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The Big Zeroes

watch us go from zeroes to heroes

When I wrote this on my list I was thinking of ‘time out’ as three months, and the ‘somewhere’ being Marbella or maybe even Goa.  Sadly, when it came down to it, I didn’t have the time or money for anything like that.  However, thanks to some scrounging (a very important skill for a writer) I managed to bag the offer of some free accommodation – I had the choice of an apartment in Tenerife or a house in Leitrim.  No-brainer, I thought – I’d take the apartment in Tenerife, thank you very much.  So I looked up flights to Tenerife – and then I packed my bags and headed for Leitrim.

Where is Leitrim, you may ask.  I did.  In fact, I had to Google it.  Turns out it’s a tiny village in, unsurprisingly, County Leitrim.  The train doesn’t go there.  Neither does Bus Eireann, the national bus network that stops at random pubs in the middle of nowhere, and drops people off at their houses.  There weren’t even any taxis outside the train station when I got to Carrick-on-Shannon, the nearest town.  It would have been easier to get to Tenerife.

However, I eventually managed to hunt down a taxi and made it to my house in Leitrim Quay for a week of splendid isolation.

Leitrim is small.  And quiet.  It’s a pretty little village with lots of boats – the River Shannon runs through it.  There are two or three pubs, a supermarket, a couple of takeaways … and not much else.  There are no distractions – none – and the peace and quiet freaked me out at first.

I got used to it, though, and it turned into the perfect writing break – revelatory, in fact.  I had often suspected that given all the time in the world to write, I’d get nothing done anyway.  I was quite nervous about finding out for sure.  But it wasn’t like that.  Being able to focus completely on the writing every day with no distractions made such a difference.  I felt like a real writer!  Aided and abetted by a dodgy internet connection and minimal TV channels, I was really productive, wrote loads of new words, rewrote loads of old ones and had lots of new ideas.

At the end of the week I was sad to leave my bolthole and my little writing bubble – though also champing at the bit to get back to Dublin.  But it’s definitely something I want to do again.

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