Weds poetry prompt: ‘Another Way’


This week’s prompt: Take the phrase “Another (blank),” replace the blank with a new word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem.

Another Way

Sometimes I wonder
If we’re living life correctly
Or if there’s another way
To achieve the balance and serenity
That supposedly awaits
The eternally anxious among us.
Are we worrying and fretting sufficiently?
Or are we relaxing with enough regularity?
These are the questions eternally burning
In our aching and frazzled brains;
Fuelled by dubious and draining fears
Of what one thinks of the other
And the oncoming ruin our human flaws
Are surely to send hurtling on top of us;
But perhaps the fabled other way
Is to simply stop a second and reflect
That even the highest-flyers and triers
Are a far cry from being perfect
And that it should hardly even matter
If we stumble a few times along the way.

Like this poem? Read more in my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

Paperback –



Weds poetry prompt: ‘The Futility of Feb 14th’


This week’s prompt: Write a ‘valentine’ poem.

(No, I’m not a single person whinging – happily attached, thanks, but we both share a disdain for Valentine’s Day anyway. As our actual anniversary is close to the date anyway, we’d rather celebrate that! Hope you enjoy this little anti-valentine poem, all in good fun…)

The Futility of Feb 14th

Sickly sweet cards
Forced down our throats,
Hurriedly purchased roses
Handed over in the hope
Of hanky-panky later on,
Ludicrously-priced chocolate
(To secretly not want to share),
Or else gaudy jewellery
And other shiny trinkets
To please fickle minds.
These are just a few Valentine’s things
That make me frankly, sick
And would sooner celebrate
The truly important dates
In our little story, our saga,
Rather than a fake, plasticy one
That means little to anyone
But the crafty card-makers and confectioners,
So join me in ignoring this non-event
And wait to give a meaningful present,
For god’s sake.

Like this poem? Read more in my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

Paperback –


Writing at Night; or, does the time of day affect your productivity?


So, a couple of years ago I mused in this post about what makes a writing space, and what my own personal set-up is. I notice that in that post, I alluded to the work taking place ‘whenever I could find a few spare hours in the day‘. Funnily enough, lately I seem to have stumbled upon the benefits of doing the opposite – i.e. writing at night. Take last night in particular – it was a Sunday evening, just after 9pm; my partner had already gone to bed because of having work the next day – I did not, so I thought, well, why don’t I go and sit in that spare room and try and get some writing done now – then in the morning I’d actually be able to enjoy my day off and relax a little bit. Because this seems to be the trap I have fallen into as of late – waking up so determined to get as much work done as possible, and then feeling guilty later as I have either managed to get very little done, or nothing at all – the lure of video games and other distractions just proving far too tempting for me. However, after waiting until the quiet calm of the night, I suddenly found myself being so much more productive. I finally made a start on writing a draft for a blog post, for a separate blog I intend to set up soon that is centered around an all-time favourite game series of mine,(so I was writing about a video game, rather than being distracted by one – I mean, that’s ok, right?) managing to bash out a good 1,500 words. And then I even began planning a future blog post! I really was amazed at how much more productive I was being, simply because of the time of day.

I did notice that in that previous post I also made reference to a ‘Writing Timetable’ that I had stuck on the wall – which I must admit, I have since abandoned. But perhaps that was putting too much pressure and stress on me, therefore leading to a lot of disappointment and self-chastising if I didn’t keep to that rigid schedule. I completely understand that for other writers out there, it may well work splendidly – and obviously I assume that if you have made it big and produce works certain to be published then it’s something of a necessity – but at the moment, I feel a lot more freedom without it, simply choosing to dedicate any evenings where I don’t have work or other engagements in the morning to sit down at that keyboard and see what comes out.

I posted about this on both Facebook and Twitter, to which a fellow WordPress poster and writer suggested the night breeds productivity because the day is now behind you – allowing for more concentration, and I do think there is something to that. I find during the day if I attempt to write, I am constantly looking at the clock, thinking, oh bloody hell, it’s already almost noon and I’ve barely done anything…you just feel more like you’re under a time limit, or you end up using lunch and dinner as excuses to stop even if you’ve spent most of your time procrastinating or looking out the window. It sounds crazy, but I find the weather something of a distraction too – if it is raining or miserable outside, I’m fine, but if the sun is out I keep thinking, oh dear, I should be outside getting some exercise or going for a walk, and suddenly feel like an antisocial hermit for daring to stay inside hunched over a computer screen when it’s such a beautiful day outside (not to mention the glare, which guilts you even further!)

A work colleague, who also went to university as I did, posited that those late nights doing coursework and frantically trying to finish essays before the deadline may have something to do with your future writing habits as well – something I hadn’t considered, but again, it does make a lot of sense. While I don’t continually have deadlines to deal with now (except my own self-imposed ones, and ones for submitting for competitions..), the quiet calm of night does seem to more beneficial for writing. Curious to see if there were any online discussion about this matter, I did find this post, which likens writing to a ‘long immersion in a hot tub, or a relaxing meditation’ – making night the ideal time to let it loose, as after all, isn’t it the daytime that you experience the things that then influence your writing? Wouldn’t it make more sense to just be during the day, and then write down any feelings you had about it when it’s over and done with, after you’ve had a chance to truly soak it all in? The post also offers some handy tips about the art of writing at night – including making a plan, and stressing that it’s okay to take breaks. Thank God for that – my anxious and overly self-critical mind had assured me that it wasn’t okay at all. I realise that may sound like sarcasm, but it honestly isn’t – I really am that hard on myself (working on it, honest…)

So, what do you other writers think out there? Am I talking complete rubbish? Do you have the mettle and self-discipline to effortlessly thrash out several thousand words during the harsh daylight? Or are you a night owl like me, who would rather sit down and do it once he’s in his pyjamas and everything has just goddamn calmed down a little bit? Anyway, must dash – it’s already 10:40pm and I need to get back to my rambling thesis about what a masterpiece a nearly 20-year old video game is…

See you on the other side, writers of the night,

Stu x

Check out my debut poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

Paperback –


Weds poetry prompt: ‘Silent Heroes’


This week’s prompt: Write a ‘super’ poem.

