Poetry for past lovers

Like many things Valentines Day is just a made up day that we choose to attach meaning to. I think it’s something light-hearted and can be used as an opportunity to highlight the ones you love in a similar way that new years can be used for a fresh start.

Last week I started working on a poem to share but didn’t get very far. I’m not writing poetry much these days so it felt strange and unfamiliar. However, it’s become an annual tradition to share a different sort of writing with you on Valentines Day, so I stuck with it.

I ended up with 6 short lines but it feels like enough because I’ve managed to capture a moment. And in a few months or even next year I’ll look back on this poem and remember exactly what it was like.

Lovers like you and I

With hearts that love to play games

And hearts so full of love

That sometimes they pour over

And sometimes they burst

With love to give.

Happy Valentines Day!

Debunking myths about writers

There is this idea about writers, infact it applies to creatives in general. The idea is that our best work comes from a place of negative experience that serves as the poker that stokes our flames of creativity.

I enjoy writing about being a writer, mainly because it’s a title I struggle to attach to myself as a blogger. However, here in this space where all I do is write, I suppose I am a writer.

There are all these ideas about the way that writers should be and it’s strange that we cling to them, even the negative ones.

A common one is the idea of the tortured writer. For them the writing process is like some sort of possession where it takes over and you have no choice but to sit and write until you are possessed no more.

I used to carry the belief that the best work or at least the best of my own work had to come from a place of sadness, anger or frustration. It’s not that I looked for those things but I found myself happy to use experiences that brought on those emotions as opportunities to write something.

Then one day after catching up with a dear friend, I left with a full heart and inspiration to write. When I started to write, the words poured out with such great ease like they have so many times before. the only difference was that this time I was full of joy.

In that moment, I realised that I had debunked the myths that I had once believed about myself as a writer.

Why I’ll never run out of ideas

How do you come up with something to write about every single day?

Write about your interests and write about your experiences.

The origin of this blog was about picking a small moment of each day and writing about the lesson I took from it.

The small moment could be watching a film I loved as a child, going shopping, baking a cake, a conversation with a stranger or running for the bus.

When I decided I wanted to start daily blogging a little over 3 years ago, I knew I had to decide to write about something that felt easy for me. As much as I didn’t want to be someone who wrote about any and everything, I also knew that I didn’t want to be so niche that I felt restricted to the point where I’d struggle for what to write.

Even when I took a break from blogging, I was still writing, making notes and the ideas just kept flowing.

I think that’s a sign that I did well picking the content for my daily blog. In a recent post, I shared that in 2022, I’ll no longer be daily blogging but I have no doubt that the abundance of ideas I will keep flowing.

Why you’re not inspired to write

Often when it comes to periods where I’m less inspired to write, the problem has nothing to do with writing.

For example, if you’re busy and overwhelmed throughout the day, when it comes to sitting down to write in the evening it’s difficult. It’s not that you’re not inspired but instead that your mind is frazzled. You can’t focus because you’re distracted by everything else that is going on.

When you put pen to paper or fingers to keys, the words don’t flow because your mind isn’t clear. But it’s not writers block, your simply just blocked overall. And as soon as things are no longer overwhelming or you spend time to get yourself back to a more harmonious state, the writing starts to get easier again.

I wrote this for you

You know the feeling you get when you read something that resonates. You feel seen, you feel heard and you feel connected, often to a complete stranger.

But this person was able to form something that encapsulates a feeling or a moment from your life. It can often serve as a reminder that we’re not so different or as separate from each other as we sometimes end up believing.

If you can be moved by words written 200 years ago then our problems, challenges and experiences aren’t so unique to us, there are plenty of other people that know what it’s like. In my teenage years I liked to beelive that somehow the author knew that I’d need to read their words, almost as if they wrote them just for me. Of course that wasn’t the case but it was a nice thought at the time.

I’ve held on to that idea but allowed it to evolve a little. As someone who writes and shares their words, I never write with a particular person in mind but I know that people are often drawn to read about things they can relate to.

I’ve read great words that have moved me and so I hope to do the same. I guess it’s sort of like taking one and passing it on.

‘I wrote this for you because of what they wrote for me.’

The role of the creator

When it comes to this blog, I’m in charge of the writing process and you are in charge of the rest. That includes the views, likes, comments and how popular each post gets.

As the creator, as much as you might want to be, you can’t be in control of the numbers and of how well your work performs because that’s not your role.

