Categorized | For the love of writing

Countdown to Solitary Confinement

Posted on 26 May 2012 by Alice

When I transformed myself into a freelance writer last September, it was with the intention of having enough time to EVENTUALLY finish my first crime novel. 10-years in the making, the epic saga has been left in a dusty drawer, sadly neglected and ignored. I did make some good progress last year and managed to plan out the rest of the remaining chapters. The plan is pretty brilliant if I do say so myself.

So, each and every remaining chapter is planned out (I’ve already written 50,000 words) and since last September I’ve managed to write a whopping…. 2,000 words.


I’ve tried to look at why I haven’t been writing, and I’ve realised it’s for a number of reasons:
1) I’m not getting paid to do it – if I turn down freelance work to prioritise my novel, how will I

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pay my rent?
2) Er, well

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Number 1 is pretty much the only reason.

Every day I write articles, pitch more articles, spend hours writing and replying to emails, invoicing, chasing payments, updating spreadsheets, shooting video, editing footage, conduct interviews and spend a lot of time using my Blackberry.

I’ve come to the conclusion that if I don’t put aside some real time for my novel, I’m NEVER going to finish it. And so I started looking at writing retreats, where I could just leave my life behind and sit in a room to write. My Blackberry will be switched off and I wouldn’t be going with anyone I know, so there wouldn’t be any distractions. There are some wonderful places in the USA (very literary) and I especially liked the look of a retreat on a ranch. The only thing that stopped me from booking was the travel time (I’m based in Dubai). There must be something closer, I thought to myself.

Alas, I didn’t find anything closer to home, so I took matters into my own hands. What do I really need to finish writing my book, I thought? A desk, my laptop and seclusion. And where better to find seclusion in the UAE than one of Dubai’s smaller neighbouring Emirates.

I searched for hotels that fitted the bill in Ajman (with its total land mass of 260 square km (100 square miles)) and made a booking for two weeks at the Ajman Beach Hotel, overlooking the Arabian Gulf in all its 1970s splendour.

Ajman Beach Hotel

1970s splendour!

It’s been so long since I first started writing it, that I’m a little scared of finishing it! I have got three more planned in the series, however, so I’m trying to look forward to them.

So here’s to the impending solitary confinement. I should leave the hotel after 2 weeks in a room with a completed novel.


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One Response to “Countdown to Solitary Confinement”

  1. Gwen Potter says:

    Hi Alice,

    I hope your retreat will be just what you need to inspire you to write, write, write!

    And I hope JP will spoil you lots when you get back!

    With love