A Procrastination of writers, Part 2

February 8, 2015

In January 2014 WordWatchers spent an amazing weekend at Symondsbury Manor.

I captured my thoughts on that wonderful event in this blog: A Procrastination of Writers

We had such an amazing time that we talked about doing it again on several occasions and then it finally happened and we returned for the final weekend of January 2015.

The line-up was slightly different this time round: alumna Katherine Webb tweeted her frustration at not being able to attend this time, Chris McCormack and Danielle Auld had left earlier in the year but our newest members Oliver Randle and Tom Haynes came this time, thrown in at the deep-end in many ways.

The biggest void in our group was that poor Mel, our organiser, was missing, hurt in a car accident earlier in the week and in too much pain to attend. She was very much missed.


It was strange to be back and wonderful at the same time. The building’s quirkiness quickly enveloped us in its familiar and comfortable magic. Very quickly, any fears that Symondsbury wouldn’t be as special as it was the first time, that we were looking back through rose-tinted spectacles, were dismissed. Symondsbury Manor is a magical place for a procrastination of writers.

Julian took up his place in the same chair that he had occupied the year before and, other than a few games of table tennis and to play the (still out of tune) piano he barely moved for the entire weekend…

Julian in his 'usual' seat

Julian in his ‘usual’ seat

Julian on the (badly tuned) piano

Julian on the (badly tuned) piano

I took my place at one end of the main table in the communal area and, basically, didn’t moved. Having promised WordWatchers that 2015 was the year I would bite the bullet and return to my novel, Endless Possibilities.

The weekend at Symondsbury seemed like a perfect opportunity to start to keep that promise.

It turns out editing is rather addictive once you get into it and I rarely went to bed before 1am.

The editing addict

The editing addict at 1am

Since we got back from Symondsbury I have continued to edit my novel. I’ve been getting up at 5am and editing until 6am. It was this schedule and methodology by which I wrote the last 45,000 of this same novel in just two months (compared to taking 2+ years to write the first 95,000).

So, when I arrived at Symondsbury my novel had 140,000 words, when I left after the weekend it was down to 130,000 words and now, after four mornings of getting up at 5am it’s down to just under 127,000. It’s getting harder, the initial hack and slash of the weekend is down to some pruning, but it’s taking shape. Years of practising the art of the 75-worder is paying dividends.

I already know that when I get to the end of this, I will do it again. I have already identified areas that I suspect will need pruning once I have the novel shaped the way I want it. This time though, I’m looking forward to it…

Until next time.

John Hoggard

John Hoggard


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