“I can’t draw a straight line”

Many people say “I can’t draw a straight line” – this is a great starting point, because there are very few in nature (except the horizon).  Have you tried the freedom of collage?

Watch Rebecca Maloney collage a landscape, from a few lightly pencilled guide marks, using coloured paper from magazines.  And yes, she makes it wonderful because she is a skilled artist – but I bet this is not her first attempt.  What would yours look like?  If you can cover a whole piece of paper or canvas on board – have fun and give yourself a cheer when you complete.  You have created.

More on Collage

If you’d like to experiment more with collage, you’ll find many articles and videos on that subject on this blog.  Just type “collage” into the search box.  Enjoy!




Stephen Roach: Writing on the road

Stephen Roach, lyric writer for “Songs of Water” wrote about creativity on his blog “Words that Bloom” as he was on the road in Australia:

Creativity begins in rest,
in a moment outside of moments,
in a place where we may pause and reflect
on what has been and what is to be
or perhaps upon that which has escaped the entire notion of being.

We become an observer peering over the shoulder of our own bustling life.
But do we recognize her in the magnificence of this disentangled, free-verse prose?
Creativity is never hurried, for it perceives time in a manner much different than 
the persistent ticking of wrist watches and on-time departures.
It knows her as a mother knows her child.

And if we are able to slip through the cracks of what must-be-done 
and slow ourselves to the pace of eternity’s un-rushed sprawl, 
we might glimpse ourselves in a way heaven has drawn us all along 
– a bouquet of luminesce echoes-
From here, we can enter in again to the movement and the must-be-done 
with a washed countenance, 
a baptized habitation. “

Poetry Writing 101 Hands-on

Reader, if you are a wouldbe poetry writer, then get your hands on this book “Writing Poetry” by W N Herbert.  It’s like having a writing tutor patiently helping you – because that’s exactly what is happening – its writer is Bill Herbert, Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at Newcastle University.

dictionary meaning of spondulicks

Please do take that book token Christmas present, or lean over your local library counter and demand that they order it, or borrow the spondulicks from a pal, to buy this instantly useful and enjoyable book.  

Whether you are a beginner, near beginner or have written a couple of hundred poems but still feel like you’re at the start of a writing apprenticeship – this book takes you through the process of developing the skills/craft and – more difficult to explain – the feel for, writing poetry.



advice on starting a blog, at

“I’m thinking of starting a blog….” 11 tips

A friend of mine is considering beginning a blog, so I passed on some tips for the warmup lap, so to speak:

“As with all of my advice, it is unsought, possibly unwanted and unnecessary, but it comforts me to distribute it.

I am a bit of a natural teacher/preacher.  And of course it is entirely possible to be a naturally bad teacher – all’s I’m saying is that the impulse to pass on info is there.

You are in the pre-launch era.

But you can start straightaway with gathering content – your words, your pictures

You can never have too much.

It becomes like a library so that you are never beginning with a blank screen, a blank page and a blank mind.

Write down somewhere your ideas for topics – develop them as much as possible.  It’s useful to have a phrase, it’s better to have 100 words already written.

Collect snippets you’ve written to friends or others which can be seeds of longer articles

Every now and then do word searches on the internet – or just potter around – and find interesting articles or topics – immediately bookmark them so you can find them later

Potter through your photos, pulling out ones you like, putting them into a folder you can draw on

Go to youtube and search for videos on your subject area – bookmark these

Physical resources: get a box file (preferably in some pattern or colour that makes your heart sing) and keep throwing into it articles in magazines, papers which are of interest (you obviously research updates on what is in them, at the time of writing, so the info is current).

The choices of theme/layout are immense and bewildering – as you potter around other people’s blogs, worth keeping an eye out for features you like on a blog page, or even a whole page layout which you would like to emulate.  Note these down.  Then when you’re faced with a thousand choices of layout, you will have your guidelines to help.

Is there a trade show or exhibition on your chosen topic, so you can visit it and include in your blog/instagram?  Practice blogging it.  Do you have the tools you need to blog?  Or is there some tools you can buy to help you work easily on the trot?

Have fun with making content.  Know that it will take time and won’t earn you money right off the bat.”  

Start listening to podcasts by Problogger

ProBlogger recommended as great resource for starting your own blog, recommended by

Darren Rowse, head of ProBlogger

This can take you step by step through the whole process from the beginning of an idea to monetizing it, with a healthy readership/followership.

*On 10 January 2018, Problogger begins a free course on starting a blog – so if you know someone considering blogging, this is a great time to link in with Problogger.  Details of this course and podcasts on their website.*

It covers all your decisions, and gets experts to advise.

Problogger was begun and still runs via Darren Rowse – an Aussie guy who has got the right mix of warmth and expertise to deliver useful info pleasantly and in that Australian twang that makes it fun.  He is easy to understand and doesn’t use unnecessarily technical language.

He has recorded over 200 brief podcasts (about 20 minutes each) on how to blog well, so far, and counting.  The earliest ones are how to get a blog running well in 30 days.

Confession: I haven’t listened to all his 200 podcasts, but I aim to get through a fair few as time goes on.  The ones I have listened to have taught me a huge amount of what I know.  They’re also amazingly brief and concise – you can learn a great deal just from listening for 20 minutes, making notes and then doing the actions he recommends.

He made it into a major business – but it did take him 12 years to go from beginning, through hobby to part-time then to full-time paid work.  He now employs a team to work for him.

Check out Melyssa Griffin

Advice on Starting your own Blog at Look and get going from the getgo!Melyssa Griffin is a social media phenomenon – she began blogging while also working full-time and frankly found it hard work with little reward.  She also tried some ways of monetizing her blog, without success – so worth hearing her wisdom on that particular area.  Her goal was to earn her living by blogging – and she has accomplished that.

Check her out on Youtube.  Her website will immediately suggest you should be on her emailing list, so approach it with caution.

One of her key insights is that you can use Pinterest as people use it as a search engine – so run a Pinterest page and anytime you write a blog article, create pins from it – this gives yet another place for people to find and engage with your blog content.

Step 2 in beginning to write THAT novel/play/film

Following on from yesterday’s posted video, this one from Steve Pressfield – expands and explains how you write a one page summary of the entire project – and work from that plan.  (Allow 13 mins to watch video).

In this video, Steven shows you how to find the beginning, middle and ending of your story, pick the narrator’s point of view and the theme which will engage your readers. It’s like a road map for the whole project.

Please let me know if you’ve tried this new way of planning out writing – and if it’s helping!


writing notebooks

Never too old to begin writing career


Josephine Corcoran

Read this and share it with anyone who thinks they’ve left it too late to be a published writer.  It’s not!  Never!  Write what is in you to write.

Click on link below to read an entire article by Josephine Corcoran, bursting with stories of writers who began a serious career later, mostly in their 50s – and who are still writing and developing further as writers, today.  There’s a sense of beginning, not ending.

via My started late, stop-start writing “career”

Simon Armitage, poetry, writing, inspiration, tips

Getting Started Writing Poetry as a Career – Simon Armitage

Simon Armitage, a living writing poet, talks about his writing in 2010, and gives practical tips for writing poetry.

“I’ve always been interested in poetry because it’s so powerful: so few words, space on the page, and all around it.  So there’s an intensity there that I admire.”