Silent Heroes

‘Not all heroes wear capes’
The short-sighted saying states;
No, some are in skin-tight suits
Or simply in a long coat and boots,
But nonetheless possess the power
Or simply wealth to tinker for hours
On shiny weapons and gadgets
(But still brood on a backstory sad and tragic).
Yes, riches or powers are required
To be the ‘super’ hero that inspires,
While the unspoken ones toil away
With their human limitations, day after day,
Finding those elusive cures and solutions
To mankind’s shortcomings and self-destruction
In their own way, meek and without violence,
Wearing only a cloak of humble silence.

Like this poem? Read more in my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

Paperback –


I won a poetry slam! (with videos)


So this week I competed in a poetry slam that took place in my hometown (and hope to take part in any future ones too) – I’m only just starting out with the whole public performance thing, but think I’m slowly gaining more confidence with it. What I wasn’t expecting was to win! There were two votes for best poet, one from the audience and one from the poets themselves. I was somewhat taken aback when I was announced as the winner of the audience choice! (Netting me a voucher to use for the local theatre, where the slam took place). I mainly tried out some of my more light-hearted, comedy stuff, which as you can see from the performance of ‘MARINA’S Magical Fingers’ above, seemed to get a pretty good reception (originally posted as last week’s Wednesday poetry prompt) As someone who’s never had a lot of confidence in himself (and very nearly didn’t go at all due to this self-doubt), this was a pretty big deal to me and has made me a lot more motivated to keep performing at events like this and really make a go of getting on the ‘spoken word circuit’. I have also been trying to put together a collection of more light-hearted, comedic poems, so again the positive reception here has given me more motivation too.

Anyway, please check out these videos of the other poems I performed – hope they entertain you too 🙂

‘Sticky Notes’ (originally posted as Day 8’s poem for the 2017 NOV PAD Challenge – as ‘Post-it Notes – this was before I thought of the more obvious, filthier title 😉 )

‘A Swing for All Seasons’ (originally posted here)

‘Remembered by the Words’ (originally posted as Day 24’s poem for the 2017 Nov PAD Challenge – ending on a more serious note…)

I’m also due to perform at another poetry slam in March – so I’ll let you know how that one goes!

Like these poems? Read more in my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

Paperback –


Weds poetry prompt: ‘MARINA’s Magical Fingers’


This week’s prompt: Write a ‘happy distraction’ poem

This one sort of spun off in a strange direction – I didn’t even have the ‘character’ of MARINA in mind when I started, just one of those things that sort of happened – hope you enjoy, at any rate!

MARINA’S Magical Fingers

At the sanctuary of the wondrous spa, we see:
Soaking in soapy bubbles,
Sweating in steamy boxes,
(Optional seaweed wrapped around your ankles)
Sinking into a supposedly detoxing
Soup of thick black mud, sticky and oozing,
An oily massage then follows swiftly,
Your skin squashed and pressed by a perfect stranger
So you feel as light and fluffy as mashed potatoes;
These are the shiny, happy distractions
We are lured into via cautionary tales
Of tense knots and lumps
That our wicked body has chosen to clump
Together into a wrinkly, cracked old capsule
Of ravaging and crippling STRESS!
That can only be, of course, cured once and for all
By those soothing and dulcet tones
Of the magnificent miracle-worker, MARINA!
With those silky fingers attached to her magical hands
(And formidably pressed elbows)
She’ll PULL the goddamn stress out of you
(Or at least give it a jolly good tug trying),
As a selection of ocean sounds
Hang weightlessly in the background,
Scorching stones are placed delicately
Upon your weary and unsuspecting back
In a carefully-prepared, calm-inducing pattern
(Well, possibly – it’s not like you can see anyway, is it?)
And MARINA tells you just to take it easy, relax
Let the stones and natural oils do their thing
And suck up those poisonous feelings out of you
While she just nips out for a cheeky smoke
Inhaling harmful energy, but not seeing the irony
As she ponders which elixirs she can peddle to you
Once you’ve got yourself up and dressed,
And, despite being clothed as the sensible you again,
Willing to believe every single word
She breathes to you, carefully prepared
About these wonderful shiny bottles
And the hallowed contents within,
The murky haze of steam and perfume
Surely seducing and bewitching you
Into doing whatever the wise MARINA says,
Hypnotised by her silky, sultry voice
Into handing over an unspeakable amount of notes
For a basket of her trademark potions and trinkets
That may or may not calm your shaking nerves
But will most certainly be a fleeting placebo
To keep you coming back again, for more
And knocking at MARINA’S faux-stone door.

Like this poem? Read more in my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

Paperback –


Weds poetry prompt: ‘blackdog.exe’


This week’s prompt: Write a ‘sick’ poem


I feel like a corrupt file
Searching for its place
In an uncaring space
That only permits perfection
Into its hallowed conception,
No room for a wretch like me,
Tainted by the cruel infirmity
Of flawed mood and mind,
Never able to quite find
The code of contentment,
Instead, stuck in resentment;
Sickness through self-doubt,
Unable to act or speak without
Second-guessing myself;
It ain’t good for my health
But right now it’s all I know
This deep spiral of sorrow.

Like this poem? Read more in my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

Paperback –