Sometimes it is difficult to keep positive. For many writers, it seems as if ideas have dried up in these strange days of fear and isolation. How do you fill your creative well when you are stuck in an on- going moment to moment quest for survival and sanity. Many of my poet friends are talking about their inability to make words work – and I confess I am one of them. For those of us who are struggling in this way, it is disconcerting to hear of others racing ahead with work, completing things, sending them out, getting published. Facebook and Twitter can make you feel very inadequate!

I have a few personal thoughts about this. Firstly, I remind myself that writing or not writing, both are equally valid responses to this situation in which we find ourselves. Much also depends on your usual way of working. I have always been someone who writes about an event or an emotion long after; my poems are never immediate responses. Some of us take longer than others to digest life. It’s ok not to know what to say.

Secondly, I’m trying to lose that feeling that I have to ‘make sense’ of things. I’m gathering fragments without trying to make anything of them. Life feels fragmented, the flow is disrupted by unknowns and upturned expectations. Fragments are ok, I tell myself. Gather them like little pieces of flotsam from the beach. The big project may have been shipwrecked, but not all is lost.

Lastly – writing poetry has become part of who I am. I don’t like to feel that part shriveling in myself, but I remember that I have had fallow periods before and it has always come back, renewed and stronger in me. I need to trust that it will happen again.


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