The Joys of Solitude #wwwblogs #Iamwriting


I’m not sure exactly where she gets it from, (it certainly isn’t me) but my daughter has a brain that leans towards maths and science. Which is a good thing, because she’s always wanted to be a vet. So a couple of weeks ago, the two of us set off for Devon – Jess to spend the week with the local farm vets in Holsworthy, and me to spend a week on my much neglected WIP.

While Jess really did have the proverbial arm up a cow’s backside (or three – cows, that is, not arms) and was literally counting sheep, I sat in the very sunny kitchen of our beautiful rented cottage and listened to the silence. Well, it was silent except for the mooing of nearby cows and an enormous amount of birdsong.

It was… weird.

At least it was at first. I’m normally a headless chicken (which Jess didn’t encounter last week), rushing from pillar to post, from editing work, to working for my husband’s business, to ironing and shopping and cooking and clearing up after the dogs. You get the picture. My life is exhausting, as is true for lots of people in this day and age. And it’s noisy too. Our house is not all that far from the M3, and I can just about hear the traffic during the day. My office is at the back of the house, and I do get the birdsong (from any birds not completely terrified my Milo, our massive cat)  but I also get  the lawn mowers, builders, DPD vans delivering endless parcels etc. etc. All of which can be rather distracting.

So the peace and quiet of this little corner of Devon took a bit of getting used to. For the first couple of days I felt a bit lost. Once Jess had gone off in the morning, there was just me, and a friendly robin that hopped on to the doorstep once or twice, and quite a few lady sparrows (not a gentleman sparrow in sight). There was a family (of people!) in the cottage next door, but they went out every day. The owners were close by too, but they were the perfect mix of there if you needed them without being obtrusive. So, it was quiet. I stared at my screen, avoiding the temptation of Facebook and Twitter. I’d made a promise to myself that there would be no social media. And my mind went blank.

Then I remembered that old adage about applying the seat of one’s pants or however it goes, and I made myself type.


It got easier. And by Wednesday I was chilled, and writing well and keeping right away from social media (well, almost).

And by the time we were packing on Friday, I’d written more than I had in a long while, and, even better, I felt enthusiastic about my writing again, ready to continue with it.

So it was a luxury, this week of solitude, and one I was very lucky to have. I admire so much those writers I know that hold down a job, or two, and have young children or care for elderly parents. Those writers who still manage to write, despite all that. And I know I’m extremely lucky to have had that week in Devon, and to have the prospect of a second week in Devon later this month when Jess is working with another vet. And I know I’m lucky to have had that time to work in peace and quiet and reflect on my writing. It really was bliss.

And it made me realise how important it is to try and find a bit of peace and quiet, if we can, in our everyday lives. I can’t swan off to Devon every time I need to get on with my writing, however much I’d love to, so I need to make sure I try and recapture that sense of peace and calm. I know it won’t be easy now I’m firmly back in the midst of the responsibilities of daily life, but I’m determined to try.

And if you’re planning a trip to Devon (and do, it is utterly beautiful) then I recommend Staddon Barns. The Post House, that we stayed in, had everything we could have asked for, was charmingly furnished and spotlessly clean. Details here.






  1. Love it. I too have huge respect for anyone who manages to write when they have a full time job, let alone a family to look after. I love being on my own and choose peace and quiet any day of the week, so much that I actively seek it out practically all the time, and can’t stand being anywhere noisy and with lots of people for more than an hour at a time – am going the other way and becoming a recluse!!!!!

    So pleased you managed to do this 🙂 x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you 🙂 It was lovely to be away from people and noise and distractions. I definitely work best when it’s completely silent. Have never understood how people can listen to music and work or study although that’s exactly what my kids do! Drives me mad.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never been a peace and quiet type of writer. I enjoy having music in the background, a video playing on one screen, my notes next to me, the map of the world I’m writing for pinned on the wall across from my desk… okay there is a lot going on when I’m writing. Maybe I just enjoy the chaos?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Quiet and solitude are like air for some of us. When I moved to this small village near the Mediterranean, I knew I had found the right spot. However, it isn’t always quiet by any means. The next several weeks (yes even after the tourists have cleared out) will be busy with the vendange (grape harvest). However, many of the beaches will be quite calm but still lovely so I imagine I shall have to make the sacrifice and head over to la plage…

    A nice swim and then setting down to work with a small carafe of rouge or rosé? The only sounds are the cries of the gulls and the surf. C’est la vie!

    By the way, I love the Hawking quote and have added it to my quote page. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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