What I learned on my break

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Hows are you? Are you still doing that thing with them and everything else? Oh really? Good to hear.

I put this blog on a hiatus in the middle of July, which seems like a lifetime ago. A lot has happened in the world and in my life in the meantime. I said I would be back ‘soonish’ but didn’t expect it to be almost four months. A third of a year vanished, just like that. Although, if you look at it from another perspective, four months is a tiny blink in the vastness of eternity.

Here’s whats going on with me: I quit my job and my flat in Staines where I had lived for seven years. Reasons for this were varied, but mostly because I wanted my life to go in a new direction for a bit. Together with my girlfriend, we gave everything up and moved in with my parents. Then within the next month, we both got jobs in Bristol and moved into a new flat. The furniture we had so casually discarded in Staines felt necessary and we rebuilt our lives from the ground up. There was a whole lot of other things going on that I won’t go into but basically the last few months have been a rapid series of extreme changes to my whole life. Mostly for my sanity, I thought I’d write down what I’ve learned.

Change is good but also really scary

I was stagnating in Staines. I wasn’t developing as a person, just punching the clock and watching the days slip by. I needed to make a big change or I’d just be running on the spot for a few years more. So quitting everything and moving to another city was absolutely the right thing to do. It’s revitalized my interest in so many things and I’m glad I took the risk. But it’s also terrifying. Between me and my girlfriend, we saved up a decent chunk of money before we moved and I still didn’t think it was enough. The whole experience was akin to jumping off a cliff with no idea what lies below. We just had to do it, but for a long month or two, it was incredibly stressful. Were we going to get jobs? What were our future lives going to look like? We had no idea. So there was a lot of unknowns to deal with and a reasonably long period of flux. I’m only just settling into my new life and into my new routine. I’m looking around thinking ‘Did I just do that?’

You have to be lucky to be able to follow your dreams

For all the instability, we were in a very privileged position in the last few months. We had enough savings to move. We had my parents who had space and were happy to put us up. We found jobs relatively quickly. I was aware while we were making this change that we were very lucky. All the Pinterest inspiration blogs always say reach for the stars and follow your dreams, but they never consider the practicalities.There’s always external consequences and it’s never as simple as just following your dream. To be able to take a leap in the dark is a privilege in itself.

Creativity needs stability

I had a lot more spare time for a couple of months because I wasn’t working. This is prime writing time, long hours stretching out into the future. Whole days that can be spent at a desk, pen in hand.

Yeah, I didn’t really write anything.

There was too much going on, too much stress and pressure that writing seemed to be an unnecessary pressure that I just couldn’t do. Personally, I think my creativity thrives on constraints and routine. When I can write all the time, I end up writing nothing. Much better to have a regular hour or two to myself around a working week so I can focus on the writing in a concentrated amount of time.

Don’t beat yourself up

At the same time, I felt a constant pressure to write more. To always be producing. I think it’s something a lot of creative people struggle with. However much you write or create it’s never enough. And if you’re not producing anything it feels like the pits.

The only way to forgive yourself. I can’t write in the chaos, so I had to just try to tell myself I would write when I was ready. It made me realize how much of my creative work generated worries and self-made pressure.  You have to let it go because it’s not going to be helpful.

Future of the blog

So what now? I’m back in a writing routine. The works in progress are coming along. I’m working on a book of poetry which combines my backouts with poems and also a book of sci-fi short stories. I’m going to keep updating this blog, probably every two weeks instead of every one. One week I’ll write this blog, the other week I’ll send out a newsletter. This will hopefully give me time and space to really make this blog the best I can as well as time to work on the works in progress. The topics are still going to be scattershot. I had considered just making this about writing or about poetry, but I don’t want to limit myself to just one topic. I’d probably get more hits if I focused it, but I want it to be honest to my interests, which are all over the place. So expect some more flash fiction, some ranting about politics and some general ramblings about life and art and that.

Stick around. I’m still figuring this out, but it’s going to be fun.


