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.