Stuck, again? Read, again. Write, again. Right, again!

Everyone writes in different ways, at different speeds and with – at times – different motivation.

I am the type of writer who, once I begin something, fly at it. I tend to overwrite. I tend to get too emotionally involved in my characterisation and what I call the story. In other words, I get lost, lost in my own creation.

This is all wonderful, of course, and paints a typical picture of an artist immersed in their craft.

All wonderful until you’re stuck, stuck again, looking through that perspex at images of yourself at work, images of the intensity of the writing, images of the nice glass of wine or a quiet walk or a good movie or a long sleep when the story is written. Lovely.

But when you’re teeming with ideas and words the images of writing in action become unreachable, unobtainable.

I’ve found a solution.

No magic formula but something I’ve found – again, and again – that works for me.

I let go. I let the notion of writing go.

I have not added a word to one of my stories in about three or four days. I’ve had to let go.

And last night I dreamt. Dreamt of which unfinished piece of writing I need to return to. And suddenly I can see myself. Visualise myself writing. Again.

Stuck, again?

Let go. Read. Dream.

And write again.

Right, again.

Let go and it will come to you.

Cinnamon and Indulgence

I’ve been fairly stressed recently: a busy time in the university, preparing a young boy for school who veers between wanting to and not wanting to go, writing and thinking as much as I can. And I’d sort of stopped the writing in a very conscious block because things weren’t moving the way I had envisaged them and this worried me.


So today, when I came home from work I decided I wouldn’t look at any type of page or screen. I would look into the distance, focus on the far and not the near. Look at the rain falling on the marigolds; look at the grass glistening, even greener still.

I stood like that for a few seconds not really thinking at all, just looking.

And then feeling my hands twitch I knew I needed to bake. Cinnamon Rolls. Easy cinnamon rolls.

Here they are ready to go into the oven.

Baking and writing go hand in hand together. This is not something new. (I’m thinking of the writer Laura Esquival here). Yet the simple task of working the cold butter into the floury mixture renewed my energy and thoughts, or more precisely, images from a story I’ve been working on started springing to mind.

The man, I thought, doesn’t like the large supermarket because the cashiers keep asking him for the recognition card. The man, I thought, makes a big deal out of this on his first meeting with this girl.

And as I kneaded the dough I saw what he was wearing. A denim jacket, new, pressed with buttons that shine.

And as I rolled the dough out I saw them, the man and the woman meet. The shy smile. Dollops of red appearing in her face, a tad embarrassed. She’d had a dream, you see, about him, you see, the night before. She could hardly look him in the eye for remembering her dream.

And I know, now, that the block has gone, right into those rolls.

And the scent of the cinnamon spreading through the house makes me think of how indulgent this baking is, how very sensual and tempting and downright simple.

So here’s the recipe on my yummy page. I’d love to hear how you get on.

One fine indulgent cinnamon roll



Old habits die hard and new ones are born alongside them. With a young family it’s difficult to manage this in-between time – neither quite holidays nor school-going time; it’s tricky to ‘slot’ onself back into the autumnal comfort of late night writing, listening to the wind or the rain or the rustle of leaves.

I’m looking forward to that, actually, and I think it must be something to do with the time of year I was born (autumn) or maybe it’s the secret hope that when the schools return we’ll have an Indian summer and the sneak peek of sun will bring smiles again.

Went to the market at Castletown in Celbridge today where we listened to some music and wandered around the West Wing, the stables now market stalls. Walked through fields and shivered slightly despite the bright light and blue sky. Summer, I thought, hasn’t quite gone but is on its way out. Everyone is getting that little bit tireder, the sense of hibernation is starting to kick in.

With that sense of the opportunity to hide away, permission to fall into words or pictures or the lick of a flame, ideas are starting to ping for my next novel. I need to slow myself down, though, to finish the edit of the my current one, to let that edit sit. Indeed, to let the season end by itself and not to rush it.

This in-between time is a whirl of activity and with it the ideas. My solution: get going on those notebooks but keep the head on the current work. Easier, as with everything, said than done. But I’m still trying….