Writer’s Block, Burn-Outs

Writer’s Block, Burn-Outs

black vintage typewriter

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A “slump”,  “gone-dry”, utterly “lost”, it’s the legendary writer’s block syndrome and it’s  tough on a person. Truly, catastrophic  to burn-out for one accustomed to snappy sentences, witty scenes, or a floe of paragraphs enough to fill a sizable  frozen sea.

Almost all of my activities have this phenomenon to pop up.  The fine print should read: “Does Not include chocolate or coffee consumption.”

No answers here. I expect a block. I try (sorry ,Yoda) to keep a few simultaneous works-in-progress (W.I.P.) as part of my monthly plan. Or, if I get “off track” I schedule a three-day calendar check-in as a reminder to me, “you reported a writing outage on the 9th—how’s that going?” I’ll try anything to help get me out of a rut. Call it what it is. 

Minds rebel against the “same-old-same-old” so creative activities demand a lot of us as dancers, as composers, as visual artists, and as writers. 

My W.I.P’s can be similar in form, for instance,  I may write short-stories, but different genres, poetry, but sonnets,  and limericks. I think writing essays helps as a ‘block-breaker’. 

Moderation, for me, is the order of the day with all counter-measures taken for the dreaded becalmed writer. Walking, but a small one, a movie, but one, I avoid bingeing to avoid yet another rut.

Then, the “hair of the dog” treatment, sometimes works:   the mechanical work from brain to keypads or pens, the scratch of the paper, or the brassy  ‘ding’ of a typewriter bell can put me back in writing trim. It’s a “shock” to action on a small scale.

I know I rely on my ‘sub-conscious’ mind for some of my writing, but I find a little help from personal diversions,  some planning, also being kind to myself, and having alternatives helps me to reduce the lag-time between the last paragraph I completed, before full-block, and when I start anew.

Happy writing,

Write Until I Think I Might Perish


Writing transforms the writer.  Those who try to write do so at great peril and even perhaps severe loss. Each fills in their own examples of  “peril” or definitions of “loss”.  Writing has costs associated with the endeavor.  It always has for me.

By analogy, I enjoy community and college theatre. If the company of players can get me into a seat and help me to transform creaky props and a good story into a romp of my imagination I feel such kindredness with them. I want others to feel that when I write.  I try to accomplish a story that will do the same for the reader as the actors did for me.  Change the imaginary whilst in the ordinary world through words.

I have been changed over the long hours at the keyboard or on the typewriter by the process I do to make a story (writing).  I must renew my relationship with the narrative right up to where I left off work because I am romping through my imagination. That, for me, takes a practical process. I think writers figure out their process  that uses builds with the nuts and bolts of the story becoming a relatable coherent progression—beginning to end.  The challenges are near. Fatigue and frustration hit first.

Even though I have typed “imagination”, “story”, and hinted at the mental/brain orienting goal of story, this writing activity is real. There is real pain, also joy, exhilaration, and horrors to encounter as I go along. 

I can leave a piece on a jump-drive, sequestered to a notebook, or I leave it at a bus stop. It will not be a story until I finish it. Until it transforms me. And we finally become one. This is working through the frustration and fatigue, the joy, anything that might de-rail the writing. No matter my critics or my self-doubt I write until I think I might perish. Of course, I know, mainly, I will not die.

I am reminded that chocolate-chip cookie batter looks horrid in the bowl. When baked and golden brown with melty chips it was worth the process. It was also ignoring myself saying, “This is a hot mess.”

There is no story until I finish. It may not be what an editor wants. The critic may have myriad reasons to hang it out to dry. 

It is still a story because someone wrote it.

What? You thought you were going to get rich? 

To do that do something else and take a direct approach to wealth.

I want to write. I cannot do otherwise.

I want the feeling of kindredness, the infatuation with the story, the processes of writing, of making strung-together words in a similar way as I will mix up a batch of self-made cookies.

Because I made them.


The Writer is Doing the Writing

I may break three rules when I write a piece, I try never to break another rule after that because that is simply sloppy work.

I had to determine how to do the writing task and to go beyond sounding like I was doing a school assignment.

A certain amount of freedom is taken so I may find my way of expression that still makes some sense to the reader and to me.

Then I must do the work. Being afraid of making a mistake is the biggest mistake I ever made.

Use mistakes for fuel to write better with the authentic you in the sentences, put yourself in there with something transformative to say.

c. Lemuel

09 June 2018

Virus Attacks, a Cascade Poem


They hacked, and they coughed, and they sniffled

poor Ann was caught square in the middle

with a temperature over ninety-eight point one

and fever, the chills, and aches down to the bone.


Ann got shots and sprayed loads disinfectants

took vitamins to ward off wayward infections

along with rigorous work-outs at the gym where

they hacked, and they coughed, and they sniffled.


She blitzed every bug and disease and infection

with clean eating and sanitizing perfection

if magnets may work she’d employ them but

poor Ann was caught square in the middle.


Then, that night Ann began to feel quite queasy

endless coughing, hacking, and loud sneezing

her tissues gave out, the last aspirin was gone,

with a temperature over ninety-eight point one.


Ann sees the world though blurred weepy pink eyes

so she called in “sick”, but her boss gave her a surprise

Can she take five or six conference calls at home?

and fever, the chills, and aches down to the bone.



15 April, 2018


NaPoWriMo 2018


National Poetry Writing Month 2018



Cascade poetic form

A form invented by Udit Bhatia. I’d like to find out more about the poet. In Cascade poems the poet uses each line from the first stanza of a poem and echoes those lines in the final lines of each stanza afterward. Beyond that, there are no additional rules for much else poem-wise.

