Susan Grossey

Out for the count

When I started telling people that I was coming away on this writing retreat, what everyone wanted to know was how I was planning to measure my progress.  To be honest, I think they imagined me sitting on a sunny balcony, nibbling a Toblerone, and only pretending to write, so it was a fair question.  My overall aim was to go home with a complete first draft – having arrived with about a third of it already written – and to achieve that I calculated that I would need to write an average of 2,000 words a day.

So how have I done?  I have been keeping a daily tally, and looking at that I can see that I have actually achieved an average of 1,946 words a day.  Of course, I haven’t just been adding words to my tally; alongside the actual writing, I have been plotting (and re-plotting – quite a few things have changed in the past week) and researching.  I did intend to do all of my research before I retreated, and indeed I managed to do quite a bit, but of course with plot changes comes more research.  For instance, only today I decided to include a snippet about smallpox, so had to read a bit about that – although perhaps it wasn’t wise to do it just before lunch…  Pox ain’t pretty, it turns out.

I now have only three full writing days left, including today – Wednesday will be taken up with washing, cleaning the flat for the next visitors and other admin, and then my husband arrives on Thursday to take me home.  Will I do it – will I get that first draft finished?  Well, I have three major chapters to go, so as long as I knuckle down and stay away from the balcony and Toblerone, it should be possible.

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