Category Archives: Fear

NaPoWriMo Day 14 – Two Weeks In & Nearly Halfway There…

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I cannot believe we have nearly reached the halfway point. This is usually where we experience the dip. I am now struggling with the fact that my NaPo poems are meaningless and not well written, with the challenge of some of the forms in the limited time I have set aside for the creation of the poems, also that nagging feeling of catch up.

So I start this morning with taking my own advice.

  • Forgive
  • Move On
  • Write

This challenge never presents 30 excellent poems by the end of April. I do not think that is the point, it is meant to fuel your writing. Maybe in August I will write a poem that would never be penned with NaPo 2017.

The frustration is in wanting to write well, (I don’t think any of us ever want to write badly, unless we’re entering an Anti-slam or something)!

I am packing my frustration away today and catching up on the writing from Day 13. In an attempt to write in meaning, my companion today is my carry around notebook, which I opened randomly and chose a line from as an initial thought.

I managed several attempts at a Ghazal, all of which need more work.

… like routes on a torn Tube map,

My poem on Carrie’s prompt ended in some research, which may result in an additional poem at some point. I think it may be the shortest prose poem in existence!

… the unforgiving silence of sin.


And now – forward, onto Day 14.

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http://www.napowrimo.net/

Our featured participant today is Clairvetica, where the ghazal for Day 13 is a mixed-emotions ode to London.

Today’s interview is with Troy Jollimore. A poet whose work often has a philosophical bent, he won the National Book Critics Circle award for his first book, Tom Thomson in Purgatory. You can find three of Jollimore’s poems here and four more here.

Last but not least, our prompt! Because it’s Friday, let’s keep it light and silly today, with a clerihew. This is a four line poem biographical poem that satirizes a famous person. Here’s one I just made up:

Emily Dickinson
wasn’t a fickle one.
Having settled in Amherst,
she wouldn’t be dispersed.

Is it going to win a Pulitzer prize? Nope – but it was fun to write!

I wrote a clerihew about our Prime Minister – I think it will stay in my notebook!


Carrie Etter’s prompt was to write a list poem, as an actual list. I have written it but my example doesn’t really feel like a poem. Maybe that is the nature of the form. I may go for this again, once I have some solid anchors to hook a list on.napo2017button1


Jo Bell http://www.jobell.org.uk/  English Breakfast by Paul Summers, the title mainly reminded me that it is lunchtime and I haven’t eaten mine yet.

An interesting discussion about judgement and prejudice.


The Poetry School

Day 14: What if…?58d3e6b0bba6c-bpfull
How many stories, films and poems can be summarised with that question? Look at Jose Saramago’s novel Blindness, which asks the question: What if blindness was contagious?
Today’s task is to ask yourself a ‘what if’ question — and to answer it. It might help to start off your poem with ‘What if…’ though you may decide to delete that part later on. It can be a personal ‘what if’ addressing what might have happened, or a hypothetical, scientific ‘what if’, but whatever you choose, the key to this task is to commit. You must follow the logic through wherever it goes, even – no, especially – if it goes somewhere unexpected.
For inspiration, have a look at Mark Waldron’s ‘Lion’, the second poem featured here: https://daysofroses.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/three-poems-from-mark-waldrons-the-itchy-sea/

NaPoWriMo Day 11 – Unleashing Counter Protest Poetry

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Day 11 – I was super busy and had time to look at the prompts and not write any poetry. So this is the first day of NaPo that I failed to write my poem a day – this happens. It happens to most people embracing the challenge, maybe the poetry that comes today will be stronger having lingered in my head for 24 hours.

Yesterday I spent the morning making an Easter Promotion video for Fragile Houses (better than an egg), reading proof copy, organising festival events and writing blurb for programmes. In the afternoon I went to Swindon with Rick Saunders (Willis the Poet) to watch him Headline at Oooh Beehive, Clive Oseman & Nick Lovell’s Spoken Word Night. Other Headliners were Aaron Samuel (who has been in the game for just 4 short months and is AMAZING) and Bryony Vine – both of whom were spotted by Clive and Nick at Milk Poets. It was a great night!

