Pre-Meditated Poetry vs. Poetry of Passion

So how’s everyone doing in quarantine? Run out of films to watch or books to read? Eaten a housemate? No, of course things aren’t that bad yet. Netflix is infinite, books are plentiful, and your housemate won’t fit in your oven. But, there is plenty of time for catching up on tasks around the house. Plenty of time for writing. Plenty of time to pay some attention to my neglected blog.

 

I do poetry quite regularly now. Not instead of prose; that still gets its 5000 words a week (occasionally I even send work off to agents or competitions; I just don’t advertise the fact). Performing poetry means a lot of my media posts now are about poetry, especially since I’ve got some poetry friends to tweet and twitter with. Also, pictures of me on a stage gesticulating by a microphone make for better Tweets than wrote more words today:

 

Chatting with other poets, I’ve come to realise that my poetry-writing process might be a bit different to the norm – though not, I suspect, different to the process of a prose writer. You see, at the poetry nights I go to, most poets have fresh material every month: new bits of verse about things they’ve done or seen, or feelings they’ve had. I will listen, sifting through my Kindle for anything I might not have read out yet, coming up short. I think my poems might have a longer gestation period than others.

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Trophy Rack 2019: All the Books I Read

As well you know if you’re a returning reader of this blog, I make a note of every book I read. It’s a hallowed, time-honoured tradition that I started last year eons ago. When I first started, I found that watching that list get longer and longer inspired me to read more books, to increase the size of my tally.

 

I also found I read more widely. I tried a few non-horror fantasies and dramas, and I liked broadening my reading-range and picking up some ideas along the way. I’ve actually started something this year; every payday I stroll to the bookshop* and get myself a new book – usually by someone I’ve not heard of, and purely based on the title, cover and blurb. Cos if you don’t judge a book by its cover, you’re lying.
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All Write Now II: More Great Writing Music

Three years ago I wrote about the kind of music I like to stick on when I’m writing. A good bit of music can be inspirational and atmospheric, helping you to sink into a creative state of mind. And if you’re writing in public, it can also help to block out the sounds of wailing infants and tradesmen ordering lattes.

I still listen to the music I lauded in my last blog post but, in the three years since I wrote my first list, I’ve added a few more albums to my arsenal. It’s good to have a few options for writing music as I find that as you get too familiar with something, you start engaging with it more and waiting for your favourite bits. And when you’re engaging too much with the music, you aren’t engaging enough with your writing.

So here’s a few more ideas to help channel your thoughts and block out the family argument at the next door table. Read More

From Childhood’s Hour: Early Influences on My Writing

What makes any of us what we are? I think most people – myself included – reckon it’s a combination of nature and nurture. That is, what we are naturally, and what we learn from others and from our experience.

Our tastes in things – the days out we like to go on, the kinds of people we like to hang out with, the kind of books we like to read – these are all influenced by the way we are as well as the things we’ve experienced. And we can zoom in to examine what influences inspire an author to writing.

I like writing about all things dark, fantastical and horrifying – you can read my books about witches, folksy cults and haunted carnivals for yourself. I’m pretty sure the groundwork for my interest in horror was laid from an early age. Here’s a few memories that I think may have been the most resonant.
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Where to Write in Brighton

I think I’ve mentioned before that I prefer writing in public. Because I’m actively going out to write, it helps to define my time as writing time, and it gives me a sense of urgency. As in: I need to finish this chapter before they noticed I finished my coffee forty minutes ago.

I do the bulk of my writing before I go to my day job, so I’m usually doing my thing between 0700 and 0830 in the morning. So when I take you on my tour of my regular haunts, remember that I’m not exactly going peak time here. My opinions are based on this.

I’m going to rate these establishments on a few criteria. ♥ are out of five:

Ambience and Décor – how the place looks and feels. ♥♥♥♥♥ = luxury; ♥ = shithole

Noise – pretty important to a trying-to-concentrate writer. ♥♥♥♥♥ = silent; ♥ = squealing baby nursery

Coffee value – incorporating cost and quality of said libation. ♥♥♥♥♥ = 50p for a large Americano with one of those little biscuits on the side; ♥ = £5 for a chipped mug of instant

Without further ado, let’s take a tour.
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