Skip to main content

Writing maps and writer's block

The inspiration for this post comes from Shaun Levin's Writing Maps. 

I'm beginning to think about other writing projects because I'm close to finishing the MSS for Real Port Talbot. I've overdone the required word count by about 5,000 but I've always found it easier to edit than write so I don't think I'll have a problem whittling away and compressing. 

Once the MSS is with the publisher I'll be free to start something else. But what? I have some vague ideas but nothing concrete and little writing tools like these maps, creative kick-starts to the imagination, are ideal in uncovering what's lurking in my subconscious as well as the dark and dusty places of my conscious mind.

I took a tour around my kitchen today (one of the maps is called Write Around the House), taking photos at random so I can use them as prompts later. 

Colours are good: brainstorming around them taps into all kinds of memories.

And time. The time spent in different rooms. Or the passage of it. When it seems to stand still. 

The clock above came from the kitchen of the house in France. It's only just over a year since we moved back but already it seems rather dreamlike. Five years that have shrunk into a memory that feels like the size of a clementine, small enough to hold in my hand. How can time do that? 

What are the occasions when time really slows down? When I'm eating something exquisite, something I don't want to end, time doesn't seem to move at all.

I don't believe in writer's block. There's not wanting to write. Or not being happy with what we've written. But we can always write about something.

Hungry writing prompts

  • Write about the map of your life.
  • Write about the colour blue.
  • Write about being late.
  • Write about holding something in your hand.
  • Write about what stops you from doing things.

Popular posts from this blog

Pie, pie glorious pie

So often when we talk about food we are talking about family. In fact that was how the hungry writer blog began, nearly six years ago: weekly memories or life stories linked by the theme of food. Food is nurture and love. It can be celebration and anxiety too. It can also be a battleground, as the parents of young children know so intimately! Which is rather a satisfying segue into the family featuring in this week's blogpost: The Radfords. Because if anyone understands the feeding of children, really, really understands, it has to be Sue Radford who, with her husband, Noel, has 19 children. You can read about the family on their website but don't rush off yet as what I really want to talk about is pie. And specifically Radford's pies.
Noel Radford has been a baker for 25 years and opened his own bakery in 1999 in Heysham, Lancashire and makes pies with locally sourced ingredients. That, along with his skill as a master baker, means that the pictures of the 'filled to t…

Eat, laugh, cry, remember: Baked Camembert

Once, on a holiday in Malta, I dressed Tony up in my gypsy skirt and stretchy white vest, used two satsumas for breasts and made up his eyes and lips with the brightest colours I had with me. Then I took a photograph. He didn’t seem to mind, in fact he seemed quite tickled by the fuss and attention to detail, but the quantity of rosé we’d shared at Snoopy’s restaurant on the seafront in Sliema earlier in the evening might have had something to do with that.

This was 1988. There were no digital cameras for instant viewing (and, praise be, instant deletion). The only instant photographs at the time came courtesy of Polaroid, with their packages of square film and box-like cameras, and slid out of the front of the machine on shiny thick card that everyone huddled over and watched develop. But they tended to be party cameras, appearing at Christmas, birthdays, engagements. You captured your holiday photos on a proper camera, one you had to load and feed film into, then unload and drop off…

The Mythic Biscuit: Oreos

My childhood biscuits were mainly plain but had lovely names: Marie, Nice, Rich Tea. Quiet biscuits. The kind of biscuits that would never interrupt a conversation. Polite, not pushy. At the other end of the spectrum, and only irregularly present, probably a result of practical economics, were cheeky Jammy Dodgers, irritable Garibaldis, and self-contented and reliable Bourbons. And even more irregularly, the flashy inhabitants of a Christmas Box of Biscuits: Pink Wafers. I ate them at the same time as not liking them very much, a bit like Miss World Contestants in sparkly dresses, too much eye make-up and a saccharine idea of world peace. 
I'm in the mood to think, and personify, 'biscuits' because the lovely team at Oreo sent me some samples of their new Oreo Thins. I hadn't heard of Oreos until the early 1990s when a friend asked if I would bring him back a packet from a Florida holiday. I forgot and pretended I couldn't find them. 'But they're everywher…