or How to Defeat Writer’s Block

Photo by Nad X on Unsplash

Writer’s block sounds better than, “I just don’t want to!” doesn’t it? Does to me.

I have been writing since I was twelve. I used to envy people whose creative outlets had more tangible tools. A sculptor or a carpenter, or something like that, can tell when they’re doing work. Is the table getting closer to made? That’s how to tell.

For a writer, word count is SUPPOSED to serve the same purpose.

Does it, though? I’m not so sure anymore. On account of notebooks, and talking while walking, and finger painting, and research, and ranting to your loved ones…


Whatever “Always” Means

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I’ll have to get this in quick. I only have about five minutes.

That’s the crux of the matter, really. The idea of between has lost meaning. I’ve taken on the scratchy wool sweater of the writer. It’s the reason I’m always so nervous and overwarm. The shyness might have something to do with it too, but frankly I can’t escape the skin. I decided to be a writer when I was twelve, and that is always there causing guilt about not writing. I’m uncomfortable about everything that isn’t part of the project I’m on.

To a point. I mean…


Or how I came to terms with being, against all odds, competent

Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

This is a story about confidence.

In brief, I’m going into the business of running workshops to teach people how to write. In particular, to teach business owners how to write for their businesses, with special attention to their marketing.

I’m not making this career move on my own, for two big reasons.

Reason one…

I don’t like giving unsolicited advice, which is why I’m an unsuccessful blogger. Let that be a lesson to all of you aspiring bloggers out there: unsolicited advice is popular, or at least notorious. You want to make it as a blogger? Hand out advice like pollen…


Part One of the Anti-ads for my novel

I’ve got a novel coming out soon. It’s a piece of urban fantasy about small-time crooks, and about a socially awkward musician learning how to do magic, and it’s about how cool it is to be up at night. I borrow a lot of tone from noir, from punk rock, and from how it feels to be twenty-something and directionless.

I’ve been running some anti-ads for it, because if there’s something worth doing it’s worth doing sideways.

Keep a weather eye for City Song by Oliver Blakemore (that’s me) to hit a virtual outlet near you at the end of…


Time for a new mission.

This is my November Fifth Check-in. I do one every year.

Five years ago, I embarked on a mission. I determined that after five years I would support myself by my writing. I did an inventory of the resources I had at my disposal, and I decided that I would wield every tool I had in my toolbox to make it so I could put “Writer” on my business cards and mean it.

It has been a journey.

The time has passed.

Today, I can say that all the income I had this year was earned from writing. …


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Boris Pasternak, author of Doctor Zhivago, wrote a weapon.

Doctor Zhivago represented a destabilizing element to Soviet Russia. Which was his point. Soviet Russia was an empire policed by ideology, and so it felt threatened by invasions of opposing ideologies. Doctor Zhivago was the story, in part, of people reacting to being victims of the Soviet system. That viewpoint scratched the Soviet propaganda the wrong way.

It would have been ridiculous to try to publish Doctor Zhivago in Soviet Russia. Ridiculous? It would have been life-threatening. …


Image Credit Oliver Blakemore

I’ll tell you a scary story: sometimes I’m convinced that I’m a different person than the child I remember being.

I have no breaks in my memory. I have a continuous flow of memories from four until now. I remember my birthdays and foods I’ve always like (fish sticks). I remember my mixed relationship with mornings. I remember spending a lot of time wondering how other people somehow “got it,” when I had no idea what to find funny about Family Guy. Life’s long, and I remember all of it.

Except for the few confusing clues.

When I was about…


I wake up with music already stuck in my head most days. I don’t know if it’s a good habit, but my habit is to use that music to give my day definition. It’s a marker at the beginning. It sets a tone for the morning, and morning sets a tone for the rest of the day.

Today’s song was “Devil on My Back” by Mark Stoney.

It’s a thumpy, grumpy march of a song, heavy on the attitude and light on the complexity.

But that’s fine, because it strikes an evocative tone. Not all songs need to be…


I heard this story about bassists: they get all the girls.

Joseph Harris neither confirmed nor denied this story.

We all know what it means when people can neither confirm nor deny the story, don’t we?

Feel it in Your Spine

Bass can be a hard instrument to talk about. Bassists, for whatever reason, haven’t gained the star power that guitar players have.

I don’t know why. When basses are strangled well, they’ll make your spinal cord jiggle.

It might be a personality thing.

Joseph Harris on Victor Wooten.

Joseph said there’s a particular cool thing that he likes about watching Victor Wooten play bass. The way Victor plays reminds us why it’s called playing.

Joseph said that you can spend…


I have a novel coming out soon. For the length of time I have been developing and writing and editing the novel, I have been building a playlist of music.

The playlist started partly because of the couple-few song references I made in the first few pages, and partly because the story is about a sorcerer who uses rock and roll lyrics as incantations and I wanted to keep a centralized list of the right songs. It started with “The Devil Within” by the Digital Daggers. From there it grew.

It started like that. From there I would add songs…

Oliver “Shiny” Blakemore

The best part of being a mime is never having to say I’m sorry.

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