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Moniack Mhor a writing (re)treat

Getting away from everyday life to concentrate on writing, with little or no interference is a blissful thing for a writer.  I have been up to Moniack Mhor several times and always look forward to my return. 

It is Scotland’s Creative Writing Centre, set deep in Highlands of Scotland, not too far from Inverness but it feels a world away and the views are breathtaking.  They run an assortment of tutored weeks where there are up to 16 writers and two writing tutors. They also have a mid week guest who comes along for one evening workshop or talk.  It is slightly less than a full week, running from arrival around 5pm on the Monday until you leave after breakfast on Saturday but during that time the focus is on your creative work.  There are one-to-one sessions with the tutors and also workshops with all the attendees taking part but also lots of time to write.  The Moniack Mhor team of lovely folk also run some short weekend courses and  weeks that are not tutored, so you are free to get on with your own writing at your own pace.

                                                    Cathy MacPhail

I have been a tutor twice before, both tutoring Writing for Children, and also on a short weekend course focusing on nature and the countryside  and enjoyed it hugely, despite it being hard work!  

The first full week course was with the fabulously creative fellow tutor  Cathy MacPhail. 

Cathy and I had a wonderful time as we always spark ideas off in each other, and with our 16 writers we all worked so well together that the group soon became supportive of each other and that always promotes even better writing.  

Teresa Flavin

The Second time was with writer/illustrator Teresa Flavin.  It was another great week and we were able to show our writers how our different approaches to writing worked for us.  Teresa is a great planner, down to the smallest detail, before she starts writing – whereas I like to dive right in and see where it takes me.  It was great having evidence of how working practice works for different people.

A good number of both of those groups have gone on to get published and it was great to be part of their journey.

I am about to go back for a retreat week and I am looking forward to uninterrupted writing time, when I can live at the pace dictated by the muse, work early or late into the night, stop for a walk or just to look at the view and let my mind wander. All the things that distract are left behind so that the focus is on the story even when I am not writing, it is still brewing in my head, undisturbed.  It is amazing how productive that kind of time can be.  I cannot wait.

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