A Gloom of One’s Own

Inspiration is a funny old thing – one minute it is there slapping you in the face, insisting you write, write and then write some more, next it has disappeared into the ether without a trace and you are left wondering what on earth to write about. And whatever made you (me) think writing for publication was a good idea? The secret is of course, to carry on regardless, ignoring the helpless feeling of being uninspired, and just empty your head onto paper. Messy, I know, but the muse often has a way of creeping back to take a look … Continue reading A Gloom of One’s Own

Filling in the Gaps

Trying to find new ways to say old things can be a bit wearing. In my case, wearing on the old computer keyboard. My laptop was bought with the winnings from a short story competition in…damn, was it really three years ago? Anyway, I’ve worn the face off some of the keys. A R E S T to be precise. I don’t touch-type, but I know my way around a keyboard, so it is no real bother for me. I’m even trying to squeeze a poem out of the scenario, all about naked keys, worn to the bone. I think … Continue reading Filling in the Gaps

Flower Power

I’ve written before about how some of my best ideas for poetry and short stories come to me as I walk the lanes of County Roscommon. These days, an inspiring  walk usually involves me taking an arthritic dog, a pen and paper, and my phone (of course). But while walking, I’m often distracted by having to name wildflowers. And then I have to stop and take photos. Because one or two thousand is never quite enough is it? The naming thing is a bit strange. I have no recollection of learning the names of so many plants, but somehow, plenty of … Continue reading Flower Power

Angelic Ever Afters

I find it difficult to write about my childhood.  Not because of disturbing memories of an unhappy past, but rather because it passed me by in something of a blur, and was relatively uneventful. I realize that to call myself a writer, I should have some agonizing incidents from my formative years to draw on, but the sad truth is, I had a vague, happy childhood. The sun always shone, I played hopscotch with my pals, and on Sundays we ate Angel Delight for afters. Well, maybe it did, maybe I did, maybe we did, the truth is, I really … Continue reading Angelic Ever Afters

In Pursuit of Happiness

What makes me happy? Could it be the same thing that brings a smile to your face?  It’s a trick question really because I have discovered there’s no simple answer. And the older I get, the more confused I become about the nature of happiness and its pursuit. But I do know that this writing lark is something that brings light to my life. And third-party validation is what makes it all worthwhile. The kick from writing something that someone else gets, that moves them, or elicits their approval – well, that’s magic. I have kept a journal for years … Continue reading In Pursuit of Happiness

Imagine that!

One of the best things about being a writer is having free reign with imagination. Writers can create whole worlds – plus all the creatures that live in them.  And they can make up characters and force them do whatever they like. What power! There’s that fridge magnet/bumper sticker that says something like: ‘I’m a writer. Yes, of course you’re going to be in my book. You come to a grizzly end on page 27’. I feel a bit that way at the moment as I’m writing a longer-than-usual short story based on something that’s been going on in my … Continue reading Imagine that!

The Numbers Game

I’ve been crunching numbers over the past few days, trying to figure (excuse the pun) if I should take up a new pastime. This writing lark has cost me a lot of money one way or another (residential poetry masterclasses don’t come cheap), and I’ve managed to crawl to my 100th submission this year. That averages out at less than nine submissions a month, which doesn’t sound too excessive. And included in ‘submissions’ are applications for grants, pitches for freelance articles, and several other writing activities. I enter a lot of free writing competitions (there are a lot about), and  … Continue reading The Numbers Game

Reinventing the Wheel (or not)

I have kept my head down lately, trying to complete some half-finished writing projects, not least because there seems to have been an unusually high number of competitions and submission opportunities this month. I’m still out there, trying my luck with poetry, flash fiction and stories (and wondering if I’ll ever find time to finish my ‘prize-winning’ novel!). Proof that persistence pays off has been publication this month of my poem in literary magazine Skylight 47.   I went down to Galway for the launch with my friend *Jessamine O Connor,  who was representing the Hermit Collective, featured in this edition. We … Continue reading Reinventing the Wheel (or not)

The Writer is ‘In’

You can tell when I’m ‘writing’.  The kitchen floor’s immaculate (yes, really), there are freshly baked scones in the tin, I have washed the car (yes, really), weeded the borders, walked the dog, groomed the cats, spent an hour on Twitter, done four loads of washing, and ironed my way to the bottom of the basket (yes, really). In other words, I’ve put off the dreaded deed until I’ve completed one hundred zillion important chores which simply HAVE to be done before I can park my bum on the chair in front of my computer, and get down the actual … Continue reading The Writer is ‘In’