Tag Archives: ideas

More Work, Less Play

Finally I seem to be getting back in the groove and, for once, actually have things written in advance. Although I had enough for three submissions last night, it still took me the best part of two hours to send them off. Each magazine wants a different format, and even though they want the same information, they want it in different forms and in one case, are very keen that you do it in a very specific order. By the time I’d finished sorting all that out, I then noticed some ways to “improve” the poems one last time. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.

Anyway, it’s done. I’m planning on making six submissions this month. I’d better get a move on, because one of them closes on 25th and i haven’t started writing it yet. Out of the six, three are to places where I submit regularly. Two are to places I submit to irregularly (I’ve been giving them a miss recently, during my dry spell) and one is to a magazine that has never accepted anything from me, and where I haven’t submitted for about three years.

This is getting back to the old days when it was all about the submissions, and I had plenty of material to send. Recently, with less to send I’ve been playing safe and only submitting to the easy ones. This change of attitude is, I think, the last thing I needed to do to get back to the old way of doing things. All I need now is plenty of ideas. That’s another area where I’ve been struggling but it seems that as my writing is picking up pace, so is the generation of ideas. I have read articles that claim you get more ideas if you write more and so far it seems to be the case.

Of course, I’m a narcissist and I write to see my name in print, so the real test will be to see if I increase my acceptances, not just my workload.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Followed by Even Less Activity

Last night, as I eventually drifted off to sleep after a day where nothing much happened, a brilliant idea for a post came to me. It really very good, and it justifies some research and a couple of well chosen category tags. This is the one, I feel sure is going to attract attention and make me rich and famous.

Just one snag. When I woke up this morning that was all I could remember. The actual subject and the brilliant opening sentence have all gone. This, as you may recall from previous posts, is typical of how it happens. I’m not, however, downhearted, as I have learnt to accept this as a fact of my writing life. Some of it may come back, but if not, something else will drift along to replace it.

The famous writer’s notebook? It was on the landing where I left it after coming upstairs. Not that it mattered as I can rarely read my nocturnal scribble anyway.

In my defence, it was very busy in my head last night and, like the famously overly full shelf, something must have fallen off the end.

I’ve been looking at the availability of short online courses. You may remember that I did a few several years ago. I got bogged down in one of them, and that was enough to stall my enthusiasm. It sounds pathetic, but sometimes that’s all it takes.It was, I see, February 2021, and the course was Exploring the English Language. It all got  little complicated, as I wasn’t taught formal grammar at school, and I ground to a halt.

I may go back to it, but I’m signed up for some Roman History at the moment, starting when I finish this post. If it goes OK I will look at doing further courses, even paying for them.

The ones I’m currently doing are Open University free courses.

The ones I’m looking at for later are Oxford University short courses. These are the distance learning ones where you have no specific study times and no live conversations.

None of it will lead anywhere, but as I’m 65 and have no long-term career goals, apart from living long enough to draw my pension, this will suit me.

My Orange Parker Pen

Stuck for a Subject

I’m stuck for subjects to write about tonight. I had a head crammed full of subjects last night, but fell asleep in front of TV, When I woke up I was cold and stiff and in no mood for writing, so I crawled up to bed. Twenty four hours later they don’t seem as interesting.

We have had quite a lot of magpies this year and they seem to be more playful than usual, though I’m not sure that this is a scientific observation, as being playful through the whole year doesn’t seem li9ke it would have much survival value and I’m probably misreading their behaviour.

The Nigel Farage story continues to develop. His bank, which turns out to be Coutts, claims that it closed his account as he no longer had enough money to meet their parameters, and offered him n account with another bank in the group. Other customers with Coutts claim they have less than the required wealth and have been allowed to keep their accounts. The story becomes more murky as the days go on.

I was interested to notice that the bank was fined for failing in its duties to check for money-laundering in 2012. They have, I’m sure, tightened things up, but it is interesting to see that until quite recently major banks have been allowing large depositors to get away without the same checks I had to go through a couple of months ago.

