26 February 2017

Feeding the Creative Well

Some writers can hit a thousand words a day, some a thousand words an hour. Some hit their target before breakfast. Alas, I am and always have been in the first camp. If I can hit a thousand words in a six hour stretch I’ve had a good day.

The problem with this speed of writing is that it leaves very little time to recoup mental resources. Bounding off to the supermarket with a hastily scribbled list, or pulling wet laundry from the machine to dump into the dryer, just doesn’t resharpen the synapses.

So yesterday I had a day in Hull, hitting, as the saying goes, two birds with one stone and seriously feeding my creative well.

Me & a pigeon dwarfed by 'Blade'
2017 is Hull’s City of Culture year. Much of the city's centre has been revamped and in some quarters it continues. However, Ferens Art Gallery has reopened, and just outside it stands, or leans, Blade, a 250ft artwork – or a single wind turbine blade – depending on your view of what constitutes “art”. The structure is certainly impressive up close, and unbelievably tactile. Double decker buses pass effortlessly beneath its tip.

Good ol’ British rain beat us into the Ferens earlier than anticipated. Apart from the city’s own artworks, which include a Sickert and a Canaletto, as part of the celebrations there is currently a series from Francis Bacon’s Screaming Popes,  and a dimmed gallery showing 13th/14thc. religious masterpieces from Lorenzetti and others, including a large and rather fabulous alabaster carving made in northern England in the late 1200s. The juxtaposition of the one with the other certainly lit my own creative juices. Who were the people who..? How did they..? Why was..? What if..?

From there it was a fast lunch and off to the city’s Central Library, the venue for HumberSFF’s first of three Spring Reading and Q&A events in the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror genres. The three authors – BAFTA nominee Jim Hawkins, British Fantasy Award nominee Steven Poore, and ‘Not The Booker Prize’ long-listed Lee Harrison – provided an entertaining and thought-provoking afternoon. Tea & coffee flowed and most people walked out with a couple of donated books from the raffle as well as those purchased from the participating authors.

And everyone left with a smile and a spring in their step, most noticeably me who felt my creative well duly replenished. I can see that this sort of jaunt needs to be a monthly occurrence. Noted on the calendar.

Do you do something specific to replenish your creative well, or do you just slog through?


  1. Both. Up against deadlines sometimes I just have to push through writer's block. However, I have also learned to respond to that "blah" feeling and remember that there might be reasons for it. If I am writing a devotional piece and feel uninspired then I usually need to open my Bible and have some quality time with my Heavenly Father. When I'm writing fiction, writer's block is most easily vanquished by listening to soundtracks and getting excited about writing a story. :)

    1. Thanks for responding, Lora. We all reach out for our muse in different ways. Me? I need total silence to write - or as near as I can get it. The stumbling block is when I can't quieten my mind enough of the everyday fluff to make the unreality real enough to step into. It's a fine line!