WRITE OUR AGE: RUTS AND INSPIRATION

I’m not the kind of person who can write their way out of writer’s block by aimlessly typing shapeless rubbish into a Word Doc until inspiration hits.

I’ve always stood by the theory that editing something, no matter how awful, is better than having nothing to edit. Although, writing content that you know to be bad, even as a draft, can be dispiriting and physically painful.

On a good day, my head is brimming with words that fit well together and lines of poetry that have distinct rhythms and messages. At times like these, I find my notes app full of bits and pieces of writing that have the potential to become entire poems or prompts for short stories. This is great, I’m sure you’ll agree, we all feel incredible when this is the case.

However, there are always dry spells, times when nothing we write seems to sound even remotely interesting, our poetry falls flat on it’s face and our scripts are dull. For me, times like these are incredibly frustrating, but I’ve found that, like an illness, the pain can be alleviated in several different ways.

We all write under different circumstances, but there are some common denominators. I often find that I write best after reading work that that sparks interest.

The poetry I currently write is heavily influenced by the work of the Beats and the New York School of Poets. If I look back on a time-line, I see time when my work was particularly influenced by Auden and Eliot.

Some phases pass, but many stick and become an amalgamation of your influences. The writers who you admire and emulate are often the ones that succeed in replenishing your flow. So when I’m short of ideas, I’ll flick through Birthday Letters, or Lunch Poems to recharge my battery.

Additionally, quotes can also be incredibly helpful, whether it’s quotes about writing, or quotes on certain subjects and themes, I feel that they are a quick fix to help sustain your writing. You may have a collection of favourite quotes that you can assemble into an accessible collection and come back to when you’re stuck in a rut.

I think non-fiction writer have less trouble with this next issue, but poets and screenwriters and novelists, I hope you can relate.

Occasionally, I feel like a fraud because I’m have no idea what I’m writing about and that is detrimental to my mentality. I become stuck in a stuttering cycle of writing and stopping and considering, until I run out of juice.

In my opinion, one of the best solutions to this problem is to defraud yourself. Writing about hiking? Find a mountain to summit, pack your own bag, experience the tumultuous weather, then transfer this experience to your work with the reassurance and support of your genuine experience.

Secondly, I think it is equally, if not more important, to remember this one truth: YOU ARE A WRITER. You are a creator of worlds and people that would not exist if it wasn’t for you! You are a creator of fiction and fantasy and infinite circumstances. It’s important not to doubt your own rules, because YOU MAKE THE RULES. Sure, you may have to sit down and untangle messy plots and patch up holes, but in the end, you have the final say.

Thanks for reading this post and leave your thoughts below, how do you fight writer’s block, what advice do you have and do you agree with what I said?

ALSO, if anyone would like to request a specific topic for the next WRITE OUR AGE, I’d be happy to take requests in the comments. I’d love to hear what you guys would like to see.

SHARE this post on Facebook or Twitter with anyone you think would like to read it and give us a LIKE if you want!

Until next time,

Viv

POEM OF THE DAY: MORNING – FRANK O’HARA

Morning

I’ve got to tell you
how I love you always
I think of it on grey
mornings with death

in my mouth the tea
is never hot enough
then and the cigarette
dry the maroon robe

chills me I need you
and look out the window
at the noiseless snow

At night on the dock
the buses glow like
clouds and I am lonely
thinking of flutes

I miss you always
when I go to the beach
the sand is wet with
tears that seem mine

although I never weep
and hold you in my
heart with a very real
humor you’d be proud of

the parking lot is
crowded and I stand
rattling my keys the car
is empty as a bicycle

what are you doing now
where did you eat your
lunch and were there
lots of anchovies it

is difficult to think
of you without me in
the sentence you depress
me when you are alone

Last night the stars
were numerous and today
snow is their calling
card I’ll not be cordial

there is nothing that
distracts me music is
only a crossword puzzle
do you know how it is

when you are the only
passenger if there is a
place further from me
I beg you do not go

POEM OF THE DAY: Frank O’Hara

       ANIMALS

Have you forgotten what we were like then
when we were still first rate
and the day came fat with an apple in its mouth

it’s no use worrying about Time
but we did have a few tricks up our sleeves
and turned some sharp corners

the whole pasture looked like our meal
we didn’t need speedometers
we could manage cocktails out of ice and water

I wouldn’t want to be faster
or greener than now if you were with me O you
were the best of all my days

[1950]

POEM OF THE DAY: CAROL ANN DUFFY- Valentine

Not a red rose or a satin heart.

I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
It promises light
like the careful undressing of love.

Here.
It will blind you with tears
like a lover.
It will make your reflection
a wobbling photo of grief.

I am trying to be truthful.

Not a cute card or a kissogram.

I give you an onion.
Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,
possessive and faithful
as we are,
for as long as we are.

Take it.
Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding-ring,
if you like.

Lethal.
Its scent will cling to your fingers,
cling to your knife.

Carol Ann Duffy

POEM OF THE DAY: WALT WHITMAN- O’ Captain! My Captain!

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up-for you the flag is flung-for you the bugle trills; 10
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths-for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won; 20
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

Walt Whitman

QUOTE OF THE DAY: JENNIFER NIVEN

‘I remember running down a road on my way to a nursery of flowers. I remember her smile and her laugh when I was my best self and she looked at me like I could do no wrong and was whole. I remember how she looked at me the same way even when I wasn’t. I remember her hand in mine and how that felt, as if something and someone belonged to me.’

JENNIFER NIVEN- ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES

I don’t normally do this for Quote of The Day posts, but I’d just like to recommend All The Bright Places to everyone reading this – it is a truly lovely book and Jennifer is a lovely person. ATBP will be coming to the big screen sometime in the next few years, with Jennifer writing the screenplay herself.

some of the images in this post belong to me, if you intend to use any of them please ask me to check, thanks!’

QUOTE OF THE DAY: ERNEST HEMINGWAY

‘All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer.’

– ERNEST HEMINGWAY