I Can’t Write Anymore

The title of this post may sound brutal but, then, the title isn’t exactly true either. Yet it is what I have been telling myself pretty frequently over the last couple of months.
Usually, it involves looking at an empty page, flinging my arms skyward, cursing, before exclaiming “I can’t write anymore”, “I’ve lost the words” or something similar.
During this time I’ve only written two poems and I wrote hardly anything poetic during September. Well, I wrote one poem during the month but at most no matter how many times I read it I could only categorise it as inoffensive. I can’t feel any more enthusiastic about the words than that. My response to my own work is lukewarm. I apocalyptically opine that I have been deserted by my Muse. Though I occasionally think I can hear her laughing behind my back as I stare at the flashing cursor on the naked flesh of the computer screen.
But then this is what I do. I always used to resent the time I spent writing poetry while I was trying to keep up my daily word count in my fiction writing. It took me a while to accept that I needed to have the creative escape hatch of writing a poem unconnected to the story universe I was writing in while I figured out the problems within the fiction. Sometimes though I used to write a poem connected to the fiction, cementing the atmosphere of a story location in my mind or allowing a character a chance to express themselves outside the restrictive form of sentences, paragraphs and chapters.
But still, in my mind, it was only sentences, paragraphs and chapters that mattered when it came to word count. And a lack of word count was one of my favourite things to beat myself up with as a writer.
To that end can writers not share on social media messages such as “… written 5k words today, best day ever whoop, whoop… ” or complaining “… 11 am and have only written three chapters so far today… ”. Because I can’t relate with that, the more relatable message for me would be “… really pleased, with today’s score Chocolate Biscuits eaten 7, Words Written 8 …”. That’s the sort of message that resonates with me.
Yes, I’m very happy with the chapters that I have managed to write during September and October. I’m especially pleased with the opening sentence of one particular chapter …

… yet I stress myself over my lack of output when I need to look at my creativity more holistically.
I know I need to be kind to myself, yes quite a lot of the time my creativity, the poetry especially, comes out of the stresses and anxieties within my life. But if I focus too much on the negatives I risk shutting out all the other avenues of creativity for occasionally I write about sunlight and warm feelings. Too much darkness will only lead me into a dead-end of zero creation. Word-count is not my friend because I know I need time away from one creative coal-face occasionally to recharge my batteries. And finally if I wake up in the morning and write five-hundred words relating to a completely separate project in a storm of creativity that is because that is the strand of my subconscious that wants to communicate at that moment, I shouldn’t try to silence it and having ideas on one topic can lead to more ideas in time on other projects as long as I am patient with myself, because I need to make-believe. And I need chocolate biscuits too but that is a separate story.

© 2019 | Frank Regan, All rights reserved.

Optimism (Or How I Wrote A Book)

photo credit: eflon via photopin (license)

I released my first book Wreckage (e-book available for only 99c/99p) this year and fulfilling a long term goal has had a big effect on how I view myself and the world around. Yes the birds have always sung up in the trees it is just that I’m more likely to take notice of them now.

Those of you who have been reading my blog a long time will realise that I didn’t just wake up on 1 January 2017 with a sore head and a burning desire to write a poetry book.

Truth is before I started this blog nearly four years ago, I would not have considered writing a poetry book, a book yes but poetry. The reality is even lifelong goals/dreams change over time. Life dreams should be malleable after all moulded by the dreamer, a lived in experience.

And as I’ve had a thing for the number 17 for years the fact that it read ’17 on the calendar did give a once in a lifetime impulse to completing the project within the calendar year, but I also feel it is a beginning not an end. Because I know there are more projects to follow and they don’t need omens and lucky charms to make them happen. Just hard work.

But that is the secret when you have something that you are passionate about it does not seem like hard work. And the inevitable downs of life are easier to cope with. In fact the year is potentially ending on a decidedly flat note. However I can’t view this difficulty in anything like the sombre tones that I would have in the past. Because for me there is a symbiotic relationship between what happens on the creative side and the rest of it. All of the ghastly grey that would have in the past overwhelmed me.

