My Words, My World

First drafts – A few pages in the large wilderness of the world of writing

Archive for the tag “Writer’s block”

Tools of the trade

The keyboard lies silent, like a long-closed factory, its worker-keys now unemployed, passing into disuse and irrelevance.

The pen lies on its side, like a dead soldier, a used-to-be who has taken an early pension, now laying in the sun.

The notebook lies closed, in a crypt-like embrace, its secrets hidden inside except; here there are no secrets, just untouched pages.

The once-writer lies on his side, a book in his hand, eyes skipping over the words someone else has written; and wonders.

Where do all the words go?

So you start writing and you continue, word by word, one after another: 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 and then…you turn your head away and BANG!, you hit the buffers, nowhere to go, no more forward momentum. You open up the story; it’s been two weeks damn it, not two years but when you look inside it’s like taking a straight razor and cutting yourself to see what comes out.  20,000+ words and there they sit, destined for the file marked ‘In progress’, along with half a dozen other 20K’s that came to the same end.  It’s like trying to build a Lego house but someone’s blocked up the holes in the bricks.

The penultimate day of the year and I sit, devoid of ideas and inspiration.

Am I destined for a life of flash fiction and off-the-cuff poetry?  Fuck.



No fun

No fun
having nothing to say
yet you could talk all day

No fun
having something to say
yet no will to say it

No fun
staring at the pen that won’t write
or the keys that won’t type
or the pages that only turn
in the late summer breeze.



This book’s “a real page-turner”
it says so on the back cover.
It’s not though really, is it?
Thinking about it.
It doesn’t turn its pages,
I do.
Pedantic I know.
Maybe I have writer’s envy.
I can’t write a page-turner
I can’t even write a page
Lately I can’t even write
Blocked like a drain;

Hats off to Raymond Chandler

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” So said Oscar Wilde.

While I hope my work isn’t mediocre, I can understand the sentiment behind the statement.  We who doff our caps at others are acknowledging something which we appreciate and would probably like to do or achieve.

I have a weakness for reading Raymond Chandler.  Every once in a while I’ll return to any one of a number of books on my shelf.  A great writer.  By all accounts a greater drinker also, but that’s neither here nor there.  I’ve always loved reading Chandler and, not so long ago, as an idea to ‘unblock’, I wrote a small, Chandleresque sketch. It only runs to 68 words but after doing so I found a new impetus to my writing.

I hope you don’t find it too mediocre…

She offered me a coffee.  I took it like a man.  Black, no sugar; like my mood.  I don’t know which discount supermarket she’d bought it from but even with hot water added it was as dry as a Saharan wind.  I managed to drink it without pulling any expression except appearing concentrated on what she was saying, which wasn’t much.  Her words flowed like an uphill stream.

English teacher (with writer’s block)

My day is filled with verbs and tenses
clauses, phrases, words and sentences
grammatical structures
quantifiers and determiners

My past participle participated and departed
my present continuous continues to continue
while my future simple
will be far from simple

I’m conditioned by my conditionals
and positioned by my prepositions

I’m an English teacher who wants to write
my language is my day
but when I put that pen in my hand
I’ve nothing left to say

It’s easy to write about writer’s block

No words can express my…


The blank page remains blank.

Lines to be read between

have yet to be written between.

In my hand, my Waterman,

that might as well be made of, well,

water, man.

It would drip faster than any words I could write.

Laughing in the face of that which laughs at me

A blank page will sit and wait all day: because it can; it has patience, much more patience than I have. The blank page is king and will remain so, never abdicating, until my peasant’s revolt, armed with a sharpened pencil, a dipped pen and the spreading stain of ink removes it from its throne.

This sounds easy but it isn’t. It should be easy but it isn’t. The virgin purity of the blank page reflects in my face, making me squint and cover my eyes.

One letter at a time. One word at a time. That’s both the minimum and maximum I can do. No less. No more.

A blank page will sit and taunt me, its fresh white light, as joyous as a spring morning, laughs in my face and beckons me to do my worst. A blank page shows no fear, even with a sharpened 2H pencil held above it, threatening to stab down at any moment. While its doom hangs over it like the shadow of the executioner’s noose, it laughs in the face of fear. It laughs in the face of my fear.

Now I must go and laugh in the face of that which laughs at me.

Now I must go and write.


Every letter lingers,

and every word wrings,

while the stubborn sentence stabs

the pained paragraph.







Heart full of Words

Tonight, I’m not so bright

Head full of work

Heart full of words

Writer’s block?

Doesn’t exist. Just type

Damn it, type

Anything, everything.


A heart full of words

Can be held back

Only like the sea

or the mighty ocean

can be held back

Dam it at your peril

A dam can be broken.


A heart full of words

like a heart full of soul

a heart full of song

a heart full of faith

will overcome

the head full of work

and make me bright once more.




Niente di nuovo (as they say in Italy)

Nothing New – great song by one of the greatest bands ever to grace the stage – albeit till 1985 – Hanoi Rocks.

