Tag: writer’s block

Scraping the Barrel


Image result for the numskulls

This is an actual photo taken inside my head two minutes ago. It shows my inner progress chaser, who has just noticed my previous post is over a week old, hustling my inner creative director for a new one.

Hmm, could be a while, by the looks of it! Time to pour myself a beer. Perhaps the words will start flowing, too.

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I mean, it’s not as if there’s nothing to write about. If anything, there’s too much. The world is awash with woes and wonders. Where do you start?

And when you’ve started, then what? This, that and the other. Mostly the other, knowing your luck, after which you’ll scrabble around for a way to end the damn thing. Not with a bang but a whimper, more than likely! Then it’s Preview and … Publish!

Or Move to trash.

Question is, does the blogosphere really need another lament about how hard it is to come up with anything half worth saying? Should I not keep this guilty little secret under wraps and free up the ‘airwaves’ for those who really do have plenty to say for themselves?

Nah, feel my pain, peeps!

 

See the source image

 

PS  Well, that was nice. Fresh and hoppy with a hint of citrus. Pleasantly analgesic, too …

Forced Entry

Well, my fellow blogster, perhaps you know what it’s like to go several days longer than usual between posts and still find yourself with little to say and even less inclination to say it?

My urge is to say something … anything! Best to come clean, I reckon, and confess that my hunger for input has exceeded my desire to output.

If you have the time, here is a link to something I’ve been reading. It’s plenty long enough without any more from me but I’d really like to hear what you think. Are we really entering an era when there is no point saying anything?

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/aug/03/denialism-what-drives-people-to-reject-the-truth

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The Blogger Blubs: a story in 100 words

Five days into 2018 and so far … nothing!

The muse must have gone back to live with her mother leaving a zombie gazing at a blank white screen, silently screeching Type something … anything!

QWERTY

A monkey could do better.

What of all those noble resolutions? Craft … Create … Communicate …

Crap!

Is there nothing to say? Has it all been said? 26 letters on the keyboard and not even the first row completed!

UIOP

Uuuurrrggh, kidnapped by Trappists and forced to take a vow of silence!

Wah-Wah-Wah, worse … it’s beating yourself up in a padded cell while clichés clash in the night!

 

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Image: Vanity & Lies

Under Cover

The jocular tone of my previous post masked a deeper unease.

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For some reason, I’m finding it increasingly hard to write at any length. It feels as if joining up ideas has become, well, unfashionable. Old hat. Yesterday’s news.

Today it’s all about soundbites, slogans, headlines, jingles, tweets – short stuff that can be repeated over and over until it sounds like something you’ve thought up yourself. It’s rather like being in some great big whispering gallery.

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As social animals, we are attuned to voices. And our natural instinct is to be loyal to others. When their voices become fragmented, our own inner voices break out in sympathy.

According to The Writer’s Idea Book by Jack Heffron, seven inner voices are the enemies of creativity:

  • the procrastinator says later
  • the victim asks why me?
  • the talker dissipates the urge
  • the critic makes us nervous
  • the judge deems the act unworthy
  • the author is obsessed with reception
  • the capricious guest is inspiration

As for me, I’m going to start tomorrow – if the noisy numbskulls around here will let me – and what I write is going to be the life-changing story of absolutely everything unless of course it’s been done many times before by better writers than me, there isn’t something more useful I could be doing and there isn’t a chance in hell anybody might want to read it even supposing that damned elusive muse condescends to pay me a flying visit …

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Oh well, while I’m waiting, perhaps I’ll stick to the short stuff. If you can’t beat ’em join ’em, eh?

Regular readers will know that I’m fond of keeping it short. Acrostic poems, haiku, 100 word stories – all of them over, almost, before they’ve begun!

Blink and you’ll miss them. But I like the idea that you can capture a whole world in a small space. And focussing on technical constraints like word and syllable counts can stop you stressing about content.

How not what.

Them wide open spaces give me the heebie-jeebies. Not enough cover. Too easy for them to pick you off.