The “grey” still exists as it does for everyone but now I appear to be developing a better handle on the proper context it should exist in. It’s a work-in-progress but there’s a definite framework and foundation, something to build on.

What comes next is 2018, completing a novel draft, more poetry, continuing studying for an English Literature Degree  and continuing to drop into the conversation whenever I can the fact that I’ve written a book (also available in paperback).


© 2017 | Frank Regan, All rights reserved.

Where did it All Go Wrong?

Older doesn’t necessarily mean wiser

Gruesomeness Warning (Clicking on the Link Reveals a Colour Picture of the Adult Me)   

Here we are as promised my poetry collection has been published and is available via Amazon for Kindle and as a paperback. I am really pleased with the look of the Kindle version and the mere existence of a physical book I have written, though it does feel a little like an out-of-body experience holding a book filled with my own words. I would describe it as pleasantly freaky!

Anyway here is a link to the book Wreckage hope you enjoy it.

Thank you all for your kind words and support on the blog over the last three and a bit years I really wouldn’t have wanted to do it without you all.

© 2017 | Frank Regan, All rights reserved.

Alchemical Reactivity


© 2017 | Frank Regan, All rights reserved.

It is fitting that I came across this old blog post (originally posted 18 May 2015) now just as I am releasing my first poetry collection. As it was the first announcement on the blog of that goal. Back then I believed I’d have it released before the end of 2015 and I also intended to have some short stories included in the collection too – well both the timescale and the structure have morphed over time.

Part of the reason it changed and became all poetry was the vain hope that once I’d completed it I would have got all this poetry/feelings nonsense out of my system. A vain hope indeed – despite my continued assertion that ‘I am not a poet. I am a human being’.

It has taken so long either due to perfection or anal retentiveness. I’ll leave it to others to decide which of those two is the most dominant trait in my personality.

What I can say is back many years ago when I first thought one day I will write a book I intended to dedicate it to  ‘The Detractors, Doubters and Critics’ with the epithet ‘Fuck You’. But what I have come to realise was that the No. 1 detractor and critic of my work was me myself.

So the book’s dedication is now a far more positive statement and directed to a far worthier group of people. Because in the end the self-criticism was self-defeating and my harshest critics out in the real world are not the audience this collection is intended for. Because whether this shifts one copy or a million I am proud of my work. It is not perfect, but then it does not have to be.


Now here is the original post Ode to Ode Writing from way back in 2015:

Ode to Ode Writing

I am not a poet

I’ve decided to put together a collection of stories and poems; hopefully it’ll be ready to go some time later this year. But that is not the point of this post.

The real point is, when did I succumb to this poem writing infection and even to start aspiring to be a poet.

It’s kind of embarrassing isn’t it, this feelings malarkey, if I am writing fiction I at least get to put all the slushy stuff in the mouths of a character. Poetry doesn’t allow me that luxury, most of the time. The majority of the poems I have written, appear to me, as honest reflections of who I am.

I was originally going to call this post “Bungee Jumping” but I’m not sure there is a rope attached to my legs when I ready myself, pen in hand, to jump into the abyss.

Scary isn’t it?


© 2017 | Frank Regan, All rights reserved.




photo credit: rsmithing Amor Electrica via photopin (license)

photo credit: rsmithing Amor Electrica via photopin (license)

Many years ago, I remember watching a documentary in which they had film of John Lennon explaining how the first time he had walked into Yoko Ono’s gallery the first work he had seen had simply consisted of the word YES! John Lennon maintained that if it hadn’t been such an unequivocally positive message he wouldn’t have continued looking around the gallery and wouldn’t have met Yoko.

I don’t know if I’ve always viewed the word ‘Yes’ as such a positive, I think it is easy to say yes to something without wholeheartedly committing to it. Whether that is saying you will take the bins out, volunteering for a project at work or saying you will help a friend. I know for certain I’ve been guilty of saying yes, but secretly having my fingers crossed behind my back and hoping someone else will do it instead.