I am tempted to move on to the evils of modern banking for a few paragraphs but I’ll not subject you to that. Time to move on and look for some new subjects. Anyway, it’s time for bed.


So Much to Do

Now that the ideas are coming, I can’t stop them. Unfortunately I can’ remember them either, so I’m not making he best use of them. This morning I had three ideas coming downstairs. Only one of them was useful. The other two were about gravity and accidental death in the home, but I often think of them whilst making my way downstairs. The other was forgotten before I set foot on solid ground. I know it was a good idea, because I distinctly remember thinking “That’s a good idea.” as I came downstairs. And “I must remember that.” But I didn’t.

It’s the Numismatic Society Auction on Monday night – not the best time for it, being Bank Holiday Monday, but we will have to see.. I have to sort out what I’m bidding on. Fortunately I don’t collect coins so there aren’t many lots to interest me. This could be the recipe for a cheap but exciting night out – all the anticipation of an auction followed by a night buying a few cheap lots. Or even buying nothing . . .

Watch this space.

It’s been a cold day again. The weather is very changeable at the moment -one day Spring then a  day or two of Winter. I can put up with the cold (I’m wearing a blanket like a shawl as I type) but the disappointment is harder to bear. A day of daffodils and blue skies followed by a couple of cold days with grey skies and a sprinkle of cold rain is depressing.

Meanwhile, I’ve actually done a little tidying. I won’t be hanging out any flags just yet as it’s not made a noticeable difference. However, if I do  bit each day (as I often say when making excuses for lack of results) the results will eventually become significant.

I’m now going to make a list of things to do this evening and tomorrow in the hope that I might get something done before I go to the auction. (I’m not neglecting Julia, by the way, I asked if she’d like to go out for a romantic evening tomorrow (coin society auction followed by pizza on the way home) but she said she’d rather stay at home and watch her courgette seedlings grow.



Composing, Cliches and Searching for Subjects

I’m back at work and being creative. If you can call poetry “work” and if you can call my work “creative”. mainly I just feed off the work of other people and potter about in the middle of a shared cloud of words.

Spring is coming, flowers are coming out and trees are gently unfolding their blossom. It is a time of cliche for all writers of Japanese style poetry. That blossom will blow across grass and wet tarmac, will be picked up on shoes, will be trodden into oblivion and will fall into bad company as all the cliches come out to play. I can’t help it. I have a limited number of experiences to draw on, being a non-mobile urban poet.

Litter, discarded shoes and magpies make up a lot of my world. Delivery vans, memories and ragged gardens all play their part. I should probably go back to sitting in car parks and watching people pass by.

In an effort to return to previous times I have returned to composing on paper and copying to the computer. It’s a shame because I was just getting used to composing on the screen. However, needs must, and if the price of writing more is that I have to do more copy typing, that is the price I will pay. At the moment I don’t have much choice.

Last month was the first one in years where I submitted nothing and that clearly can’t go on. To write well, you have to start by writing something. Similarly, if you want ideas, you have to start writing, as it’s well established that the more ideas you use, the more you will have. I suppose that they will eventually dry up, but that’s a mawkish reflection for another day.

(Sorry, wrote this yesterday and went to bed before posting – more to follow today.)

The Ideas Factory

In past times when I had an idea I would keep it and wait for the right time to use it. I didn’t have many, and there never seemed to be a good time to use them.

Then I made a discovery, there is no limit on ideas, I noticed this years ago, when I sat down and listed ideas of subjects for poetry. I had a list of over 90 ideas. Some worked, some didn’t. But the important thing was that I never managed to work my way through the list, demonstrating that I was capable of generating more ideas than I could handle.

It’s always tempting to mention a meeting I was once in when someone

Ideas, the more you have, the more you get. made the statement “I always see my main strength as having ideas, rather than carrying them out, so if you need ideas feel free to ask.”

Those of you who have been on organising committees will have met the sort. Long on ideas, short on industry. To be fair, she was being modest – self-publicity was her main talent, having ideas was a secondary. We never, of course, needed to ask her for a single idea, as we always had too many.

