Tag Archives: writer’s block

Like Writing, but Slower.

Sorry, I’ve been suffering from writers’ block recently, and haven’t written either the blog or anything useful to submit to magazines. As regular readers will know, I don’t actually believe in being blocked. It is, in my view, lack of practice, laziness and poor organisation. That is certainly the case for me at the moment. Defining it as I do doesn’t necessarily make it easier to cope with,it just puts the blame where it belongs instead of blaming it on a mystery condition.

Yesterday I decided to tackle it by becoming more organised. I have sent two submissions off for this month and have two more ready (one just needs some tinkering). There are three days until the end of the month. It is going to be tight.

On counting the submissions required, I was surprised to find there were 13, not eleven as I had thought. Take four away and you have 9 left. Three a day is not good.

Edward VII visits Cardiff Docks (Obverse)

Edward VII visits Cardiff Docks (Reverse)









However, I also found that several were for ordinary poetry, which I don’t write very often, and a couple were for journals that I’m not that bothered about. I’d put them all down but have no qualms about missing them out. That meant I only had eight to do, four of them are done or near enough done and one is just two poems. That more or less leaves three to do – one a day. I can do this.

Of course, that leads on to the old question of when a poem is finished. Is it ever finished or do you, sometimes, just have to say it is time to send it out? And also to procrastination. There is, I feel, a link between the time I have left and the interest I feel in reading trash on the internet. A week – I read about politics. Five days – I read about Harry and Meghan. Three days and I will read anything to avoid work, including those appalling click bait articles that start off sounding interesting and peter out into being totally useless have you have clicked 20 or 30 times. I really don’t know why I do it.

Oh dear, I have just realised I hardly have any time to do the medallion talk . . .

Time for a severe internal pep talk and some work. That, for me, has been the last three days.

Piece of Masonic and Preston Guild interest – though it my just mark 50 years and 1922 might be a coincidence (1922 being a Guild Year).

Attempts at Photography

A few days ago I did about 160 words then couldn’t get the next paragraph going. It kept petering out, or wandering off the point. I tried half a dozen times but eventually gave up.

It’s time to grasp myself firmly by the scruff of the metaphorical neck and give myself a good talking to. That sort of nonsense leads to writer’s block, and, as we all know that’s a non-existent condition, it cannot be allowed to take root.

It’s bad enough that I turned out to be a poet rather than a writer of lucrative thrillers, so I really can’t give in to imaginary conditions as well. If I have to be a poet I will at least try to be an industrious one.

Rear View Mirror Shot 1

Rear View Mirror Shot 2

Tonight, the sky was pink and cloudy when we left the shop so I unloaded my camera from my bag and took a couple of shots. The camera filtered most of the colour from the sky and as soon as I tried to take photos people appeared and got in my way. This was to be a theme of my picture taking for the rest of the evening. I tried with the sunset filter on, but that takes so long that everything was blurred. I missed some great moon shots to. Eventually I tried some sunset shots of teasel as the neighbours all decided to move their cars and shine lights everywhere.

The accompanying photos are a selection I took on the way home, including light pollution from cars, “abstract” shots and shots taken in my door mirror (whilst stopped in traffic, not whilst moving).


A Thirty Minute Post

I don’t know what’s happening to me but I just can’t settle to write. Even when I do write I run out of steam or fall out of love with the post as I get part way through. I really don’t know what’s happened to me – it’s like I’ve become, tired, dull and lazy, all at the same time. It can’t be writers’ block, before anyone suggests that, because it doesn’t exist.  Sensitive types and amateurs get blocked, but I’m not sensitive and I am trying to develop a professional approach.

I am just going to set my alarm and get my head down over the keyboard. Let’s see what happens. Well, a rambling introduction happens, which is always good – that’s used up about half the 250 word target.

I finished my Open Learn course “Creative Writing and Critical Reading”, which didn’t really teach me much. I’m afraid some of them do skim over the subject. It’s always interesting to see something put together as a course, because reading books or the internet can be a bit scrappy. And, of course, if I were doing this to impress an employer, it’s always handy to have it all set out on a screen. I have now completed six courses and am just starting at seventh.

My current course is “Personal Branding for Career Success”. This brings round in a neat circle, as I selected it because I am feeling the need to appear professional  to editors, and to make sure they view me as hard working, rather than the sort of person who retires to a darkened room and claims to be blocked.. A personal brand, according to Jeff Bezos, is what people say about you when you are out of the room. In the days when we spoke English and used fewer words, it used to be called “reputation”. I’ve only done about 10% of the course so far, I’ll let you know how it goes as I proceed.

There you go – 299 words and 18 minutes. Just goes to show the benefits of getting your head down and showing a professional attitude.

I will, I expect, spend the remaining 12 minutes messing about with links, tags and photos.

364 words, 29 minutes’ including links, tags and photos. Looks like I’m back…

Procrastination – a Primer

I watched a programme about alpaca farming earlier in the week. One of the farmers had been a professional writer all his life and had fitted in a career as a circus ringmaster.