Totally forgiving myself for not writing poetry.

Let’s step back in time…

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http://www.napowrimo.net/

Our featured participant for the day is Unassorted stories, where the poem for Day 9 is a portrait of a mental makeover.

Today, we’re also featuring a 1962 interview with Sylvia Plath. In popular culture, Plath is known for three things: (1) she wrote angry poems, (2) she killed herself, and (3) teenage girls who feel angry and a little gothy read her to feel angrier and a little gothier. But look a little further, and you’ll find a deeply philosophical poet, a master of unusual similes that set the reader rocking back on their heels, and a refuser of obvious or comfortable ideas, particularly about motherhood, femininity, and the reality of existing in a physical body. There’s a lot to learn from her densely layered, uncompromising verse. Looking for a few examples of her work beyond those poems you might have already seen? Here’s one, and another, and another.

And last but not least, here’s our (optional) prompt for the day: the Bop. The invention of poet Afaa Michael Weaver, the Bop is a kind of combination sonnet + song. Like a Shakespearan sonnet, it introduces, discusses, and then solves (or fails to solve) a problem. Like a song, it relies on refrains and repetition. In the basic Bop poem, a six-line stanza introduces the problem, and is followed by a one-line refrain. The next, eight-line stanza discusses and develops the problem, and is again followed by the one-line refrain. Then, another six-line stanza resolves or concludes the problem, and is again followed by the refrain. Here’s an example of a Bop poem written by Weaver, and here’s another by the poet Ravi Shankar.

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Yesterday I got as far as reading the examples and writing out my frame. Today I sat down to write my first ever Bop. My first attempt worked technically and was something I needed to write out of myself. It stands as a poem, but didn’t say enough. Then I thought back to recent events in Birmingham. The EDL marched on the city and one of my friends was racially abused. I wanted to write about that. Go Back Home

Saffiyah Khan’s photo (smiling at protestors as she stepped in to defend a woman who was surrounded) has gone viral, I watched a video interview with her yesterday and the whole thing needs to be united against. It seems to me the Bop is a perfect form for such a political statement. So I set back to my page again.

Saffiyah Khan Birmingham Mail

I am working on a re-write and depending on whether I bag an open mic slot at HOWL tonight, might share it with the city.

Our multi-cultural city stands united.

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Carrie Etter’s prompt was to describe an image in 2-5 lines and use this as the end of the poem and work back from there.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/birmingham-edl-march-photo-picture-woman-mosque-best-of-british-tea-party-muhammad-afzal-a7674726.html

I wrote about the image of Saffiyah Khan

edl The Independent

The Independent © 2017

Fighting against this dark veil

shrouding Centenary Square.

I think it is important for people to know that there were Unity Rallies, Counter Protestors and demonstrations, like the tea party held at the Mosque. 300 attended that, there were 50 EDL members. The protest was originally planned for the East Midlands, but moved to Birmingham after the Westminster attacks.

Saffiyah was not a counter-protestor, she was just in the city and came to this woman’s aid. Stepped in where others looked on.

I was not there – I was in the city in 2014 when the EDL came, I was performing at an event at the Library for Birmingham Literature Festival, an event that one poet pulled out of because her skin was the wrong colour that day. I was afraid and I was inside the library. Saffiyah states she wasn’t being brave, but it takes a lot to stand up like this. Look how straight her back is!


Jo Bell shares Late Fragment by Raymond Carver http://www.jobell.org.uk/


58d3e6b0bba6c-bpfullThe Poetry School gave us Day 11: Old English Day

Old English or Anglo-Saxon verse is fascinating and powerful. To write in a typical Anglo-Saxon way, you need:

·         lines with 4 stresses (though it doesn’t matter how many feet, i.e. your line can be as short as ‘Hold. Stay! Hold, hold!’ or as long as you want providing it only has 4 stresses)
·         an optional central caesura or pause between stress 2 and 3
·         alliteration of 3 of the 4 stress words (this doesn’t have to be on the first syllable if the stress is on a later syllable, e.g. although would alliterate on ‘th’).