Your role is to do the work and as long as you’re doing it well, you have to learn to be okay with everything that comes with it.

Obviously if you earn a living from creating, the stakes are much higher. You might need to report back to someone and of course what they want to hear is that the numbers have gone up and at worst that they’ve stayed the same.

However, in spite of the above, I think it’s good to look at the numbers occasionally (even if they don’t affect your income). It can be useful to see the kind of stuff that is performing well. For example, one of my most popular posts is about Instagram and I’m also aware that my posts about being a writer and the writing process tend to do fairly well. I enjoy writing about those topics so choosing to do more of that would be a win-win for me as the writer and you as the reader. I wouldn’t have that knowledge without looking at the numbers.

But most importantly, the key is to not become so attached to the point that you’re happy when the numbers are up and sad when they’re down. The only thing you need to do is create.

The power of words

As a writer, when it comes to the written word I think it holds a lot of value.

However, I have to admit that when it comes to communication, the written word doesn’t always come out on top.

In a back and forth exchange, it’s easy to miss the tone or intention of the words you receive. You don’t get the sound of the voice, the volume or the face expression. When all you have to go off is words, you end up filling in the blanks and making things up.

It’s easy to assume the worst, especially when you already have your guard up. Maybe you misread the tone and assume the persons words were intended to be harsh which in turn then influences how you choose to respond. Before you know it the situation has become something that it didn’t even need to be.

So, maybe next time before things get out of hand you can simply arrange to talk face to face or at least make a phone call.

Cost and accountability

People pay a lot of money to ensure they remain accountable.

Perhaps you want to lose weight and you’re struggling to do it alone so you join weight loss group. You might be a writer who is struggling to make time to write so you join an online weekly writing group. Both of these types of groups can be created and attended for free.

However, when it comes to losing weight many people choose to pay to join a group like Weight Watchers. Or perhaps they pay to join a gym or a particular fitness class. The group provides a community of like minded people and the fact that you pay makes you more likely to commit because now you have something to lose.

If you’re paying a certain amount every month or every week and you ignore the meal plans, don’t exercise and continue with a diet full of processed, sugary, high fat and high salt foods then you’ve just wasted your money.

With writing perhaps you pay to attend a writing group where you sit and write for an hour or 2 each week. The purpose of the group is to work on your writing separately but for many it feels easier together. Of course you wouldn’t be reliant on the group to get all your writing done however if the group also involves sharing writing progress made throughtout the week it gives you an incentive to something done between meetings.

From the outside some people may not see the value in joining these kinds of groups, perhaps because they don’t need to but I think if it works then it’s worth it.

Good and bad writing days

The writing process is just a stream of thought that I lock into for long enough to pour out a hundred words or so.

Gemm 2019

On a good day the words just flow, I don’t have to try and I don’t have to sit and hope that something interesting comes to mind.

But on other days it’s a little more challenging.

It feels like there is a blockage or resistance, the words come to me with much less ease. It’s not about self-expression or inspiration, it’s about getting it done.

I’ve taught myself to write on both days. It’s become less about good and bad writing days (and potentially giving in to writers block), instead it’s about accepting that some writing days will be easier than others.

A writers growth

Looking through drafts is a great way to observe your growth as a writer. Many time you come across things your current self would never write and so you press delete. Other times you come across good ideas that are poorly written out and you then have the option to just delete them and start over or to tend to them with a fresh perspective.

I believe that most writers drafts or deleted content far outweighs what they’re shared and put out into the world.

It’s quite obvious that the things that get deleted aren’t considered worth sharing. Perhaps, it had been in your drafts for a few months or even years but every time you went back to it, you didn’t really like it enough to work on it a little more and complete it. Maybe it just wasn’t a good idea, it happens and it’s perfectly okay.

Then, there are the drafts.

There are days when you write, write and write some more. This results in an influx of ideas and some of these ideas are ‘microwavable’ whilst others are more like seeds.

The ‘microwave’ ideas don’t take much time to be brought to life. They’re not necessarily instant but if you set a little time to work on them you can finish them fairly easily. They don’t stay drafts for long.

Then there are the ideas that are like seedlings, these ones require time, care and attention. They can’t be rushed and if if you ever try to hurry them along, you’ll never be happy with the result. But if you’re willing to have patience these ideas will flourish when they finally come alive in all their glory.