I recently returned from a wonderful writing retreat at a retreat center about two hours from where I live. I had been told that it was beautiful, but I did not know how magical the place really was until I got there. It consists of several cottages scattered around one large property, surrounded by majestic gardens filled with flowers, little statues, a labyrinth and several meditation spaces. I ate breakfast and dinner at the restaurant every day and the rest of the time, I wrote on the little veranda of my cottage. When I needed a break, I would take a walk around the gardens and explore. After almost a whole year of not finding or making the time to write, I reveled in the space and beauty and by the end of the week, I had a first rough draft of my second memoir.

I arrived back home to my electricity having been cut off as my rental house owner had neglected to pay the bill for several months, even though I had been paying him my share regularly. Thankfully this was sorted out by my dear mother who had been staying in the house with the girls while I was away.

On Sunday morning, I decided to stay in bed and recreate my writing retreat in my own home. My garden is gorgeous too, I love my house and there is no real reason why I can’t make my life as beautiful at home as it was on my retreat. Of course there is the housework and the cooking and the homeschooling and my work, but I have decided to carve out a little piece of each day to continue my writing. I will try to get into the habit of doing this in bed every morning for at least an hour before getting up to start my day. That way there will be no distractions.

During my writing retreat, I also had some major personal realizations which I’ve added into my book and I now look forward to seeing the happy ending unfold. I also hope to go back to the beautiful country retreat early next year to get another chunk of writing done.

writing retreat


3 Responses to Writing Retreat

  1. Janette McClelland says:


    Many blessings and big hugs to you and the girls as you all continue to grow and prosper.


    Janette and Carol
    And the fur-babies

  2. Peg Snyder says:

    The retreat sound heavenly. Where is it located? When I used to live in Maine (I’m in Texas now), every year I would take a 6 week writers workshop that would meet for 3 hours once a week for 6 weeks. It gave me an hour of glorious writing time and then the other 2 hours were spent with each of us reading our writings and learning from each other. I miss that. Since I’ve retired and moved to Texas (and one would think I would have so much more time to write), I can’t seem to make my home that workshop. Please expound, if you will, on how you are making your home a retreat and making time to write. Thanks. I loved “It Rains in February” and look forward to your second memoir.

    • Hi Peg,
      The retreat is situated in McGregor, a small village in the Western Cape of South Africa. It is heavenly and I hope to go back again soon for another week. It sure is not easy to write at home in between the normal day-to-day life, and I haven’t quite conquered this yet, but I think the two most important things are to find a space that is suited to writing and a time that works for you. I find that it works best for me in bed in the mornings before I get up at which time I get too distracted to continue writing. It also works better for me in winter than in summer when it is too hot in my bedroom in the mornings! So I can’t wait for winter again (May – August in South Africa), which is my best writing time!
      All the best with your writing!
      Leila x

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