not-so-splendid isolation

what writer doesn’t crave time alone,

to write, float, feel free to create

in a world of imagined forms


yet ‘on your own’ brings up all kinds of stuff:

the thought, the feel, the sense of nothing,

the loneliness of being alone


I thought I’d welcome the time on page

that can stretch so far and deep –

yet now it’s self-pressure to perform


in my restricted bowl, with views of nought,

I have to reframe the reminder ticks

as a chance to live, to write, and transform

a poem to my creative blocks


my blocks pop up in colourful ways

sometimes when I least expect,

and often – when I’m pulled

by that crazy creative force,

that desire to put my words out there –

the opposite has to exist:

primed to put a stop to my course,

to cut me from my source.


the horizon may be dewy,

the breeze may be blowy

the potential stretching out

may be incredibly alluring,

and yet a part of me,

a stubborn and relentless saboteur

wants to stub out

the scary unknown.


what I’d like to do is

kick those blocks aside,

send them scattering

off the pier of fear,

and to open my future

to run wildly, wind in my hair,

trust at my feet, sun in my dreams,

and strength in my belief.



And still I’m blocked…

inktuition and still I'm blocked


All the work I’ve done on myself:

the therapy, the healing,

the certificates I’ve gained,

the triumph of Masters degrees.

And still I’m blocked.


All the promises I’ve made,

to stay true to my talent,

seem to land on fertile turf,

yet remain fallow, dry, non-manifest.

And still I’m blocked.


All the years I’ve passed,

with fresh intentions each Jan

that fade to grey, nudging into Feb.

In March it’s as if they never began.

And still I’m blocked.


All the distractions I excitedly seek.

New garden: tick. Weekly weeding: tock.

Jobs to take my mind off the task,

decade after decade. That’s the shock.

And still I’m blocked.


All the futures I’ll never achieve:

what will be my hand-me-down glory?

A creative life chronically unlived?

Or trusting what’s for me won’t go past me?


Knowing all of this… and more.

And still I’m blocked.


(pic courtesy of

A poem: in-my-head versus on-the-page

In my head is a perfect-shaped rhyme.

On the page it’s stinky old slime.

In my head is a thoroughbred thought.

On the page it’s mixed-up, debauched.

In my head is elegance and pace.

On the page it’s a cluttered disgrace.

In my head I want it to be all right.

On the page I fear it’s a right old sight.

In my head are obstacles many.

On the page the delays are plenty.

In my head I’m tired of the woes.

On the page I close my eyes and just go.






A poem for my love of writing distractions

How can I distract myself? Let me count the ways.

It’s amazing how I can usefully and helpfully fill my days.

My sink is super-shiny, my rubber gloves worn out.

My fridge has no more mould, just freshly prepared trout.

That old shed of mine, with boxes of old books,

is now a spider-free den; a children-friendly nook.

The piles of beauty sachets in my bathroom cabinet

now languish in the bin. They give me no regrets.

The stray strands in my eyebrow, the split ends of my hair

are now all clipped and neat. All are gone, I swear.

The clothes from years gone by, that I promised I’d wear again,

are stuffed in plump black sacks, going to causes humane.

The oven’s clean and spick, dried-in dribbles gone.

Anyone would think I’m a domestic goddess reborn.

But every writer has to go there,

to a cave-like, darkened gloom;

to that wibbly-wobbly place

before you move from womb to bloom.

So when the deadline’s there

and you’re picking up the pace,

remember to give some space

to creativity’s ultimate grace.

a counter-intuitive cure for writer’s block

Is inspiration all a writer needs...?

Writer’s block is never something that has plagued me. I make a living as a writer and editor, and a deadline makes writers’s block a bit of a joke; there’s no time for such narcissistic indulgences.

Which is why I was intrigued by a story in The New Yorker, brought to my attention by the wonderful The Daily Post, about how a psychotherapist cured a screenwriter from writer’s block. The method, as I understand it,  involved Continue reading

giving myself permission to be imperfect improves my creative writing

I attended a creative writing class recently, facilitated as part of a community project – the idea being that people could come along and have fun writing stories and poems. In other words, this process helped give people the ability to articulate what could otherwise not be said, and the opportunity to express in an oblique way what was going on for them. What emerged was some powerful writing with strong symbolic resonance.

Since studying for an MA in creative writing, I’ve approached my prose as something that has to be ‘perfect’: I carefully craft each word as if each one might be judged and found wanting. What was so liberating about this creative writing class was that Continue reading