Writers are funny creatures. 

They walk around with whole worlds building steadily in their head, the words of imaginary people echoing in their ears, and examining every situation to see if they can steal any of it for their fictional creations.

They spend hours locked away on their own hammering at a keyboard or scratching away at a piece of paper with a pen, only to descend into a world of self doubt and delete or throw it all away.

It’s a solitary vocation and one that is ridiculously hard. They say that everyone has a book inside themselves, but in my opinion it’s just not true - writing a book requires a strange mind and a singular commitment.

I say this from personal experience. My first novel, The Zoo, came out in April 2015 and I’ve been working on my second ever since. I’ve just finished the first draft and am now ‘leaving it to breathe’ before going back to start the editing process.

Writing requires peace, quiet, and time to concentrate - three things which aren’t conducive to having a one year old daughter and helping to run a business.

So in order to get it over the hurdle of the first draft I recently hid myself away in a writers retreat at The Clock House, part of the Arvon Hurst centre in the Shropshire Hills. Set in the grounds of the beautifully renovated home of the celebrated playwright, John Obsbourne, the Clock House is made up of 4 apartments specially geared up to help writers work.

I stayed there for 4 days; waking early each morning for a walk in the woods behind the house, before writing right through until the evening, when I could enjoy a glass of wine and read a book in front of the fire in the cosy lounge.

It’s a rare thing nowadays to be able to experience complete tranquility - no wifi, no TV and no work emails - but the Clock House is perfectly set up to allow this and consequently encourage creativity. I fully intend to repeat the experience next year.

If you’re so inclined, you can find out more at Arvon.

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