He was now fitting in life as an alpaca farmer with his writing. He said, as it showed him settling down to type, that the farming had helped him focus, and that his writing had improbed as he no longer had time for writer’s block.

I feel the same way about procrastination. It’s so hard to fit in when you have work to do. I no longer have the luxury of sitting at the computer wondering what to do, if I’m going to fritter my time away I need to start frittering immediately.

Freecell isn’t going to solve itself, and who will stroke the vanity of all those Hollywood stars if I don’t click to see what they look like now. or click to see what that man found in his back garden.

After I’ve done that I need to read poetry, because we all know we can’t be successful writers if we don’t read the genre we are attempting to write.

Then the shopping list needs doing. I forgot to add breakfast cereal to the list last week and Julia is grumpy because she is having to eat bran flakes instead of Weetabix. To me that’s like the doctor asking if you’d rather have eczema or psoriasis. (I’ve toned that down for a family audience, and taken the opportunity to show off my spelling, in case you didn’t notice).

I’d rather have porridge, but I prefer lying under the covers until the last minute, whimpering about getting up on a cold, dark, morning. Normally I zoom downstairs late, splash milk on something that promises to deliver health and high fibre, and plough through it. Frankly, weekday breakfasts are a penance rather than a pleasure, but even after twenty years as a non-smoker I haven’t found anything to replace cigarettes and tea as the perfect start to the day. Apart from Sunday, when I favour fried food. Healthy choices do not come easily to me.

Time to serve up the tea now. It’s ratatouille served in the style of a pasta bake. I’m trying to sound enthusiastic, but it’s hard when you really want a Chinese takeaway…

A Man who is tired of Blogging…

Yesterday I spent hours researching a post. Despite the time I spent on it I couldn’t get the tone right and, even worse, couldn’t maintain my enthusiasm. If I can’t be enthusiastic about the post I don’t see how I can expect anyone to read it.

That is now stored until I can get it right.

Today I started another post, meaning to finish in half an hour (in line with my new target) and found I couldn’t manage that either.

I thought of Writer’s Block then I thought Writer’s Block is for amateurs.

First I loaded up a serene picture for the post. Imagine that scene. Now hear the gentle quack of the resident mallard family and look for the convoy of ducklings following mother. I let my mind wander back to other days at that pond, with a goldcrest flitting through the trees calling with an high-pitched squeak. The Victorians called them golden-crested wrens. In turn, that reminds me that it is time to read some of my old bird books again. I remember the water voles I have seen on other days and the jays that used to call from the trees on the slope above the pond. Up the slope there is fragrant wild garlic, also known as ramsons. That reminds me of one of the posts I have stored as a draft. We haven’t been able to go to the slope where the ramsons grow this year, but it doesn’t matter – I have memories and good times will come again.

Of course, in the background there is also the noise of distant traffic, shouting from the owners of undisciplined dogs and the cawing of a crow as it flies over. Every time I hear or see a crow these days I think of the family name corvid, and my mind jumps to covid 19. They are different things but they both signify death in different ways.

That is 320 words and including a little tidying, it has taken me twenty six minutes.

As I say, Writer’s Block is for amateurs.

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” — Jack London

I’ve just been reading the Jack London link and found this part (where the western nations bombard China with infectious diseases) particularly ironic when you think of current events.


Writer’s Block

A proper post on writer’s block would, I suppose, be blank.

What I really mean is that I’m having trouble concentrating and writing anything coherent that has a chance of being interesting for people to read.

Got up, complained about knees, procrastinated, ate breakfast with wife, avoided washing up, watched TV, moaned about weather…

It’s not riveting stuff is it? I’m hoping it’s just the normal dull stuff that everyone does. You do all have mornings like that don’t you, it’s not just me? If you don’t, please don’t tell me. It’s bad enough that I’m having a bad day without finding that I’m the most boring man on WordPress.

I’m supposed to be planning, but that didn’t go well either.

The 50 new recipes I’m planning to make by the end of the year have ground to a halt because I have limited enthusiasm for poorly seasoned veggie burgers. It’s the fault of the recipe, but that doesn’t make them taste any better. The Mark 2 version with double seasoning, plus lime juice, lime zest, Henderson’s Relish and half a teaspoon of chilli powder is still bland, though a definite improvement on Mark 1. I may have to resort to using salt, but if I do that I might as well just buy them from a shop.

The killer CV (resume to those of you living in the New World) lives only in my imagination because I’m leaving job applications until after I’m sorted out health-wise. There’s no point getting a job interview if you then have to tell people you’ll be needing time off for medical reasons as soon as you start.

Then there is the redesign of the garden. We’ve neglected it badly for the last few years and it needs some serious attention. It’s an embarrassment. So I’m going to avoid talking about it.Yesterday I bought one of those tools for weeding between paving slabs without bending down. Tomorrow I may get round to using it. Then I will have to decide on the future of the slabs – they aren’t very permaculture…

Finally, fitness and diet.I’m doing more walking and birdwatching so that’s going OK. The diet seems to be working too, but when you think of the failed recipe experiments that’s not a surprise. I suppose some good is coming from those veggie burgers…