It’s all very flexible though. If you want to alliterate 2 of the words, or all 4, or you want to skip your caesura, that’s absolutely fine. Sound complicated? It’s not! You’ll soon get the hang of it and it’s a very natural, flowing way to write.

It’ll all be much easier with an example few lines from Simon Armitage’s translation of ‘Gawain’ (which is actually a Middle English revival of the alliterative style). The stresses are indicated in bold.

as he heaped his hair to the crown of his head,
the nape of his neck now naked and ready.
Gawain grips the axe and heaves it heavenwards,

A longer extract can be found here https://www.theguardian.com/books/2006/dec/16/poetry.simonarmitage


 

What’s the Point? Keeping Motivation ALIVE

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© Sarah Wilkinson 2014

© Sarah Wilkinson 2014

This morning I decided to watch a TEDx talk whilst eating breakfast. I have spent a couple of weeks in a dip and am lacking motivation and belief. In under three years I am already uttering those vile, monstrous, self-destructive words, ‘what’s the point?’ Not only has the question entered my mind, it has been playing on a slow loop and worse still I have started to take it as fact that the answer is – ‘there isn’t any.’ writing block

All of this is completely ridiculous, however, in the short time I have been back in my writing life I have discovered not only do all writers feel this way from time to time but even really famous authors and successful writers fall prey to these self-sabotaging words.

The point is;

your unique voice, out there for people to read.

this is your chosen career.

you have to stay highly motivated as you have no boss to answer to and some days probably don’t even get dressed before lunchtime (if at all).

you write, but no-one writes 24/7.

this was a choice, still is, but don’t let one bad week/month/year dissuade you.

z st chads barry patterson

So here I am in the doldrums (despite several ongoing exciting projects), this lingering feeling has been unsettling me for over two weeks. Today, I thought this is ridiculous, I need to spur myself on.

Hence the breakfast with a side order of TEDx. breakfast-waffles

It was the 2012 Olympics which reignited my ambition to become a writer. I am basically taking 4 years at a time as an over-arching period as a writer and allowing myself four Olympics to get to GOLD. I am hoping in the light of my writing life after 3 years that it won’t take the whole 16 years to achieve my ambition.

The Universe Steps In

You know how the universe conspires in putting exactly what you need at that given moment in front of you – well the talk suggested something about the Olympians which I vaguely remembered hearing before, indeed a quick search gave me the data and a BBC report on the medal response.

The concept is that Bronze medal winners feel better than Silver medal holders.

Gold is great – you won – on top of the world.

Bronze is – yippee I was placed, I have a medal, so close. 

Silver is – shucks I haven’t won.

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Research has shown that silver medallists feel worse, on average, than bronze medallists. (Gold medallists, obviously, feel best of all.) The effect is written all over their faces, as psychologists led by Thomas Gilovich of Cornell University found out when they collected footage of the medallists at the 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona. Gilovich’s team looked at images of medal winners either at the end of events – that is, when they had just discovered their medal position – or as they collected their medals on the podium. They then asked volunteers who were ignorant of the athlete’s medal position to rate their facial expressions. Sure enough, the volunteers rated bronze medallists as consistently and significantly happier than silver medallists, both immediately after competing, and on the podium.

By Tom Stafford

Copyright © 2015 BBC

Read the full article here http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120810-olympic-lessons-in-regret

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Just with this in mind (because I was obviously aiming for Gold and actually feeling bad that I hadn’t even made Silver and the people on the podium weren’t even in the race when I started), my mind shifted. I realised I need to appreciate what I do have – and I have pages of it in The Write Year to look back on.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/the-write-year/

I am learning and I think that’s what it’s all about. The writing process takes an incredibly long and frustrating time is a new lesson. It is an important one. I have learnt how the polishing is important, how not to jump the gun (sending work out too early with ragged edges). I will train harder and seek support. Being a part of a team is much more comfortable than the solitude of your garret where you are out on a limb.