It sums me up at the moment.  Nothing new, nothing borrowed, nothing blue.  I’m on a creative non-wave.  It’s not writer’s block; I have flashes of inspiration all the time, I just can’t do anything with them, or rather I can’t sit my ass down and do anything with them, which is worse.  I blamed it on the summer – beautiful weather, drinks with friends on the lake, holiday in Ibiza etc. but now autumn is officially here (a week of rain proves it) I am still producing Nothing! Nada! Zilch! Niente! Rien!

A writer should be able to at least read when he’s not writing – I can’t even do that.  I’m sifting through (albeit pretty damn good) music biographies (Mötley Crüe, Led Zepppelin, New York Dolls, Johnny Cash).  I’ve hit a literary (literally) wall.  Aaaahhhh!!!  What do I have to do, wait till the snow arrives?  Become like Jack Torrance in The Shining (without axe-weilding tendencies obviously…)???

I’ve slept on it, I’ve drunk on it, I’ve partied on it, I’ve moped on it, I’ve meditated on it – I am a man without an answer.

What am I gonna do?  I’ll let you know.  I’ll be back…

Transient Crap

So here I am in southern Switzerland.  The sun is out, the sky is blue and I’m at home with the flu – yes I know it’s not the Buddy Holly lyric but it’ll do.

Is it an excuse not to write?  No.  It does however make thinking a little harder, rational decision making a little more difficult and something I had in the pipeline may now stay there a few more days as I can’t conclude it.  BUT, it is the reason this new page has appeared on my blog.  Till now, I’ve not used it as a “social” thing, i.e. talking with you, if, of course anyone’s out there.

The books tell us to just get words down on paper, irrespective of grammatical error, spelling mistake or, God  forbid, use passive tense.  Well, in my mini-mire of flu-induced writer’s (HaHa!!) block, I decided my blog needed “Transient Crap” under my home page.  Even if I can’t get down what’s in my head, I can still get down what’s ready to come out of my mouth – very often not the same thing.

With this non-thought, I’ll make myself a cup of tea.


An Unfriendly Alien

I wanted to get away, run or even be put under, anything to get away from this jolting, numbing pain running through me. I didn’t know how long I’d been here, time became irrelevant. As I looked up I saw only a shape, fuzzy round the edges, not clear, just a silhouette. Alien. I could think only of the Cybermen on Dr. Who, way back when I was a kid. It was alien anyway, as was the hurt. It was less traumatic to break a bone in the body, I thought vaguely between white flashes of agony, the nerves in my face were standing on end, screaming at me, waving angry red flags at me. Half a second then another bolt of pain. I closed my eyes and my body went stiff, I felt my hands, back and legs soaked in sweat, I hadn’t even been laid out almost horizontal for more than a few minutes but the pain was becoming unbearable. I tried to move my head but to no avail, foolishly I thought it help me. My hands crossed themselves, twisting, sweating and entwining as the pain continued. Minutes passed.

A respite. I was unsure whether this pain had subsided or whether I was gradually getting used to it. However it had started to lessen, the flags went from red to orange, I had hoped for green but I guess that was asking too much. My face went from fingernail-on-blackboard nerve shredding torture to uncomfortably numb. My hands were sweating less and they stopped writhing like mating eels in a bucket. My shirt however was still soaked. I was breathing normally at least. Fearful the pain would start again I slowly opened my eyes once more.

A hand went up, the Cyberman’s head switched off and my dentist clapped me on the shoulder. “Smile”, he said, “you’re free to go.”

Writer’s Block, day 5

Why did I go out on a Wednesday? he thought. There was no-one about, the streets were empty, as were his cigarette packet, wallet and Moleskin. So much for alcohol, his head still thumping from the bottle of Tuscan red. No overheard conversations to give him that one-liner inspiration. No incidents of any note to give him material. He was at a loss. “At least it’s Friday tomorrow”, he said out loud to no-one in particular. ” I’ll rest my weary head, lungs and wallet and see what the weekend brings.”

Writer’s Block, day 4

“Bugger this for a game of soldiers” he said, “I’m going to get some air and have a drink, after all it worked for Dylan Thomas”. This new found wisdom was short of a few truths, like a pickled liver for one. Anyway, he took the jacket from the wardrobe, armed himself with his wallet, a packet of Chesterfields and his trusty but almost empty Moleskin and headed to the nearest watering hole.

Writer’s Block, day 3

He made a cup of tea. He took the teaspoon and started stirring, continuously, as if searching for a magic phrase or inspirational word that would sweeten his world like the newly dissolved sugar cube had sweetened the tea in his cup. He went in search of the biscuit tin, thinking a Digestive might be in order. The tin was empty, as was the page staring back at him from the screen.

Writer’s Block, day 2

So, the experts told him to place his desk against a blank wall, away from a window which could distract him. Distraction is at least use of the brain, he reasoned, as he looked up at the smooth white face in front of him, his eyes searching for some minor blemish in the paint, hoping a slight deformity in the painting and decorating department might aleviate him of his numbness and provide the meerest spark of creativity.

Writer’s Block

“Rip, crunch, crunch…tic, tic, tic”
“Rip, crunch, crunch…tic, tic, tic”

The 300 page spiral bound notebook, its grey cover an array of swirls and patterns more carved than drawn with a Bic biro, was slowly disappearing into roughly squashed balls of paper, aimed with no conviction at the waste paper bin as its owner fretted over the keyboard.

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