Having moaned like heck and told everyone how hard done by I was that I didn't have time to write because I was under pressure, had too many distractions (our hefty Labrador climbing on my lap for a start when I write), work, you know the usual excuses, Dr Who is on the telly, I thought that my week at West Dean, Chichester would be just the ticket.
In short, it's a fantastic place with beautiful scenery, fantastic people, a relaxed atmosphere and incredibly good food. I was lucky enough to have won a week's residential stay courtesy of Myriad Editions back in May and took my week's stay two weeks ago.
I arrived on Sunday 16th September and was allocated a room in the Old Vicarage. I couldn't have asked for a better room. Its double doors gave me great views of the gardens but I was far enough from the main building so that I was completely undisturbed. I think that this may have been my problem.
My first afternoon, I got to my room, unpacked, opened the doors to the garden, got my laptop out and prepared myself to write. There was only one problem - without the pressure of 'I must write now while I have an hour', I couldn't think of anything to write.
The plan was to start on book two. It was looking like more of a pamphlet at this stage. My progress was slow until the next day when something clicked into place and I got cracking. I'm even pleased with a lot of the work I did. I wrote 20000 words and spent two days working on my third lot of edits for All Fall Down. This may not sound very impressive but this was on top of three meals per day, morning coffee, afternoon tea and the bar opening at 6pm. All in all, I think that I did pretty well.
Perhaps I've hit the nail on the head - it was the pressure of having to be at the dining room five times a day that inspired me to well and truly pull my finger out and get scribbling. That's my excuse for a tea break sorted then.