Of course, ‘I am Bronze’ – is in itself a winning mindset – my Olympic year falls next year and I will see how much ground I have covered and how 2016 pans out, I am hoping it ends with a medal around my neck. (Just maybe not silver!)

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So my best advice for an attack of the writing doldrums – is claw yourself back out, make a list of all your highest achievements, stick it somewhere you will see it everyday and keep up the good fight. Today may not have been yours – but who’s to say what tomorrow holds? You get a new chance daily, send your darlings out and keep smiling!

One day victory will be yours! Cue manical laughter.

RELATED LINKS:

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/the-ups-and-downs-of-creatives/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/make-your-tuesday-count-motivation/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/the-emotional-spectrum-of-writing/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/where-i-am-at-21-months-in/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/writer-fatigue/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/when-the-going-gets-tough/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/an-article-in-the-stylist-rejection-letters-of-the-famous/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/01/19/freelancers-dreamers-the-importance-of-glancing-back/

Halloween Poetry Brothel with Caged Arts

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hallo4 This is the part of the year where I start to wind down the amount of performances and events I attend. I was hoping to go to Spoken Word at The Ort this evening (Fri 6th), but last night (5th Nov) we had a Bonfire and a few fireworks, although we saved some money on fireworks this year, they weren’t as spectacular as last year and the god-children couldn’t make it, so we are having a Guy Fawkes/Bonfire again Saturday night. I have just started back to work after a fortnight off too. Next week is a heavy schedule so I have started to listen to how I feel and if I am too tired to make a journey, there is a high probability that I won’t enjoy it as much as I should. Mr G and I ordered a take away instead, after I woke up from my two hour catnap! lanegan 009

On Saturday the 31st I was at the P Café, Stirchley to perform alongside 5 other chosen poets at a special Halloween event. p cafe brothel

Charley Barnes

Charley is a Worcestershire based poet who enjoys crime fiction, gender studies, and tea (but struggles to get all of these things into her poetry). She is a regular fixture at spoken word nights in the West Midlands and her work is renowned for its personal and soul touching nature.

Tom Crossland
Tom is a Birmingham based poet, and a regular fixture in many of Brum’s spoken word nights. He enjoys apiology, horology*, and physics. He even writes the occasional poem. Some of which he has even performed at the Roundhouse Slam final, and used to win the Pangaea Poetry Slam.
*These are subjects at Hogwarts**
** They’re not, they’re the study of time and bees. Think Dr. Who played by Alan Titchmarsh.

Tarik Ross Cameron
Tarik is a spoken word poet born and living in Birmingham. He has been performing since December 2014. He aims to take listeners on a journey through themes he cares about, whether with music-influenced rhyming, or reflective pieces in which he tells stories in more detail.

Luci Hammans
Luci does poetry. Sometimes. The other times she’s over analysing things and try hard not to crumple into anxiety but always she is wearin boots. Because boots are as close as she’s ever gonna get to stilts and stability.

Casey Bailey
Casey has performed at events like Birmingham REP’s Level UP and staple of the Birmingham calendar, Hit The Ode. His work fuses poetry and rap and blends personal pieces with social discussion. He was the first featured artist at the first ever Stirchley Speaks.

Nina Lewis
Nina is a published poet and freelance writer. On her writing she says that she is ‘in a more settled place, with patience and an understanding of ‘temporary setbacks’, this time I will not change path! I am just going to keep going.’

CAGED ARTS BALLOON Murdock Ramone © 2015


It was my first Poetry Brothel experience. The full immersive concept of these places – (popular in Europe) is that the poets take on a role/character too, we didn’t – we literally had masks in the form of Halloween fancy dress and masks. We also didn’t have 1 to 1 clients in private sections, instead we invited 3 – 5 participants at a time to come and find us in the decorated back room of the café, where they chose 3 poets to go and listen to for 15 minutes.

