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Writing on demand & beating the Block

When I first began my residence as Café Poet at Chado, I was a bit nervous. I’d never done anything like this before, and was concerned about what I’d be able to produce. In the past, all my best poems have just come to me, and haven’t needed much editing. I’d never allocated specific time to sit down and just write – I just wrote when something occurred to me.

I worried that when I came to Chado specifically to write, it would be like the creative writing classes I’d done in college and highschool – in which I never felt particularly inspired, just under pressure. I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to write anything, with other peoples’ expectations of me to produce results hanging over my head.

I’ve been very pleasantly surprised with how easy it has become, and the new things that I’ve learnt so far, even in a short amount of time. I’ve had ideas, not just for poetry but for methods of writing & coaxing out inspiration.

Before beginning my residency at Chado, in my recent writing, I have been learning to not always expect that brilliant burst of inspiration which brings on a near-perfect poem that doesn’t need editing. Because of a very long dry spell in which I wrote next to nothing, I realised that I can’t always rely on that. In the past I have attempted to force out poetry, just write and write and throw away all the crap poems that come as a result, until the blockage seemed to come undone and the good stuff started flowing again. This has worked, but it doesn’t feel very good.

Instead, I’ve learnt to have patience with my words, and not disregard a poem just because it isn’t absolutely stunningly perfect the first time it comes out. I’ve been learning to let things stew, and to edit.

My residency at Chado has reinforced this lesson, as well as helped the inspiration to come more naturally in the first place. I’ve found that instead of putting pressure on me, it has helped me feel more confident in my ability to produce writing. Having the time set aside to come to a tranquil place, have a relaxing pot of tea, and just do nothing but write for an hour or so, has been incredibly productive. It’s definitely in part thanks to what a beautiful, relaxing place Chado is (I’m not just saying this, either – everything there, from the tea to the people to the colours on the walls, makes me feel so comfortable & relaxed). But I think the main thing is how easy it makes it to write, when I come in, forget about everything else going on, sit down, and just take the time to let it come.

I’d recommend it to any writer in a block, or any writer just wanting to produce more. Set aside a specific time, 2-3 times a week, for an hour or so, to just do nothing but write. I’d suggest doing it somewhere other than home – home has internet, phone, dirty dishes that need doing, other distractions. Even if your favourite café is more busy-hustle-and-bustle than relaxing & Zen, it’s still a much more productive environment than somewhere like school or home where there are other things you could be doing.

It’s somewhat like getting around to writing this blog post has been. I’ve been meaning to do it for a week or so now. But writing it at my desk has proved impossible. So I’ve simply taken my laptop and gone to sit on my bed by the window. Suddenly it’s become much easier.

If you’re feeling stagnant, change the way you are doing things. It helps!

P.S: I post every morning on my Twitter when I am planning on heading in to Chado. If you’d like to try & catch me in the act, follow or bookmark my Twitter feed:
As always, it is 100% sandwich-free!



This blog is the collection of my poetry and prose, in chronological order from most recent to oldest.

Constructive critique is actively encouraged!

I am usually singing words as well as writing them, and make lots of other art. You can find me & my other art at any of the below links. x





All content on this blog © Rebecca Tilley, 2003-present