However, one thing I can definitely say is yes to the question – has this been a good year.

Of course I’m not unaware of all the horrible things that are happening all over the world, the political upheavals and uncertainties, and on a personal note I’ve probably had as many setbacks as a normal year.

Nothing has really changed apart from my attitude to the world. It might be that I have slipped into a comfort zone but my previous experience of comfort zones wasn’t at all comfortable, because I had the uncertainty of what the universe would do to me if I dared to move out of where I was. This current feeling is one of balance and positivity. Yes it definitely helps that I can give some focus to my creative projects and I’m no longer trying to be a paper thin imitation of someone and something else.

This might be an illusion, I might be as deluded now as I was eighteen months ago and still heading in the wrong direction with life. But the difference is that eighteen months ago I would not have answered the question ‘is life good?’ with the answer ‘YES’.

photo credit: jenny downing with every good wish via photopin (license)

photo credit: jenny downing with every good wish via photopin (license)

I’m taking a blogging and social media break over the festive period (working to complete my poetry collection Wreckage for release in Jan/Feb 2017), so apart from a few scheduled posts which will pop up over the next couple of weeks this is it until the New Year.

If you would like to read some more of my work you will find a couple of my poems, December Alone and Safe Inside, included in the Winter Magic collection on wattpad.

Winter Magic

Finally, I’d just like to wish you all a peaceful and restful couple of weeks, thanks for reading and have a great and positive 2017.

© 2016 | Frank Regan, All rights reserved.


Day 18: This post is welcome reminder of summer for me…

Made of sticks and stones

Words from Rush by Frank Regan 2015 Words from Rush by Frank Regan 2015

Hello, how are you?
I’m now back in the UK after a trip to Greece – the island of Skiathos to be precise. Well to be really precise I’ve been back a fortnight but that was only in body, in spirit I was still balanced precariously on a bean bag sipping a cocktail at the Rock and Roll Bar overlooking the bay.
Skiathos was a place I really fell in love with for its scenery, its people and the overall vibe of the place. It had a certain je ne sais quoi (probably sounds much cooler in Greek). Most importantly it was the break I needed to separate me from the events leading up to and the manner in which I left my job. Skiathos was the perfect break from the mundane realities of life.
But no holiday lasts forever, and though it…

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Weeble Wobble

My confidence level, very, rarely stays high. As low as the Marianas Trench, now, I can manage that no problem.
I’m so good at having low-confidence I could even give talks on the subject. Not that anyone would want to listen to me droning on…
You get the picture; I love to talk myself down. And given that it is now four months since I quit work. Summer has been and gone, the days are becoming shorter, and doubts are sneaking-up to hide in the shadows waiting to pounce.
Where’s an Alchemist when you need one?
Let me make it clear, I do not regret leaving my previous employment, in fact, I believe it will turn out to be the best decision I ever made. No, NEWSFLASH, it is the best decision I have ever made in my life so far. However…
At the moment the goals I am working towards haven’t been bringing in the big bucks.

“My other piece of advice, Copperfield,” said Mr. Micawber, “you know. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the God of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and – and in short you are forever floored. As I am!”
From David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.

Perhaps they never will. I knew that when I made my decision. But still when someone asks me have I got a job(?), have I been applying for jobs(?). I get angry. Now those that ask me have I got employment tend to know far more about my “Grand Plan” than I have shared online. They shouldn’t need to ask loaded questions, right?
The Big Push
However, the real reason I get angry is because, whisper it, I’ve been asking myself the same.
Is the “Grand Plan” a load of old tosh? I’ll fail at this goal; I’m not good enough to fulfil that role. No one wants to read my poems, let alone my stories. It’s pointless, I’m useless.
For some reason, this time, this self-depreciation made me think of Weebles…

