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Thursday 26 January 2012

Having Trouble Getting Yourself To Write? 9 Tips.

The most challenging aspect of being a writer?Writing. When I find myself struggling to be productive or creative, I remind myself of these nine tips.
1. Write every day. Staying inside a project keeps me engaged, keeps my mind working, and keeps ideas flowing. Also, I find, perhaps surprisingly, it’s easier to do something every day than to do it some days. (This may be related to the abstainer/moderator split.) "You're just grinding out material," a friend protested. "But that's when I have my best ideas," I answered.
2. Even fifteen minutes is long enough to write. For years I told myself, “If I don’t have three or four hours clear, there’s no point in starting.” Now I realize that if I'm deep in a project (see #1), even a short bit of time is long enough to get something done.
3. Remember that good ideas often come during the revision stage. I've found, for myself, that I need to get a beginning, middle, and an end in place, and then the more creative and complex ideas begin to form. So I try not to be discouraged by first drafts.
4. Don’t binge-write. Pulling all-nighters, wearing pajamas for days, abandoning all other priorities to finish a project—these habits lead to burn-out. Also, if you do all your writing at the last minute, you don't get the benefit of #3.
5. Keep a commonplace book, inspiration board, scrapbook, or catch-all box to keep track of ideas and images. Not only do such collections help you remember thoughts, they create juxtapositions that stimulate creativity. My catch-all happiness document for happiness is 500 pages long, single-spaced. When I need a mental jolt, I just skip around and read random sections. It always helps.
6. Consider physical comfort. Do you have a decent desk and chair? Are you hungry? Too hot or too cold? (I now wearfingertipless gloves at my desk, because my hands are always so cold; they make me so happy.) Do you jam your shoulders up to your ears as you write? Is the light too dim or too bright? Make a salute—if you feel relief when your hand is shading your eyes, your desk is too brightly lit. Being physically uncomfortable tires you out and makes work seem harder.
7. Down with boredom. When my college roommate was writing her Ph.D. thesis, she kept a sticky note on her computer that read, "Down with boredom." She'd vowed to construct her thesis in a way that eliminated everything she found boring. When I'm working on a book, I repeat that mantra. If something's boring to me, I probably can't write about it in an interesting way. I need to find a way to make that subject interesting (Secret of Adulthood: If you can't get out of it, get into it), or find a way to leave it out altogether.
8. Stuck? Go for a walk and read a good book. Virginia Woolf noted in her diary: “The way to rock oneself back into writing is this. First gentle exercise in the air. Second the reading of good literature. It is a mistake to think that literature can be produced from the raw.”
9. At least in my experience, the most important tip for getting writing done? Have something to say! This sounds obvious, but it’s a lot easier to write when you’re trying to tell a story, explain an idea, convey an impression, give a review, or whatever. If you're having trouble writing, forget about the writing and focus on what you want to communicate. For example, I remember flailing desperately as I tried to write my college and law-school application essays. It was horrible—until in both cases I realized I had something I really wanted to say. Then the writing came easily, and those two essays are among my favorites of things I’ve ever written.

Monday 23 January 2012

The Old Lady’s Hat

Waiting for the storm

Animals in the compound, befuddled
And confused, take shelter under rusting cars and leaning corrugated-iron 
Leaving two young fawn dogs, torn
Between taking cover, or chasing each other’s elusive circling, gyrating curled 

Stopping suddenly, to sniff the changing shifting air
Above the coconut’s swaying leaves, tossing and weaving, anchored with no 
From the inevitable fingering of the dark blanket
Of storm- grey mountain cloud, laughing at the pea- green screaming high trees

Flustering, like an old lady’s Sunday-Best hat
Of peacock feathers, bobbling above the odours of moth-balls and cheap face 
Sucking down the mountain’s menace
From an invisible mouth that targets the dogs, with a sniper’s kiss of white 

© Harry Mills 7th December 2011 Philippines
All rights reserved


Whilst many will find a stroll in Baden’s KurPark has great allure
KurPark‘s very name tells us that some believe the Park has solely to do with exercise 

      or Kur
I think of this as I slowly climb the tree covered path named Beethoven Weg
Can KurPark merely mean to some the stretching of a leg
Do I hear the sound of special music whilst listening to birds in trees
Or is it merely the rustle of branches floating in the breeze
Shrines to Mozart & Beethoven are here in KurPark to be found
Perhaps that is why I listen to nature for such a special sound
I believe a visit to this Park may never leave one’s mind
Is it possible to write great music when one is deaf or blind
So all who love great beauty must to Baden‘s KurPark come
Understanding that health is as important to others as music is to some 

© Kenneth Campbell 2012
All rights reserved.

Thank you, but no thank you

How clever to suggest
 - with your customary lack of tact –
that I attend to celebrate
your forthcoming nuptials.

Thereby our captivity of tender
understanding and mutual feeling
is over

freeing us
to relegate to  memory
all that we’d shared

It never occurred
this was the way
to end it.