There have been poetry brothels around the world, from the USA to New Zealand via Columbia, and now the award winning movement is coming to Birmingham for the first time.

For one night only CAGED Arts presents The Poetry Brothel, a night of intimate poetry readings. On Halloween, as the veil between this world and the next begins to wane enter our gateway at The P Café. Enjoy your time in limbo with a variety of workshops and stalls, including lost soul making, caricatures and temporary tattoos fitting for such a spooky night. Peruse the menu for poets and book your own personal experience with them in the world beyond the veil.

Heidi Murphy (Caged Arts) CAGED ARTS HEIDI had spent the day working hard on decorating the venue. It looked amazing. The café has two main rooms and there were lots of activities happening in these areas including; CAGED ARTS HAIKU HUT Rory McGhie  Rory McGhie Haiku Hut, variety of workshops, stalls and poetry.

CAGED ART ROOM 3 CAGED ARTS TAT

Photography by Murdock Ramone Media © 2015

The backroom (which has been allocated as a space for Guest Artists) was our brothel space which had been decorated with fairy lights, candles, pumpkins and the walls caged arts 2 had been painted with quotations sent in by the commissioned poets. caged arts 3 CAGED ARTS ROOM I was delighted when I discovered ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ – as my poem was written about the hotel from The Shining. CAGED ARTS JACK

CAGED ARTS CASEY 2 Casey Bailey – All photos by Murdock Ramone © 2015

Nina Lewis CAGED ARTS ME caged arts nina

CAGED ARTS LUCI2 Luci Hammans

Tarik Ross Cameron CAGED ARTS TARIK ROSS CAMERON

CAGED ARTS TOM Tom Crossland

Charley Barnes caged arts 4

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Each poet chose a performance area and then we had groups of 3 to 5 people visit us. There were drinks on a table for them to help themselves too and each poet had tips glasses which the public could use if they wished.

The room was distractingly noisy to start and I was aware that my voice may have been soft for my audience to hear, once I was used to this I started to enjoy it. It was energy zapping, but also entertaining and highly fun and I was glad my application for this event had been successful.

Murdock Ramone took photographs of the evening.

Photos by Murdock Ramone Media Murdock Ramone © 2015

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The Ups and Downs of Creatives: Motivation & Mindset

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notebooks The Ups and Downs of Creatives

YOU ARE NORMAL – IT IS NORMAL!

  • Writing can be particularly isolating – get out and find Local Creative movements or find an online community.
  • Keep your motivation up. If you’re not excited – then who will be?
  •  Be brave – look in the mirror and see courage – and if not, repeat the words a few times.
  • Find time to put in practise
  • and practise what you learn

MOTIVATION

Look at some great examples (people/work) and aspire, see what achievements they had, do you see yourself having the same?

maya creativity

  • Share your own learning experience
  • Pass it forward

Then you get to a place you feel you should be and it is all waterfalls and rainbows after that? Wrong.

You keep growing – keep learning – keep failing and succeeding. Many creative areas are like small planetary systems and the orbit around us is called REJECTION – occasionally you see a small opening – shoot for it and make it through to success – and even success comes with a ton more lessons.

Don’t let that put you off wishing for it – in fact wishing for success is your first step towards it – pull it closer towards you.

Be prepared for your confidence to take a knock – and quite often you are the one responsible for throwing such punches.

Be prepared for a lack of self-belief to raise its ugly head from time to time.

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GOAL SETTING

Set goals – be clear on what it is you want to achieve and when things go wrong make 1 of 2 decisions;

– kick it to the kerb and try again

OR

– decide that fate has other plans and move in a different direction  – fight or flight really – of course it is TRULY something you really want – keep fighting – don’t give up – but set a time limit on the punches (mine was 16 years*, now closer to 13, despite it taking 9 months to find my writing niche).