Oh, I seem to have written two paragraphs about the meeting. It must still be annoying me.

The post can now go one of two ways. It could become a rant about committees. idleness, etc. Or it could remain on course as a discussion on generating ideas.  It’s supposed to be about ideas, so despite the fun element of vituperation, I will stick to the original intention.

Ideas – the more you have, the more you get. I’m just noticing, 12 months after my original (non-COVID) illness, that I am getting back to normal as writing and ideas are starting to take shape once more. It’s been a long time. I actually had to write a lot of notes this morning, as ideas started as soon as I woke up.

I see from the news that fish and chips are under threat – prices are up due to the war and disposable income is down. It’s like the Butterfly in the Amazon effect isn’t it – a dictator flexes his muscles in the East and the UK’s national dish is threatened.

Haddock Special at the Fishpan, Scarborough

Day 185

During the day I had, as usual. several great ideas for tonight’s post. As the day progressed, also as usual, the ideas gradually seemed less good, or simply faded away. The one about plagiarism seems less interesting now that I am sitting in front of the computer, and the other two have simply been forgotten.

The result is that I have a blank screen and a blank mind. It is not unusual. If I were still planning to write the post on plagiarism I would have to point out that “It is not unusual” bears similarities to the words of a song by Tom Jones. It can, I imagine, be quite complicated.

It’s all a question of monkeys. With an infinite number of monkeys and a finite number of words, duplication would be inevitable. If they can write Hamlet, which always seems to be a favourite when discussing this subject, they could certainly manage some of my stuff, or the tedious instructions for jury service I was recently sent, or a shopping list.

However, if a monkey duplicates something, is it plagiarism? It’s much the same question as, if a monkey kills someone, is it murder? Murder requires intent, and it’s not likely that monkeys can form the intent to kill in the same way that a murderer would. People seem to see plagiarism as something that can happen by innocent coincidence.

However, other definitions refer to it as  a process of copying the work of someone else without giving credit. In that case the typewriting monkeys there is no copying, as, to the monkeys, it is an original work, even if they are the second ones to produce it.

In my case, the worry is that with a limited number of words, ideas and conventions, it seems almost inevitable that two people will eventually write the same haiku. It’s always worried me about haiku.

Then, finally, we come to the inevitable question of whether I am a poet or a monkey.

Twelve Ideas

Lat night I wrote a list of ideas when I was looking for subjects to write about.  I ended up with eleven, which grew to twelve when I decided to write about writing a list of things to write about. Ideas, as I may have said before, are not difficult to come by. I could probably have thought of 20-30 more, but I find that having too many ideas is not always a good thing. If you have too many the quality tails off and you never get to the end of the list.

I meant to start using them last night but by the time I’d written the blog post and edited work in progress, I ran out of energy. This morning I started with some reading and commenting and have just looked at the list un front of me.

Twelve ideas became ten because two are undecipherable. That became  eleven when I remembered what one of them was, and twelve when I decided that writing about bad handwriting could replace the idea I couldn’t read.

As I said, I don’t lack ideas, just the ability to turn ideas into results. I think I may have told you we once had a meeting on the farm and someone said, with a perfectly straight face, “My talent is having ideas, rather than doing things. If you want any ideas I have plenty of them.”

If you’ve ever been on a committee I think you probably agree that talk and ideas are never in short supply. One person putting one idea into action, that’s what’s in short supply.

On that subject, what happens next? Well, I have twelve ideas. You are reading the result of one of them. Four of them have moved on to be the prose sections of haibun. Three of them now have lines of poetry attached. Two of them will become blog posts. One, I have not developed, but will do. The twelfth, which was going to be about the trials of being a prince with a trophy wife and a massive trust fun, doesn’t really appeal. I am going to cross that one off. Sometimes you realise you just don’t want to develop an idea.

The next stage is typing the haibun prose and the first drafts of the blog posts. Some results will be good, some not so good. It’s all a process of natural wastage. Eventually twelve ideas will be turned into a few finished pieces and the rest will be used as spare parts for other things.


