Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

I’m not sure if I’ve used this picture before but if I have it’s long enough ago for everyone to have forgotten, I hope!



For those of you who don’t recognise this, it’s a passion flower.

This particular plant is a tenacious little thing. I had it in a pot, it got ripped out by small children and left like a handful of twigs on the edge of my garden – and from that scrubby bit of half-dead birds-nest material a bushy climber began colonising a corner of my house.

I have had to cut it back many times but it returns, year after year, to take back its place.  Even when I’ve cut it back, the coils of its tendrils still hang on to wires and other plants.  Its glossy leaves and inside-out flowers are beautiful and I wish I could let it grow as vast and luxurious as it would like.

That plant behaves exactly like I should behave.  It never gave up, it strove for a place in the world.  It absorbed whatever material it could to make a difference and improve its lot.  It held on even when it seemed hopeless.  And it bloomed: no matter how many obstacles were put in its way it found a way to succeed.

I need to be a force of nature.  I need to write with determination, to fight for my place in the writing world, and hold on to whatever gives me strength so I can build on that position.

I need passion for writing – and I have it.  If you want to make writing a key part of your life, you need to have it too.

Happy writing,





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My partner got this picture when we were on retreat; the bird here had to take a back seat to a very cheeky, sneaky squirrel who kept climbing the tree and filling his tummy with bird food.

Bird on a missionI cropped in when I uploaded it as I think it’s more dramatic than the original – and I am a self-confessed lover of drama 🙂

There were some sheep behind this tree, and they seemed to eat all the time.  Lying down, standing up, going to the toilet – sheep eat.  How I missed that for the past x number of years I’ve seen sheep about, I do not know!

In fact, it doesn’t matter how often you’ve seen something, when you look with your writing eyes – when you look with the intention of noticing every detail you can – you see things you’ve missed.

In writing group I’ve encouraged everyone to try some sensory perception exercises, because they force you to look about, listen, and think about everything in your environment.  I really found these useful when I was studying – the exercises were based on some I did in my second writing course – and it was a timely reminder to use my environment to my advantage.

I looked at this picture above once more, before signing off for the day and I noticed something I hadn’t seen the last few times – what looks like a wire, strung parallel to the branch.  I wondered what it was for: outside lighting, or was there another feeder out of sight, or a speaker to spread the sound of birdsong in midwinter – or a microphone to listen to conversations.  Were our hosts recording conversations?  Why?…

Well, me being me, this thought process ended up a little bit sci-fi and I won’t bore you with it – but I was pleased that such a convoluted story came from a little detail.  Try it out and the same could easily happen with your own observations!

Keep your writer’s eyes open, and keep looking – there are little stories everywhere.

Happy writing











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I have a tiny obsession with macro photos of flowers.

I think part of the allure is that they are so impermanent: if you don’t take the picture when you have a chance that moment is gone.  The same could be said for so many things that I would love to take photos of everything, but that’s not really practical so I specialise 🙂

I’m not very good at these pictures but here’s one I took on retreat in Wales last summer.

Little Wonder

The feeling of having to record things immediately is one I’ve been developing for the last few years in writing – I’m sure we all have the tale of ‘the one that got away’; the great story opening or line of poetry that we didn’t write down and it disappeared like a whiff of smoke.  Even with notebooks everywhere, you can’t capture everything!

Sometimes I use photos instead of books.  I use them like a painter would, as a reference point to draw my image.  This works well for me for things like sunsets, the colour of the soil, the shapes carved into a wall; things that require some better description than the off-the-cuff notes I scribble as I wander around.  That’s another benefit of the macro photo too – you see a level of detail you might not have seen in person.

If you want to see what I mean, have a look at some amazing, properly macro, photos here!

Happy writing



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