Right now, especially if I reflect on the past 4 months, there are things that haven’t gone as well as I would have liked. Things that have failed completely (note I say ‘things’ and not I – rejection is not personal) but also there has been success, achievement and a few opportunities I had not dreamt would be on offer this early on the path of my goals.

A happy summer 2011 SEEK HAPPINESS

Of course a certain amount of dream/ambition and perfect working world comes from a place where we seek happiness. If you are serious about making it part of your life/existence you will need to accept that it will be jolly hard work (often not jolly at all) … but if you love what you’re doing it won’t feel like work and when it does and you feel it dragging you down… do what I do and think about what WORK used to mean/be! I can guarantee you are doing better now -right?

Stress(ing) takes up abundant amounts of energy and you may find (if like me you still have paid employment to keep you alive) that this is becoming ever more stressful.

DAlma© 2014 Deborah Alma

This year for many reasons (not least that I am finally well enough to do so) I have taken on more career work. The result of this has meant losing writing days – for the first few months this made me angry. Mr G was working away and I wanted to spend my free time with him, not the laptop – and I am glad I did, because we got through it and are now reunited and the laptop can make an appearance at any time without neglect or imbalance occurring.

Looking back considering what a challenging (timewise) writing year it has been so far, I am not doing too badly. There is one major project that I wish I had spent more time on in the New Year, on the flip side although I have inevitably delayed something exciting and forward propelling from happening, I have created new material which wouldn’t have been written in time or possibly would never have existed.

writing space 2 mote carlo CREATE SPACE

Remember to create some space and time for you to address what’s happening, what you are thinking. What do you want your life to be like? Start with the ideal and work backwards.

What is important to you?

What creative direction would you like to take?

 TOP TIPS:

  • step out of your comfort zone
  • seek new opportunities
  • plan and schedule – only say YES if you can do it
  • Celebrate the good times and try to acknowledge the bad times, they will often teach valuable lessons. Many times over, usually.
  • Remember all those famous people who failed, that we only see the success (which is why I like to blog the fails too). If you have been walking around without an eye on the internet for the past decade and happen to have missed the list and have no clue what I’m talking about…. here are just a few popular examples:

DURING THEIR LIFETIME…Motivate faith

Vincent Van Gogh: sold only one painting, and this was to a friend and only for a very small amount of money.

Emily Dickinson: had fewer than a dozen poems published out of her almost 1,800 completed works.

I have (and probably you have) already beaten this in today’s world of publishing.

Theodor Seuss Giesel: 27 different publishers rejected Dr. Seuss’s first book.

Steven Spielberg: was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television three times.

Stephen King: The first book by this author, the iconic thriller Carrie, received 30 rejections, finally causing King to give up and throw it in the trash.

J. K. Rowling: was nearly penniless, severely depressed, divorced, trying to raise a child on her own while attending school and writing a novel.

ELVIS PRESLEY got fired after his first show;

“You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”

world poetry day LOOK BACK

Look back – YES

I look through my schedule, which I annotate as I go with highlighters/markers, I know my key: Performing, writing, submitting, publishing etc.

Then I have a system where at the end of the month I write on a small post-it all the MAJOR achievements, that way when I reflect I just look over the 1-12 post-it notes.

Other people keep their TO DO lists in a separate notebook and just look back through these.

It needn’t mean extra work for you, but this reflection will boost your creativity/ output and success in the future.

I have also learnt to let the dips happen, they are a natural (and necessary) part of any creative career. Plus many creative people are likely to suffer depression, anxiety… so let go, give in and feel the rip and pull of the tide until you enjoy it as much as the gentle white horses of the sea covering your feet on the sand.

The best way to deal with it or anything is to

JUST KEEP GOING!

motivation keep on

Happy Writing x

* Brief information on my plan = 4 Olympics… all this is training for my first – 2016.

The Emotional Spectrum of Writing

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The Emotional Spectrum of Writing: Highs and Lows

People often comment about my energy, how I am able to attend and perform at so many events a month, how I write often, they see the shine, the sparkle, the bits you take out to share.