I made a poem with four lines. At first the lines just sat on the page. After a little while it worked out (I think, maybe, not so much.) Some claim a rhyming pattern of (ABC deA fgB hiC ) after saying there is not a rhyming pattern. My poem has rhyming. I get it.






NaPoWriMo 2018, My View

NaPoWriMo 2018 banner 2


I make poems and I love a good story.

As with many writing-type people I like to start crafting a poem with an idea, a feeling, or even a title. I truly appreciate the writing prompts or the suggestions being the sort that makes a shared challenge all the more enjoyable. Knowing others are struggling with or breezing through the daily prompt or challenge makes me smile inwardly somehow.

If it is competition, then it’s the good kind; that brings out the best I can make; the funniest, the most somber, the largest word discard pile ever, maybe, even doggerel all of which I have produced with pixel, pencil, and pen.

The number one reason for my first time at participating in NaPoWriMo is learning something new. So, my own challenge is to practice a new or different poetic form with each poem of the month—I don’t think I’ll run out by day thirty. That’s my personal goal for National Poetry Writing Month 2018. I am knocked out by such a great idea like this annual ‘get-together’ to focus on a form of communication as old as civilization, perhaps much, much older.

Ancient cave paintings I think were our first cinemas. Dark places where a little light means so much, sequestered in mystery, how many stories were told there in the flickering lights, moving depictions, imagination sparked from real-life actions, or dreams hoped for etched and painted on magical walls.

We supply the emotion. The poems are our launch pads our magical walls. The prompts offer words and the poets distill them to their essence.

The word-pictures tell about our world, poems release us from the mundane or help us to see it in a new light, or even cast a shadow for contrast and new interest.

When we sleep at night we swim in a shared ocean and watch the cinema of the human mind, both deep immersion.


© Lemuel

14 April, 2018






4 a.m. Sharp Saxophone Solo


4 a.m. Sharp Saxophone Solo


That morning at 4 a.m. sharp my neighbor

across the alley on the sixth floor played

his saxophone on the fire escape. Mournful,

inventive; soothed the hung-over blues,

smoothed the pre-coffee fog

morning serenade “Equinox”.

I cannot sleep through that jazz saxophone solo.

I hit the bed early, set my clock for 3:45 a.m. Awake

in the darkness I made coffee, put on my funky robe.

I think everyone alley-side did the same. Took up

our perches for some notes to tickle our ear-holes.

It was like anticipating Christmas, butterflies and

prickles electric on my skin melodious saxophone

plays, “Billie’s Bounce”, energized my day. People

talked in the stairs and on the sidewalk for months.

I cannot sleep through that jazz saxophone solo.

“Break those keys, man”, he was hot coffee in my mug,

slippers picking out steps, fuzzy robe floats, me ready to face my day.

The clock reads 4:05 a.m. and all I hear is sirens, car horns,

all I see is people in their windows, on the fire escapes —  no tunes, “Did he move?”

I caught up with the sax man, “Ah, man, I got a second job.”

“Please, just a little more” early morning rapture, but there was no more sweetness.

I cannot sleep (he’s) through (with) that jazz saxophone solo.



3 April 2018

NaPoWriMo 2018


Bop poetic form

  • 3 stanzas followed by a refrain
  • stanza 1 is 6 lines long and outlines a problem
  • stanza 2 is 8 lines long and expands the problem further
  • stanza 3 is 6 lines long and either gives a solution to the problem or records the failed attempt to resolve the problem

Thank you Afaa Michael Weaver.

Getting Over Mondays, the Internet, and Myself


If from the year I would all Mondays delete–

just wipe them off the list of days,

deplete, so there is one less day in every week.

Mondays are the worst in so many ways,

And think of the time I would save.


If I remove the days it rained

and there was no parade;

a lot of time would be missing

of this I am quite afraid,

But think of the time I have saved.


When chores intrude and things I hate to do

come up, why, I’d chop off all those days too.

Annoying long queues, mosquito bites, tangles in my hair

snap my fingers; be gone, with what makes me sadly despair,

And think of the time I have saved.


My peeves both pet and feral are gone, so banished,

peace is comfy, alone, all troubles have vanished.

If I disconnect my door bell, sign off the internet–

oh, how nice every pip and complaint evaporate,

And think of the time I have saved.


Instead, though, I can share, give some big shining grins,

and much love– and ease the daily suffering and pain:

Even if it’s on a dreaded Monday,  with rain—

it’s not theoretical, if not now, then when?

But think of the joy I have made.


This new thinking, a new life that makes me free;

I’m over my pre-occupation with me.

I am aware of myriad others,

they are all my sisters and my brothers;

their troubles are all mine too, the way I see–

And think of the help I can make.



14 April 2018, copyright

Daily Prompt


Worship, An Abstract Poem



Murmur titanic gravitation tidal blood.

Arc cosmos, hues rave, slip time mark.

Infinity cast to drift ablaze.

Pendulum technicalities epiphany,

enlightened darkness:

mute solstice sentinel, ferocious waves erupt.

Colliding, becoming, hollow streaming,

collapsing echo, transcend crescendo–

destroying renewed exultation.

Mixing dynamic pedigree prostrate fall

ancient chant code delving

universe in awe releasing,






© Lemuel

14 April, 2018



Abstract poetic form

The term was created by Dame Edith Sitwell and used to great effect by David Bowie. Poetry relating or emphasising the sound of the combined words, conveying tone, appealing to feeling, non-concrete while harnessing and projecting the power of the constructed words as assembled. Well, that’s my take is all I’m saying.

NaPoWriMo 2018