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Monday, 11 July 2016

Writers Retreat at The Clockhouse

Last weekend I went on a writers retreat at The Clockhouse which is a part of The Hurst; one of several writers centres in the UK run by Arvon.

Located in the Shropshire countryside, I had no idea of what to expect upon arrival. I had never been to any type of retreat before and had only signed onto this one as it was a birthday gift from the Husband. That said, I welcomed the opportunity to step away from domestic duties and a frenzied London reeling from the Brexit aftermath. I also had a creative project on the boil; a children's book which was in need of attention and time.

The Clockhouse is set up as a self-serviced writers retreat for four people. You go there for uninterrupted time to WRITE. There are no workshops or tutors. Each person has their own apartment with en-suite. The communal kitchen and dining areas are stocked with delicious, locally sourced meals and produce. Wine is provided via an honesty system. The shared lounge space has a log burner and bookshelves stuffed with books. There is no television and limited Wi-Fi. Outside are gorgeous woodland tracks to explore when you need to step away from your desk.

Below are some pictures I took during my time there:

The Clockhouse

View of Clockhouse from the Hurst


Woods, for when you can't write anymore.

Accompanying me during the retreat were three other women. During our time together, we spent a lot of time discussing writing (and life) over cups of tea or glasses of wine. They all had works in various stages of development and it was incredibly affirming to discuss writing with people who could empathise. This was definitely the highlight of the retreat for me; the ability to engage with fellow struggling writers who understood the daily challenges and intangible rewards of the writing life. I realised this is not something I get in my life and made a mental note to try and join a writers group ASAP!

I don't know whether it was the delicious food I gorged myself on, the company of interesting writers, the tranquil nature surrounds or the absolute lack of  any distractions, but when the retreat was finished, I had completed far more work than I had expected to. And was also far more relaxed than I had been in a long while.

Ted Hughes, one of the early proponents of Arvon is quoted on their website as saying:

The Arvon Method has hit on the precise formula, the precise 'Open Sesame', needed to crack the shell and release the hidden creative energy.

He's right. Whatever the elixir is that Arvon uses to prompt writers to write was in full flow during the retreat. I enjoyed it immensely and will return.


Arvon Foundation, 60 Farringdon Road, EC1R 3GA




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