Like this? Subscribe to my newsletter for updates from me and some recommended reading and poems. 

Contact me for anything I might be interested in or any feedback. I’m always interested to hear from you.

Posted by David, 0 comments

I’m delighted to feature again on the latest Lies, Dreaming podcast from the brilliant people at Poetry as Fuck. It’s a small little story about lost treasure. I hope you like it, let me know what you think! Find the podcast at the link below.


Lies, Dreaming #11 – Treasure

Posted by David, 0 comments

I’m currently in the business of moving across the country. I’m packing up my whole life into boxes. Every time I move I forget how all consuming and stressful it is. Foolishly, I thought I could carry on writing this blog whilst I was moving. Clearly, I was wrong. I’ve had no time to write at all. Life has got in the way.

So I’m taking a break from this blog for a bit. I need to focus on moving and then finding a job. It will have to go on the back burner.

I’ve also made very little progress on my next books. Words per day have slowed to a trickle. So I need to focus on them if I am going to make any progress whatsoever. This isn’t just a short term thing but has been evident in the last few months. I’m a little burnt out with all my writing projects at the moment, so that’s another reason to put this blog on hold.

Since I got serious about writing, three years or so ago, I’ve felt a constant pressure to produce more. I want the works in progress to be done now. I want to constantly be producing new books and material. The problem with this way of thinking is that it becomes exhausting after a while. Other people may be able to keep it up but I need to take a break for a bit and reset my thinking.

I will still be sending out my newsletter and posting blackout poems on Instagram in the meantime.

I’ll be back here soonish, but for now I’m pressing pause.

Posted by David, 0 comments
There is No Exit: Flash Fiction

There is No Exit: Flash Fiction

A quick flash fiction written from a prompt from Chuck Wendig once again. This time, the prompt was ‘There is no exit.

Ivor trudged home. It had been a long, hard day. He had got into the office at 7 in the morning and it was past 10 at night now. The office was struggling to complete the audit and he had to pitch in. Still, it was better than previous years, back in The Agency. His thoughts started to drift back to- No. He was stronger than that. Continue reading →

Posted by David in My Writing, Stories, 0 comments
Suspend the outside world for a while: Thoughts on Glastonbury Festival

Suspend the outside world for a while: Thoughts on Glastonbury Festival

Posts on this blog have been a bit scarce for the last couple of weeks, mostly because I spent a several days in a field in Somerset. I listened to music, watched comedy and saw the odd politician1 I was lucky enough to attend Glastonbury Festival, a cornucopia of delights that I have gone to since I was fifteen.  This was my seventh time at the festival. I have been to others in the meantime, but it remains the original and the best. It is a marvellous tent town where the outside world is put on hold for a while, where the normal rules no longer apply and where art and hope rules above everything else.  I thought I’d write about why it remains so special to me and many others.

Continue reading →

Posted by David in Art from Others, Creativity, Music, 0 comments
The Thief of Moons: Flash Fiction

The Thief of Moons: Flash Fiction

A story written from a prompt by Chuck Wendig at Terrible Minds. This week we had to pick a title, so I chose the Thief of Moons. Enjoy!


My mother had always told me to avoid the thief, but she never went into detail. She only offered vague warnings. Only once, when we were sat by the fire late at night, did she speak more. She had guzzled one too many gins and sat cursing him over and over.

‘I never used to be this old.’ She said. ‘The years have been stolen from me. I don’t know where they went.”

To me, it was the ramblings of an old woman, bitter at the hand she had been dealt. The lines had crept over all over her face and her spine had curved forward, but this was to be expected for her age. She had me late in life and never forgave herself. Still, I humoured her when she gripped my hand tight.

‘Don’t you ever speak to him, Isobel. He’s got a charming smile, but he’ll take all your moons in a blink of an eye.’

