It is day four at Maryholme Retreat Centre on Lake Simcoe and I have just completed another full edit of my novel, Weather Vane.

I have been hearing the voices that say bad words in my head again.

I heard them and I kept walking over the lawns with my clipboard and my pen. I kept reading as I sat on benches and rocking on white wicker chairs on the veranda. I felt tears in my throat but I didn’t cry them. Like a child I wanted to complain that it was too hard, I can’t do it, I don’t know how. But I kept reading, marking, typing, fixing.

I know I’m still not done. I wrote in my Facebook status that my next step is to throw all my pages in the air and see where they land. There’s something quite appealing in that image. But I won’t do it.

My little room looks like the Wee Free Men had a whiskey bash in there. I’m back on the veranda because I had to get out of that mess. That’s one of the great things about this place – there are dozens of places to mess up. I mean dozens of places to write. In the quiet confines of your room or on the quiet porch, or down by the lake. On the dock. Beside the labyrinth. In the study. Just pick. And keep writing. That’s what we’re here for, apparently.

I came here to hold my story in one piece and make it a thing of beauty. With no distractions. Let me tell you, there are distractions everywhere. What is needed is focus, intent and determination, because ANYTHING can throw you off – whether it’s a lawn mower or workers under your window discussing their love life, or your neighbour trying to sort out a postal dilemma at home over the phone. (Whoops, that was me – I promise I’ll leave the premises if it happens again.) Or whether it’s just too damn quiet. We have to write through everything – doldrums, storms and sunny days, because we are the only ones who can write our stories. That’s what I’ve heard.

I’m happy in a weepy sort of way. I still have almost three more days in which to write. As I teeter between believing that my story will change lives and knowing that it’s a pretty piece of nothing much, I consider my next steps. I’m not likely to scatter the pages to the fates, although as I said, it’s tempting. I need to write a couple of scenes and make mention of a couple of forgotten characters. Everyone seems to love Rosa, the Calabrian landlady, and we haven’t heard from her in the last eighty pages. I need a couple more gestures from Simon to connect with his daughter. And maybe I’ll throw in a monologue from Simon’s first podcast. Otherwise I’m done. I can write The End, and get to work on my memoir.

Agents, get ready. Here it comes.