Too Many Thoughts

It’s a bit nippy today, but seems bright enough as I look past my computer screen to the world outside.

I made a start on a couple of projects last night – cataloguing my collection and sorting things out to make a start at selling on eBay. I’ve been saying I will do this for several years now. I will do more today,in the hope that it will become a habit. Later I will have to order some padded envelopes.

Recently I have fallen behind with my blog reading, which is a shame, as there are lots of great blogs to read. Again, it’s a case of establishing a habit. Unfortunately my head is full of other things, and I really have to get that done. I will b back to reading blogs later today but for now I need to write.

Ten minutes with pen and paper upstairs has given me enough to write about for the rest of the day and I want to get that done before I lose the impetus. I’ve not done much writing recently and need to start  again. When I’ve done today’s notes Istill have a couple of weeks of ideas to work on.

So that’s where I am – to many things to do and not enough time or brain to do it. Today I will do the things that make me happy – writing and reading and tomorrow I will do things that need doing but aren’t as pleasurable – listing, sorting and cookery.

And with that plan in mind, I had better get on with it.

Heron at Arnott Hill park – he looks as happy as I feel

Just a quick note about parker pens – the orange one I use in my stock picture is almost deceased. It seemed flimsier than previous pens, and when I gathered them for a comparison, it definitely was flimsier.

The first problem was an internal leak which left staining that you could see from the outside – this looks shabby. Then a crack developed in the cap. The nib is excellent, but the rest of it is not up to scratch. As Parker have ignored all my hints that I would like free pens in return for mentions on the blog, I feel I can mention their shoddy build quality. My Parker experience has been disappointing. I have several older pens that have lasted 30 years so this one is a particular disappointment.

I only buy cheap pens, I admit, because I am forever putting them down and losing then, but Parker prices seem to have gone up and build quality has gone down. This, as history shows, is a perfect recipe for losing market share, or even bankruptcy. You don’t need as degree in business to spot that, but it’s an error people still make. All those young geniuses in their shiny offices with big salaries and gleaming German cars, and they can’t spot that.

Parker, I don’t want free samples of your inferior pens, but if you have any well-paid jobs in marketing or  quality control I’d be happy to sell my principles and work for you.

It’s leaf. It may or may not have a deeper meaning. But mainly it’s a leaf.

Meanwhile, Julia has had her results from yesterday’s covid test – negative again.

A Fresh Start

I was so full of ideas this morning that I filled two pages of my A4 notebook before I even got my trousers on. It’s maybe not the most dignified of mental pictures, but it shows the wisdom of always keeping a notebook close to hand.

Most of them will, of course, not develop much further. I could feel that from a few of them as they hit the page and scurried across the book. Some will not be good enough to develop, though a few will be merged with other ideas. Some will, I confess, be illegible by the time I have another look. My handwriting is truly, and embarrassingly, terrible.

That will still leave plenty. It’s quite likely that some will never be developed simply because I move on to other things before finishing the list from this morning. That is the life of a poem. Sometimes it soars, but it, more often it staggers or simply slumps.

Sunset over Wilford, Notts

Sunset over Wilford, Notts

I really must get a grip. I have some haiku to finish, because they need to be submitted tomorrow. I also need to arrange my buildings insurance (which just means remembering to pay for it) and order the Christmas food. It’s only ten days to Christmas and I am not at all prepared. I’ve ordered Julia’s main present (which probably won’t get here until after Christmas) and a supplementary present which I hope will get here before Christmas. The post is unfortunately very random. In my defence, she didn’t tell me what she wanted until last night, so it’s not entirely my fault. However, we don’t currently have a turkey. I’m not that bothered myself, I’d be happy with a tin of corned beef and a sprig of holly, but everybody else expects turkey.

At the moment my only proper preparations for Christmas are two tubes of cheese footballs I bought several months ago, a Christmas pudding and a packet of stuffing. As preparations go, it’s not impressive.

Sunset over Wilford, Notts

Sunset over Wilford, Notts

These area few sunset photos I took last week. I’m not sure they were successful, looking at them in this size, but at least they are new.