I just nodded to humour her, ever the obedient daughter. I bit my lip to try and bury my frustration. It was another incomprehensible rule to add to the list. Don’t go out at night, stay in the house as much as possible, always clean up after yourself, never answer back, never be sarcastic etc etc. There were too many to name. It meant I was almost permanently in the wrong.

She had always been protective, but since my dad’s death five years ago she had become controlling. I had been pulled out of school to work at home. Leaving the house was forbidden, so I spent my days making bread, tidying up and generally keeping house. My mum worked as a seamstress, making clothes for the village. It didn’t bring much money in. Once, I suggested I should find some work, but my mum would hear none of it.

‘A precious lamb like you Isobel isn’t going anywhere. The thief might find you. Mark my words.’

So what could I do but bite my tongue and get on with the day to day tasks, dull as they were? I just had to carry on.

One autumn night, I was shivering in my bed, unable to shake thoughts of a new life. I pictured myself running out of the door of the small cottage, down the lane and into the unknown, but the night was cold and I didn’t know where I would go. I glanced around my room for some reason. That’s when I saw him. An outline of a man, tall and handsome. Just standing in the middle of my room as if there was no issue at all. He was silver in the moonlight falling through my window. His eyes sparkled. I gasped and my mouth hung open. I physically couldn’t look away.

‘It’s rude to stare.’ he said, a slight smile creeping round the corner of his mouth.

I didn’t feel like screaming. There was no panic. I was mesmerised. I had never seen anyone so beautiful. The sheet had fallen from me and I realised I was only in my slip, and this man could see me almost naked. I didn’t care, I thought. Let him look.

‘What…What are you doing in my room?’ I managed to stammer out, still staring at the man. He took a step towards me and seemed to shimmer as he moved. His body was made of pure moonlight.

‘You want to escape.’ His voice was a stream gently babbling, taking all worries and cares with it’s current. His words caressed my ears. There was no point asking how he knew, or why he was here. He spoke the truth. I yearned to leave this small flat and find a new life. I nodded. Of course, I wanted to escape.

‘I can help you.’ Another step closer. He was almost at the bed now, so close I could almost touch him. He didn’t seem to breathe. Instead, he was perfectly still, like the moment between seconds. He half smiled again.

A wave of certainty spread over me. I knew he was the thief my mother had warned against so many times. He was dangerous and I shrunk back. Just at that moment though, he smiled fully. It was beautiful. The smile was pure light and I was almost blinded. Tears rolled down my cheeks. In that moment, I decided. Whatever the price, I would pay it.

‘Okay.’ I said. My voice was swallowed up by the darkness.

The beautiful thief put his hand out to me, perfectly still. I reached out and touched the silver light. His fingers felt cold and insubstantial, like mist.

He smiled. With his other hand, he pointed at the moon through the window.

For a long heartbeat, nothing happened at all. Then the moon spun on its axis. It waxed and waned, rising from full moon to nothing in a breath. I never saw anything more beautiful or more terrifying. I felt nausea rising as the moon flickered faster and faster. A sharp tone cut through my head.

‘Stop!’ I found myself screaming ‘STOP!’

The moon stopped its incessant spinning. The tone cut off abruptly. I turned to the beautiful man. He smiled at me, that stunning smile once again. With that, he evaporated like a fine mist before my eyes.

Was I dreaming? I was still in the same room as before. Nothing seemed to have changed. I hadn’t escaped. Had it all been for nothing?

I lifted my hands to the door. They were liver-spotted and knarled. That thief had been here years ago, back when I was a teenager. He had stolen my moons from me and kept them for his own pleasure. I was old now and could never get the years back. I was left withered and broken, cursing the thief of moons.

Posted by David in My Writing, Stories, 0 comments
Load more
add_filter( 'rp4wp_append_content', '__return_false' );

Subscribe for Updates and Recommendations

Like what you're reading? Every two weeks I send out a newsletter full of site updates and things I've enjoyed. There's usually some interesting articles, some music and a poem or two. Subscribe now!

powered by TinyLetter

Subscribe!