In fact, the rhythms and habits of my fellow writers were really interesting to observe. The hand-writer was the most prolific, maybe because she had less opportunity to go back and re-write and correct? Another retreater would start writing in her pyjamas as soon as she got up because that was when she felt at her freshest and most inspired. Another lady we had to install in a room of her own, as she likes to read out loud while she’s writing—it works because she does great dialogue. As for me, I would write in twenty to thirty-minute bursts, followed by a few minutes’ timeout in the villa’s pretty garden (when the rain allowed), where I would noodle over tricky emotions or plot developments that I was wrestling with in my head.
The best bit was in the evenings when we settled down after dinner and read out what we’d written that day to receive feedback. I really wish I had could have this on a daily basis—together with that amazing view over the Atlantic!