© Sophia Roberts
All rights reserved

Silent City

The white granite City of arched, parched quiet domes
Homes, to the Glorious Dead, mile after mile
Pile after pile, side by side
All, precisely one yard wide
In the Silent City

The roads with familiar names, Robertson, Emerson
All gone
Or cul-de-sacs called Unknown, Anon
Numbered white dome- doors that nobody answers
Cemetery road maps, creased with crosses, showered with shrapnel

Row after row of low pink moles, untold heroes
Who live eternally, in the City of fighting ghosts and deafening  lost souls
Come judgement day, who will stand and say
For the soundless, hushed, crushed
Cross or Crescent, Hindu, Jew, Voodoo or a few He knew

The multicultural slain in their final pain, that cries out their own God’s name
Laid out neat, in  sheets of detached graves of Devil’s slaves
Facing the same way, all holding their breath ‘til atonement pities
The old lags and Battalions of bold, unfolding, fluttering flags
Away from the Silent City

Concept of ‘Silent City’ by Tony Addison

© Harry Mills Boracay Philippines 20th November 2011
All rights reserved


I cook what I believe is a scrumptious dinner
But too much cholesterol turns me into a sinner
Drizzling double Cream into Soup, over Main and onto Dessert
Drives my health conscious guests almost berserk
To prevent special friendships from turning soar
I believe the perfect answer is Pinot Noir
For the real skill in having friends to dine
Is to provide gallons and gallons of quality wine
An expensive wine always keeps guests happy
Although after midnight we (geriatrics) require a nappy
© Kenneth Campbell 2011
All rights reserved

The Firewall

I suspect we all have secrets waiting to pop out in a moment of indiscretion.    Vulnerability, alcohol and familiarity all lower the threshold. 

Jess was dangerous when she combined drink, tears and love because her defences dissolved and she told all.  The detail of her actions, the emotional script running through her head as she had acted, the feelings of distaste that were left behind.  For her the guilt felt impossible to recover from because the shock on the faces of those who listened to her story seemed permanent to her.

We all have to bear the consequences of our actions of course, even Jess. But to burden others with it?  Is that fair, however proportionate?  Jess often thought it would be better if she could hang on to her secrets, somehow perfecting secrecy and then throwing away the key to the secret filing cabinet.  I thought of it as a personal firewall protecting others from the virus of knowing which just leads to them wanting to know more and more and more.

Jess thought about the firewall concept as she looked out of the train window and for a moment she felt normal again and life seemed bearable.

© Liz Redfern
All rights reserved

Daisy, Daisy give me your answer do!

He loves me - he loves me not. He loves me - he loves me not.

He loves me - he loves me not. The petals fall.

He loves me - but I have to say no. Because my heart tells me so.

© Liz Redfern
All rights reserved

Wedding Invitation

Our six year-old daughter begged
me to come to your wedding,
three years after you left.
I have an eye infection
perhaps because I do not want to see
your new family together.
For her sake,
I will accept your invitation and come,
with an eye patch and a stretched smile.

© Valerie Taylor 5/12/11
All rights reserved

It’s Quiet, Now

It’s quiet, now
Just the sound of distant traffic on it’s daily way
Skirting the early dancing sun that chases mobile shadows
Commencing the ritual of baking the rooftops corrugated iron

Noise, interrupts
I see the street and fleeting feet
Of torsos that come and go, some fast, some slow
Glowing as the blowing sand that swirls around the two girls

He shouts
Everybody hears the Korean hailing a trike
Half decorated motorbike, half tattooed man, who like
Nothing better than to skin the fat cat on the scorched earth’s mat

It’s noisy now
© Harry Mills (7am Saturday 3rd December 2011 Boracay Philippines)
All rights reserved

Tuesday 10 January 2012

Form 213(b) All Purpose form for declining an invitation to a wedding

© Tim Scott
All rights reserved

A Polite Refusal?

Dearest Tracey,
I’m writing this letter to say
I cannot attend your Big Day.
It’s a terrible fiddle,
I’m caught in the middle,
You’re my friend, he’s my ex.  Awkward, eh?

Dearest Tracey,
I’m very much hoping there’ll be
No hard feelings between you and me,
But what with his Mum
And her horrible chum,
I really can’t face it, you see.

Dearest Tracey,
I think what you’re doing shows pluck,
And I’m not a one to rake muck,
Perhaps I’m not right,
But I found him a shite.
Take care now.  I love you. Good luck!

© Gill Dunstan
All rights reserved

Dear Wendy & Rodney

Many thanks for your Wedding Invitation, 
received this morning on Facebook.
Rodders, old man, I was Best Man at your first two attempts,
(and thought you had made up with Charlie..)
Wendy, I still have your Versace black thongs,
and your pouting porn DVD

I think, under the circumstances, you should retract the Invitation,
and just send me some Wedding Cake


© Harry Mills
All rights reserved


I thank Lord & Lady Grantham.. for their kind invitation
To a wedding at which their daughter Sybil.. will marry below her station
To witness a lovely daughter.. cross her social divide
Makes attendance of these nuptials impossible to abide
However, I wish Lady Sybil well.. in changing her name to Branson
And I look forward to being driven.. in their Dublin Hansom

© Kenneth Campbell 2011
All rights reserved