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Regular readers will know that I am planning (in fact, more than planning: I have now shelled out hard cash on transport bookings for it) a month on a writing retreat.  I have chosen this option in part because I know myself rather well – after all, I’ve now spent nearly 48 years in my own company.  And I have found that the surest way to gain enjoyment, satisfaction and even happiness from my work is to do the sort of work that suits me in a manner that suits me.

Much of my time is spent writing – fiction, non-fiction, articles, procedures, blogs, etc.  And I write much better (a) on a keyboard (rather than by hand), and (b) in silence.  At a pinch I can put on something instrumental for company, but definitely nothing with words.  Contrast this to my husband, who likes to work to the background of Radio 4 and (yes, and) some sporting event (rugby, cycling or golf) playing in a window on his computer.  For this, he must be banished from my working environment on a regular basis.

And although I am what the employment agencies like to call a self-starter (I’ve been self-employed for nearly a quarter of a century, so it’s just as well really), I have found that I work most efficiently and effectively with a structure.  For “Plank 2”, that has involved booking this retreat and telling everyone about it – so it would be too mortifying to come home with anything less than a completed first draft.  And to give me an extra incentive, I have also contacted the cover designer of “Fatal Forgery” (you can see his marvellous work here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fatal-Forgery-Susan-Grossey/dp/1489587403/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1391689649&sr=8-1 ) and booked him in for “Plank 2”.  He’s so popular that I won’t be able to delay him, so that’s that: he’ll need my page count by the beginning of October.  It sounds a bit mad (indeed, a friend asked yesterday why I put myself under pressure when it’s entirely up to me when, or even if, “Plank 2” appears), but it works for me.

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