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.


jem said…
I've been thinking a lot about maps lately - they are a concept I often come back to, but I'm trying to pick the fascination apart a bit more and see if they hold clues to structures or ideas I can use in my writing.

Your post and the link to Shaun's wonderful maps has thrown another dimension into the mix - and one that I want to play with!
Lynne Rees said…
Hi Jem - do you know the book 'Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer' by Peter Turchi. I'm sure you'll love it.

I'm really looking forward to using Sean's Art Gallery map.
L x
Anonymous said…
Exactly fifty years ago today two young boys from our estate died in a fire. There is nothing on the internet about that terrible accident. I don't know why that should be. It was a Monday like today and the famous snows of that year were about to fall. I remember one of those boys and I often think about him.

I enjoy your site despite being a vegan with no interest in cooking or novels. It is a long time since I left Sandfieds but I think about the place every day.
Lynne Rees said…
Thanks so much for posting. And for your kind words about the blog. When I'm next back in Port Talbot I'll check the newspaper archives at Port Talbot library for the two little boys who died.

I remember the snow of 1963, have a strong memory of looking out of the front room window onto Chrome Avenue.
Anonymous said…
Hi Lynne

Michael, the boy I remember, lived in Chrome Avenue. I lived in Marine Drive.
Lynne Rees said…
I'll ask Mam and Dad if they remember. They still live in the same house. Thanks.
jem said…
Hi Lynne - I've had the Turchi book on a wishlist for years - have just ordered it though - time to actually read the things I'm longing to read. Also I treated myself to a set of Sean's Maps - they are lovely - can't wait to get using them. I'm browsing Harmon's 'You are Here' at the moment which is wonderful too.
Lynne Rees said…
I didn't know about the Harmon book. Thanks, Jem! I'm in a similar situation at the moment - catching up on reading after being glued to a single project for 16 months.