from her point of view. 

Thank you for reading this short post. I haven't written any scenes today so I'll get back to my novel and report back to you in a week or so.

If you are taking part in NaNoWriMo this year, how is it going for you? I'm thrilled that many of my writing buddies are doing so well and are on track to achieve their goals. I'd love it if you commented, even if it's just your word count if you prefer. Thanks.

You may also follow me on Twitter @JanBayLit and on my Jan Baynham Writer Facebook page.