This blog is a writing blog, it is truth, it is highs and lows, rejection and success. Recently I have hit the kind of low with mental mirages, the times when the gremlins get in and you start to believe you are no good. Confidence sky dives and you begin to question whether anything you are doing has any value or worth.

I am not posting this to gain sympathy or to accept kindly a barrage of it will get better messages, feel free to respond, my intention is just this –

to SHARE THE TRUTH.

Part of the writing journey is to accept these lows and ride the waves through them, back into days when you are your own best friend and not your own worst enemy, when you believe in your full potential and recognise your talent and gifts. You will find higher ground again – so don’t give up.

Take a break but don’t give up.

journey This is a photo of traffic from our bank holiday weekend in Somerset. We did get there, it took 5 hours, much longer than it should have, we got there – because we just kept going.

Just keep going.

grayson_perry_vanity_spread1 This is a photograph of the Grayson Perry book I bought earlier this year, his tapestries took a long time to complete – they are incredible works of art for the content but also the act of creating the content.

If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.

I had this quote on a tin as a child and I never really understood what it meant. I do now. It took many authors we know 15 or more attempts before successful publishing deals. The best tool is persistence, repeat, repeat, repeat.

Allow yourself time to feel down, then get back up and carry on. Keep doing what you do best and learn from it. Acknowledge the possibility that improvement can be made, if not send it elsewhere, you need to find a fitting home for your work. If it is rejected more than three times then it may be an idea to submit some different work.

Plan it – Map it – See it – Be it 

Make a new plan.

What will you do next?

Work out your writing schedule.

Do it!

Enjoy the results and if they weren’t the right results and you can’t enjoy it – repeat the above list, until you can!

© Sarah Wilkinson 2014

© Sarah Wilkinson 2014

NaPoWriMo Day 2

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Day 2

You could write a poem inspired by Norse mythology, or perhaps by one of these creatures from Japanese legend. Every time and place and culture has its myths and legends, so there’s plenty to choose from.

Again I started with a search and quite a bit of reading, I know some Greek Mythology but didn’t study Classics. I have several poems in mind, I hope that I can find time to write them all.

The thing I love the most about poetry challenges is the research into things I would otherwise never have heard of or contemplated!

I started this challenge with Thor and Norse Mythology and I finished with a vampire tree! It produced 3 poems and a Haiku – so 4 poems, some were written after the prompt day.

My favourite was based on the Japanese Legend of Jubokko – the Vampire Tree. I was intrigued.

 

Once again *the same as last year, I post only an extract from my poems due to copyright protection and possible future submissions.

 

From this blood

grew this tree.

A tree child.

Jubokko.

Other trees feed on air

and water falling from

the skies.

Blood is the core of

the Jubokko,

the tree child thirsts

for more than

nature gives.

 

When the Going Gets Tough!

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This post is for everyone who has a DAYJOB and is also trying to forge a writing career.

This is probably how your mind feels most of the time.

Culinary disaster

©EmmaC 2014

 

I promise you this is not my culinary disaster (and although my friend posted it on social media, she probably didn’t expect it to be used on my blog!) – this is what happens if you don’t prick potatoes before cooking them.

Today the stress in my head (at the day job, from the day job, from thinking about the writing life I would rather lead, in trying to imagine the evening before it was even lunchtime!) built up to this explosive point… I felt like these potatoes…

If you have ever felt the same read on.

roses

©N Lewis2014

Even these beautiful roses have sharp bits.

No-one can have a perfect life, there are always sharp bits! I know a good few people lucky enough to be full time writers, they no longer have to balance that life with a dayjob, and even they still have sharp bits.

Remember living the life you dream of doesn’t mean you will lead a stress free, smooth edged life.

Dream, of course, but keep your head somewhere in reality.

