some thumbnails of my illustrations

some thumbnails of my illustrations
Please click on the links below to view my portfolio ........ Images copyright of Carrie Osborne

Monday, 14 November 2011

A spark in the dark.... or unlocking writers block!

I'm not quite sure what you will make of this post... There is a story waiting, but for a long time with writing I have felt disconnected, seized up, dashing as I do between running a business full time whilst still trying to be a good mum, so my creative headspace is all cramped and smothered by everyday demands.
I need to try and think.., no, live like a writer again with open senses, noticing, feeling and listening even if there's no time to actually write. Even that thought helped to unlock a few words earlier on...

Where have my Words gone
Winging away over
Wastelands of worry

How shall I find them
with a numb gaze
My very soul muffled
caged within my bones
that will not wake

Hmmmm, well its better than nothing at all! The story is all there, I have the feeling of it, the imagery. I can almost hear the rhythm and timbre of the characters' voices just beyond hearing, I can see the shape and colour of the illustrations, but just yet as through a running stream in ripples and eddies ravelling and unravelling.
But I can't force the words to shape themselves, I have to wait, let them rise to the surface clear and fresh when shade, sound and colour all come into focus.

In the meantime I can work on regaining my writing mind, finding a flow of language again. So I took up a notebook and thought ok, I will just write words down until something, anything comes out! It turned out to be quite an interesting excersise so I thought I'd show you what happened...
I wrote very quickly (as you can see by my scrawl) just as random words popped into my head without time to think too much, probebly no more than 20 seconds a page... just to see what happened...
These pages are not to any ends, just to excersise my mind and try to break the deadlock! I'd be very interested to hear if any other writerly types of you out there have any excercises or prompts that you get going with?? It can be a bit of an uphill struggle sometimes!

So, after all those words how about some pictures! I'll leave you with a few photos of our Bonfire Night the other week which was great fun.... I just love being around fires out of doors with the incense of woodsmoke and the breath of night air... A spark in the Autumn dark...


  1. I wonder if you could use "The Artist's Way" book. Have you ever? I've only glanced at it, but I know people who have loved it and developed practices based on her suggestions.

    I like the stream of words... kinda like word-gestures? (maybe)

  2. You might start by writing "small stones." See here:

    Not only are they writing exercises, they are "mindfulness" exercises. They're short and can be jotted down quickly, on a small notebook kept handy.

  3. I think 'Huginn Muginn' ought to be the name of a character somewhere along the much so that I even capitalised the words without thinking! Love 'sky hurled' and 'wind withered' too, they're really descriptive without being overly elaborate. Great photos Carrie, looks like a smashing time was had by all x

  4. Hi Carrie,
    Your words brought a lump to my throat. What a conflicting vocation we artist mothers have chosen for ourselves. It is like being torn into shreds trying to balance family life and writing/art.
    Keep on at it you definitely have something there, I can feel it too. Cant wait to see what emerges.

  5. Thanks for all the constructive comments folks, that's great!
    Valerianna, I have heard of the Artists Way, perhaps I should give it a proper look through... and I love the idea of 'word gestures' to me that sums them up exactly, and I get the same kind of thing from them as with my life drawing gestures - perfect!

    Wol, mindfulness excerises are exactly what I need, thankyou for reminding me of Small Stones... I tried this a year or so back with the intention of doing so every day and it was really good, definately time to rediscover this and do some more :)

    Kate, thankyou, and its so nice to hear from you again! I just can't seem to help finding words like Sky-hurled and Wind-withered... it must come from a love of the Anglo-Saxon style of kennings and their rhythmic meters, I just lean naturally that way... Huginn and Muninn are of course Odin's Ravens whose names mean Thought and Memory... its high time I did a painting of them I think!

    And Aisling, You've hit it on the head there,I've so often felt torn to shreds, to the extent where there have been moments I've seriously considered giving up on my creative aspirations altogether when the frustration and the sense of failing in motherhood have been too much.
    But the thought of giving all of it up feels like cutting out part of myself, I know I can't bear to do that no matter how selfish it makes me feel...
    I work six days a week in our framing business and try to find quality time for the children instead of the usual stressed out exhausted time between closing shop and bedtime, where I can. But right now I'm determined to keep hold of a creative spark, no matter how dim and small or how hard the wind blows...
    Its so nice to have like minded souls out here to keep encouraging me to tend that spark, thankyou :)

  6. I am sure your creative juices will be in full flow soon enough. When I was younger and had less time I found that my best ideas came to me in the middle of the night after sleeping a couple of hours so I kept a notebook by my bedside.

    Your blog bears witness to your creativity, don't give up.

  7. Love the words you have written Carrie. It's hard when there is so much in your life/head that you can’t see clearly at all. But when we can find space to notice & feel it sparks the inspiration doesn’t it. I feel like i haven’t actually painted for months, but have been storing up bits & pieces for when I’m ready to go again.

    I shall look forward to your story when it’s ready to make its appearance.

    I love the exercise you did to help find your flow again! I have recently found the book Valerianna mentioned and discovered ”Morning Pages”. I found that the words have flowed when I write in the mornings & don’t think about what I’m going to write first.

    Please don't ever give up your creativity, those wonderful snippets you manage will be always be there to work with. I hope you find your muse again very soon x ps: Thank you for your precious comments on my blog.

  8. Thankyou Valerie, I used to always have a notebook in my pocket wherever I went, and even my idle thoughts and half-heard observations used to flow with lyrical language in my head... I know its still in there somewhere!

    And thankyou Ruthie, such nice thoughtful comments really did cheer me up tonight! I really must try the morning pages, ...though my mornings are so hectic and hard pushed it might end up being evening pages instead!
    The evenings really are my only time to myself and I'm usually burned out by then, so doing evening pages might really help me find that precious last ounce of motivation to start working! I shall be spurred on by your fantastic example! :)

  9. P.s. Ruthie, I'm so glad you liked Kathleen Raine's writings... I have loved her poems for years, and for me her style is the perfect female counterpart to Ted Hughes' very powerful, evocative writings... my two favourite poets in fact!

  10. Good Luck with the pages Carrie, whenever they choose to happen. Mine are not always morning & not maybe as regular as i'd like, but i do look forward to doing them. I hope you manage to find a space. x


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