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So here I am, on retreat: day one.  I have set up all of my gear on the dining table, which means that I can see the garden, reach the biscuits and talk to the cat.  I started the day by noting my current word count (39,274 words) so that I can check that I am hitting the required 2,000 words per day.  As I gathered all of my stuff to bring it downstairs, I found several notes that I have obviously jotted at odd moments and stuffed into my desk drawer for later consideration and incorporation.  Some of them make sense – “check weather in summer 1826” – while others are just plain cryptic.  What on earth was I thinking when I scribbled “patterns of extortion”?  But having them all laid out on the table certainly makes me look like a proper author – they’re always surrounded by plot notes and reminders.

I won’t pretend that today was easy: it’s tricky to get back into the intensity of writing and concentration needed for that many words.  But here I am at just gone four, and I can clock off with 2,111 word under my belt.  And a handy plot twist has just come to mind as well, so that’s gratifying.

And in case you’re wondering, the “What’s Your Poison?” event at Heffers last night was terrific fun.  I was “on a table” (i.e. standing around a table displaying our books) with three other authors, and we had a whale of a time.  There’s this perception that authors are solitary creatures, and perhaps they are most of the time, but when they’re out en masse, they’re a lively bunch – hoots of laughter, and lots of support and encouragement for the newbie in their midst.  I don’t know how many books I sold – certainly six disappeared from the table.  But I found a 20p coin on the floor, so that’s pure profit.