Weeknotes – S02E12 – Making good use of a retreat!


It’s amazing how much you can get done, and still have time to relax, when you’re on a six-day retreat in a Devon manor, surrounded by snow.



My plan to work harder today got off to a good start – I was ready to go at 8:15am!

I started off by reading a recent Well-Storied article about brainstorming, and trying one of the suggested writing prompts from Reedsy.

Then I went back to the Artisan Revision Plan and did amendments to the scenes on another five notecards.

I moved onto my Space Swap story next and wrote the first draft, based on the notes I took last week. It was too short, but I decided to leave it for now and come back to it later in the week to expand it.

I wrote and submitted my second GYWO post for the month, a motivational discussion of how it’s never too late to get started on your writing.

Then I went back to the Artisan Revision Plan and completed the last five notecard scene amendments in the first round of major revisions. That took me to nearly four hours of work done since getting up, so I decided to take a well-earned break until after lunch, and also decided to leave Artisan alone for the rest of the day.

After lunch, I brainstormed an interesting speculative submission opportunity and came up with a couple of ideas. I set my subconscious crew to work on them, asking for some insight on where to go next tomorrow.

I read some stuff about CBT on SuperBetter, which gave me an idea for a poem that fit this week’s Hour of Writes prompt (Power of Myth), so I submitted something to that for the first time since January.

Then I had lots of fun figuring out a way to combine my GYWO Yahtzee prompt card, with several abandoned prompt fills on Fic Promptly, and the first month’s challenge from Ficlet Zone

I collated some notes on Colours (which has been sorely neglected in recent weeks) and had an epiphany about one of the characters, which will improve the plot arc a great deal.

Then I finished off my afternoon stint by reading some more of Bird by Bird, to bring me over the three hour mark since lunch. A very productive day indeed!



I put together a full day’s schedule, like yesterday, and was at my chosen spot in the manor by 8:15am again. The subconscious crew had been firing snippets of fanfiction at me since I got up, so I launched straight in with the first story for my Yahtzee prompt challenge. (I struck the speculative submission idea off the list altogether, since the crew had roundly rejected it.)

I got two short fics done quite quickly, then moved on to checking the proofs for the story of mine that will shortly be appearing in a Schreyer Ink anthology. I discovered that my story is first, which was a lovely surprise. I also found three typos, which was annoying because I was supposed to have proofread the story before sending the final version, and obviously missed these errors.

I did some research into how to write good query letters and synopses, and honed my drafts of both for Artisan.

After lunch, I wrote two more short fanfics for the Yahtzee challenge, then perused my notes for the next section of Colours, trying to get it back in my head after its recent abandonment. I read some more of Bird by Bird, then called it a day on the writing front, because my brain was starting to struggle.

I did then have a very productive half hour just before dinner, working out a calendar for the rest of the Artisan revision. I’d completed revisions to the first two thirds in approximately seven days of actually working on it, and figured out I had another twenty-one days to work on it before Winchester. That seemed like a lot, but the last third of the novel has to be pretty much rewritten, so it’ll be a lot of work. I added deadlines for various bits, and then brainstormed the main plot points, which all felt really useful.



I woke up mega early with my head full of Artisan thoughts. So, the first thing I did when I settled down to work was to write more notes to get the ideas out of my head and recorded somewhere so I wouldn’t forget them.

I went through my Space Swap story, expanding it where I could, because it was 300 words short of the minimum. Then I went through my notes for a possible John Wick fanfic, to decide whether or not I should sign up for WIP Big Bang this year. To complete my fanfic trifecta, I wrote the last little fic for my Yahtzee challenge.

Then I went out for a long walk to clear the cobwebs from my brain and get my glucose levels down a bit before lunch.

After lunch, I did a Tarot card draw to generate ideas for the John Wick fanfic, and it worked so well that I ended up with a rough outline for the whole thing. So I guess I’m doing WIP Big Bang this year! The deadlines are similar to Winchester, so I’ll have to juggle it with Artisan, but I think it’ll be good to have a completely different project to work on at the same time.



Last day at Stickwick and only the morning available, so I thought I’d better not waste it.

I woke up with my brain full of Artisan thoughts again, so I went through my notecards for the last third, working out the best way to structure the rewrite. It turned out to involve adding in a couple of extra scenes and just re-jigging bits of the rest. I came to the conclusion that it didn’t have to be as complicated as I thought, so the June deadline for the whole manuscript is looking more possible than it did, and I’ll hopefully have more time for copy-editing than I previously thought, which can only be a good thing.

I did a couple of reviews, bringing myself up-to-date on that, I brainstormed some ideas for an upcoming Writing Magazine competition, and I finally started reading through the Masterclass Workshop materials I got from The Master’s Review last summer.

I also made a comprehensive list for my planned full day of writing, back in London, tomorrow, to try and keep my retreat momentum going.



Momentum was stalled somewhat by a very late night and a very early morning, but I made it to Good & Proper by 10:30am, with a clear stretch until a dinner engagement at 6:30pm, so no excuse to give up early and go home.

I compiled my Colours notes and made a few more. I also typed up notes for a random short story idea from much earlier on in my current notebook.

I worked from my Artisan notecards to add in a new scene and do a few more revisions.

I went back to my notes for the Writing Magazine competition and attempted a first pass. It went unexpectedly well, and also came out at 746 words (for a word limit of 750 words), which was pretty awesome.

I read some more of Bird By Bird to finish things off, and felt very happy with what I’d achieved today, as well as what I’d achieved over the course of the week.



I mostly gave myself the weekend off, but did manage a few writerly bits and pieces.

I posted Friday’s short story on Scribophile for comments.

I did my Hour of Writes marking.

And I helped Bear post his account of our glorious week at Stickwick Manor.


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