 

1 denver library

Learn your triggers and have a mental list of how to get over the stress once you have made it home. Any way you can relax and let go of it is good. Here is a list of things that work for me;

 

  • Reading a book
  • Having a lie down/power nap
  • Taking a bath

 

      • Working out (I rarely do this in the face of confronting my stress – but it always works when I do)
        • Rage it out in a free write
          • Phone a friend and have a bit of a moan

 

  • Chill out with a magazine and a cuppa
  • Watch a film
  • Go for a walk

 

And remember why you are in this dual/ split life place to begin with.

motivation closer

 

 

 

 

Another idea is to visualise (and manifest) sometime in 2013 I created this board of dreams, actually a board of what I wanted my life to be – not dreams but reality! Some of these aspects are already coming true, it serves as a visual reminder….

 

visual

©N Lewis 2014

 

Almost central are the words THE SMARTEST DECISION I EVER MADE…

giving up my full time career after 14 years and with it the salary and the pension is okay, it is just that, the SMARTEST and BRAVEST decision I have ever made. And no matter how bad my day has been by 5pm or 6pm at the latest, IT  — IS — OVER! Whereas before there  was barely time to grab dinner before working away for another 5 or 6 hours. That 60-80 hour relentless working week is not sustainable – it is why so many teachers took strike action yesterday.

Finding time to write can be a challenge, if you do find time keeping energy up can be hard, but how worth it – think about how writing makes you feel. Better than most things in the world? Then keep going!

Try to hold onto the good days and let go of the bad – in the same way we let go of rejections and celebrate our publishing successes!

Just keep going!

motivation auth

 

 

Black Dog – A Wonderful Advert: World Health Organization

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We do not talk about our black dogs – these are the kind of pets that society doesn’t accept easily, it is easy to feel alone. You feel like you are the only one on the planet with a black dog, but they breed widely.

This is an amazing awareness video from the World Health Organization and timely viewing, speaking with my doctor yesterday he said if more people could recognise the trigger he could help recovery quicker. It is hard to know sometimes though…. What I thought mine was wasn’t really it in the end.
Watching this this reminded me of how it used to feel 2 years ago, how I felt. It is incredible how far I have come. I want to thank my Black Dog though, because without him my life wouldn’t have changed beyond recognition, it was from my mood journals, gratitude journals and depression diaries that the writer in me re-emerged.
I am grateful – because I know rock bottom and I realise the only way from there is UP!

A Great Time Had By All At 42!

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42 Worcester's photo. I accepted the great challenge of writing material which would be suitable for this event – as I am such a scaredy cat that my over active imagination struggles to keep any grasp on reality. Sometimes I challenge myself to read books from this genre but cannot read them after dark!
Anyway I knew I had written some poems this year that would be suitable and I set about writing a few new ones.
I know that often poet’s perform the same set or parts of it – I like the fact that signing up to a new event forces me to write new material.
1 month – 5 events in Leamington, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Birmingham and Worcester.
And my confidence is high – audiences are so kind and other poets are great at giving feedback.
42
*Mid spooky verse
Thanks to Andrew Owens for making me feel so welcome and using my blog tag line in the introduction!
I also saw a writer I met back in April at Keith Lindsay’s Writing Workshop. We got talking and he leant me a book – about writing – will help me through NaNoWriMo for sure!
1 42 So thanks for trusting me with it James.
I had a fabulous night, heard a mixture of stories and poems and had some great feedback on my set.
The adrenalin is surging!
The only sad thing – is about 20 minutes before I was due to leave for the city – I found out that it was optional fancy dress. In previous years I have loved dressing up for Halloween
  hall5  hell3
and this year we hadn’t made any plans to. The only party/ gig we have been invited to clashes with a gig we have already booked so until a few weeks ago I had no need for a costume. Unpacking my fancy dress wasn’t a priority and it is still buried somewhere in the 3rd bedroom (which we will tackle later this week!) … I did have skulls on my dress…. and at least I didn’t have to worry about my make up running!
A spoken word event was the perfect way for me to include Halloween into 2013.
The next one is a Flash Fiction event, so may need to work on some material for a while!