Lately, I’ve been thinking about self development for writers because every year around this time, I start choosing which festivals and residential courses I’m going to attend the following year.
There’s lots you can do as a writer to self-improve but the best way to develop your skills is to practice. Sometimes, this isn’t as easy as it sounds – especially if you’re trying to fit a writing schedule around a hectic home/family/work life.
Inspired by a blog post by Alison Wells who went to Cill Rialaig for a writers retreat earlier in the year, I thought I’d share with you a little place that I know… A home away from home that offers the perfect setting for focused writing but without the application forms and selection process.
Although writers retreats with a selection process are both vital and necessary, there are limited spaces. As a result, many writers – particularly unpublished writers trying to break through into the publishing world – are left without anywhere to go. As we all know, a change of scenery, a break from routine is beneficial. As a result, it’s something all writers – whatever stage of their career – crave from time to time.
So where can you go?
Anywhere that offers you peace, quiet and space is perfect. It could be a room, a shed, a library or local cafe. But sometimes you want to treat yourself to something a little bit special, giving your writing time the dedication and respect it deserves.
As far as I’m concerned, this secret little writing retreat in Ireland that has served many of my writing needs in the past – and still does on occasion – needs celebrating, even though part of me wants to keep all to myself. And I’m not the first…
Yeats, Shaw and Somerville all stayed here at some point during their career (you can ask to see the guestbook) and over the last few years, I’ve seen several writers come and go. Each time, they’re delighted with the work they’ve accomplished, the warm reception they’ve received and the energy they’ve recouped – but they’re reluctant to share!
Grove House is a welcoming family-run guest house which not only offers everything a writer needs – big rooms, desks, tranquil atmosphere, lovely views, great food and helpful staff – but is designed for writers and creative sorts. There’s a homely atmosphere and Katarina and her sons are well prepared for the quirky requests and odd hours that a writer might need.
Fast becoming a creative epicentre in the village of Schull, Grove House houses art exhibitions, acoustic gigs, piano recitals (the owner of the house is an exceptional piano player as well as a writer) as well as growing it’s own veg, housing a growing family of ducks and chickens and providing everything visitors might need. Of course, a trip to Ireland isn’t a possibility for everyone.
But is it time to treat yourself to some dedicated writing space and time? Where will you go?