Unless, of course, you go by train …

 

The Whitsun Weddings

By Philip Larkin
That Whitsun, I was late getting away:
    Not till about
One-twenty on the sunlit Saturday
Did my three-quarters-empty train pull out,
All windows down, all cushions hot, all sense
Of being in a hurry gone. We ran
Behind the backs of houses, crossed a street
Of blinding windscreens, smelt the fish-dock; thence
The river’s level drifting breadth began,
Where sky and Lincolnshire and water meet.
All afternoon, through the tall heat that slept
    For miles inland,
A slow and stopping curve southwards we kept.
Wide farms went by, short-shadowed cattle, and
Canals with floatings of industrial froth;
A hothouse flashed uniquely: hedges dipped
And rose: and now and then a smell of grass
Displaced the reek of buttoned carriage-cloth
Until the next town, new and nondescript,
Approached with acres of dismantled cars.
At first, I didn’t notice what a noise
    The weddings made
Each station that we stopped at: sun destroys
The interest of what’s happening in the shade,
And down the long cool platforms whoops and skirls
I took for porters larking with the mails,
And went on reading. Once we started, though,
We passed them, grinning and pomaded, girls
In parodies of fashion, heels and veils,
All posed irresolutely, watching us go,
As if out on the end of an event
    Waving goodbye
To something that survived it. Struck, I leant
More promptly out next time, more curiously,
And saw it all again in different terms:
The fathers with broad belts under their suits
And seamy foreheads; mothers loud and fat;
An uncle shouting smut; and then the perms,
The nylon gloves and jewellery-substitutes,
The lemons, mauves, and olive-ochres that
Marked off the girls unreally from the rest.
    Yes, from cafés
And banquet-halls up yards, and bunting-dressed
Coach-party annexes, the wedding-days
Were coming to an end. All down the line
Fresh couples climbed aboard: the rest stood round;
The last confetti and advice were thrown,
And, as we moved, each face seemed to define
Just what it saw departing: children frowned
At something dull; fathers had never known
Success so huge and wholly farcical;
    The women shared
The secret like a happy funeral;
While girls, gripping their handbags tighter, stared
At a religious wounding. Free at last,
And loaded with the sum of all they saw,
We hurried towards London, shuffling gouts of steam.
Now fields were building-plots, and poplars cast
Long shadows over major roads, and for
Some fifty minutes, that in time would seem
Just long enough to settle hats and say
I nearly died,
A dozen marriages got under way.
They watched the landscape, sitting side by side
—An Odeon went past, a cooling tower,
And someone running up to bowl—and none
Thought of the others they would never meet
Or how their lives would all contain this hour.
I thought of London spread out in the sun,
Its postal districts packed like squares of wheat:
There we were aimed. And as we raced across
    Bright knots of rail
Past standing Pullmans, walls of blackened moss
Came close, and it was nearly done, this frail
Travelling coincidence; and what it held
Stood ready to be loosed with all the power
That being changed can give. We slowed again,
And as the tightened brakes took hold, there swelled
A sense of falling, like an arrow-shower
Sent out of sight, somewhere becoming rain.

To Boldly Go …

Speaking as a compulsive ditherer, I find it helps to reduce multiple motivations to a primary purpose. At the end of the day when push comes to shove and all is said and done, there is really only one reason for doing anything.

When it comes to writing, there are always a host of voices telling me why I shouldn’t bother. Refreshing, then, to stumble across a piece of advice that has the potential to guide me through the hubbub. So it’s out with all my How To Write books and in with this simple slogan!

“First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!”
– Ray Bradbury

I’ll let you know how I get on …

 

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Image: iChurch OKA

100 word story: Rite of Passage

When they took off his blindfold he was surrounded by cloaked and hooded figures within a moonlit woodland glade. One who held a finely-carved staff began to speak.

“Know ye the secret?”

“I do,” he heard himself saying.

“Repeat it here.”

“Don’t get it right, get it written.”

The staff became an ornate pen which he accepted gratefully.

“Welcome to the Craft!”

He found himself lying on his desk, the old ballpoint still in his hand. All a dream, then, and his sheet of paper still as white as virgin snow!

He set off across it like a man inspired.

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Image: MC D’alton