…you know the things that wobble, but won’t fall down.
Because I know it is just a wobble, I’m not falling over; and if I do fall over then so what. At worst, it is a grazed knee or a bruised ego. The plan goes on.
Well this time there is a difference, this time I actually like and respect the person I am working for, because I am my own boss. That does not mean I haven’t had some good bosses in the past and that I won’t at some future date find myself within a traditional career structure and happy to be there.
For this is not about self-employment, this is about self-respect.
Yes, my current boss makes mistakes, wastes time, spends way too long in coffee shops just staring out of the window, and is the only one who finds his crappy jokes funny. But overall, he is making progress.
Yes, the “Grand Plan” may be held together by sticky backed plastic and forward motion may be limited to a series of Weeble wobbles but I am wholly responsible for my own future.

Falling Down
© 2015 | Frank Regan, All rights reserved.

Practical strategies for the modern alchemist

Alchemy 2

The image of alchemy as a metaphor for the path to enlightenment and fulfilment is now firmly fixed in my mind. Shame it isn’t an original idea (there being a kind of famous book with the title “The Alchemist”) but a path isn’t any less of a path just because someone else has walked it before and anyway the image fits.
I am taking my life and reshaping it into something new, by taking a risk and trusting my talents. That is talent with a small “t” by the way but commitment and consistency with capital C’s, in big bold print.
Then there is one more “C word” to add to the list, control. I am taking control. Not necessarily of the success or failure of the alchemy, but by providing the best raw materials, which is a me that believes in himself and is willing to undertake the vital task of stirring the pot and keeping the potion on the boil.

© 2015 | Frank Regan, All rights reserved.


Words from Rush by Frank Regan 2015

Words from Rush by Frank Regan 2015

Hello, how are you?
I’m now back in the UK after a trip to Greece – the island of Skiathos to be precise. Well to be really precise I’ve been back a fortnight but that was only in body, in spirit I was still balanced precariously on a bean bag sipping a cocktail at the Rock and Roll Bar overlooking the bay.
Skiathos was a place I really fell in love with for its scenery, its people and the overall vibe of the place. It had a certain je ne sais quoi (probably sounds much cooler in Greek). Most importantly it was the break I needed to separate me from the events leading up to and the manner in which I left my job. Skiathos was the perfect break from the mundane realities of life.
But no holiday lasts forever, and though it was tinged with sadness, I had to fly back to normality.

In the last two weeks, amongst other things, I’ve started the enjoyable task of going through my accumulated poems and stories to decide what should be included in my forthcoming e-book collection. At the moment it is a longlist but once I hopefully whittle it down to a shortlist I will be able to discern the shape (crisp smooth lines or gelatinous blob) of the overall collection.
That process of deciding what goes in and what doesn’t has led me to a decision. The collection should be poetry only, my admittedly low-level moans to myself that I am not a poet and it’s just a phase came to naught. Poetry only will just give it a better shape.

I am not a poet
On the plus side though it means the next collection will be fiction only. So, once one project is finished, in the back of my mind another one is starting to be formulated.
Then there is the matter of employment – something that pays. Obviously once my two books are published I will be a millionaire or maybe even a trillionaire! But what if that doesn’t happen, what if all I get out of these collections is the joy of writing them – joy alone isn’t going to pay for my ticket back to Skiathos.
I do have a plan for what I want to do with my future and it requires some form of alchemy to take place and no decades of reading fantasy books haven’t finally warped my mind into believing I’m a wizard. By alchemy I mean whatever time and effort I put in to my job is rewarded tenfold emotionally. Yes I want payment but I want (NO I NEED) to derive satisfaction from what I do.
Yes I realise that all jobs have their downsides. The average person spends a great deal of their lives working and the daily grind is always a compromise, I’m sorry kids even after you leave school life is still going to be about deadlines, hard work and stress. Even being a clown is stressful.

However, the reward for all of that stress should not be limited to a week away on a Greek Island. Fifty-one weeks versus one week? That is not a balanced life.
So while I’m trying to create a more balanced life, if anyone has got any lead going spare, I’d like to try a little alchemy.

© 2015 | Frank Regan, All rights reserved.