Archive for the 'Creativity' Category

NEWS – UK Song writing ContestIn Twenty Four Hours

 I nearly missed the deadline on the above comp last year and that saying, ‘what can go wrong, will go wrong’ loomed large. The computer chose to hang at the worst possible moment (just after I had entered all my details and my mouse was poised over the ‘Submit’ button), the dog barked furiously during a quiet phrase, and my fingers almost got too sore to press down the chords on my acoustic guitar. I finally completed the song, made a recording, without the dog adding his contribution and uploaded it before the midnight hour. Phew, mission accomplished. Then I forgot about it. Or tried to. Have you ever entered a competition and been able to totally put it out of your mind? The thought of it lurked in the shadows until the results email pinged into my Inbox.

Now I am pleased to report that my hastily-written song, In Twenty Four Hours had reached the Quarter Finals and was ‘Commended’.  The scoring system showed that I had missed qualifying for the Semi-Finals by only one point. Note to self: must complete this year’s entry with time to spare! It might earn me some extra points. Watch this space to see if I do.



 Another competition, another deadline beckoned. This time I wanted to enter the recently revived Plough Poetry Prize with Sir Andrew Motion as the Judge. Thankfully, I had already written the poems. The decision was how many to enter and which ones were most suitable. I decided on four as a good round figure, not too many, not too few and made my choices. Not quite so easy, especially after an initial sort through produced a pile of ten. My final choices were, in order of my preference:

1. Loving, 2. Hands of Men, 3. Conquistadora, and 4. In answer to William Carlos Williams.

Sending the fee and submitting the poems was a simple, painless process. Then, like every other entrant, all I could do was to wait and try to be patient. The results were announced after a couple of months. I scrolled through the long list and found two of my poems listed. Not too bad. Then I looked at the short list. Another of my poems was listed there. It was my no. 4 choice – and the one I thought least likely to stand any chance at all. I haven’t entered many poetry competitions although I have had one shortlisted before. Getting three listed feels like a good achievement.

High five!


Yves Potter here. Creative writing and reading are two of my passions. Writing songs and playing guitar are another two (rescuing waifs and strays should also be added to this list). But no matter what, I always come back to my first love of writing while keeping a guitar, or four, within reach. Having four guitars is not being greedy – they are all different.

One amateur musician friend has sixteen guitars as well as mandolins and banjos, and yes, he has had to move to a bigger house. I’m still able to squeeze a few more into my home. And oh, did I mention the large Pleyel piano I rescued from a rain storm or the Yamaha electric piano that needed a new home? *grins*

My first guitar is a battered old Spanish guitar, great for Flamenco and blues but not the easiest to play due to its wide fret board and my small hands. My second guitar is an Italian 12-string, but I don’t play that one much these days as its ringing, jangly sound seems more suited to folk songs of the Sixties. Can’t quite bring myself to sell it.

I saw my third one in a shop window when I was searching for a wire string acoustic. It looked good and I knew it was mine as soon as I played a few simple chords. I couldn’t resist the way the bass notes reverberated in my bones and how the top strings stayed clear. It has proved to be the best guitar of all for writing songs with.

My latest guitar is a Fender style electric in wild purple; I just love experimenting with the different sounds it can make.  Anyone out there want to start a band? Btw, I use my voice too but, fortunately, that doesn’t take up any extra space.

Now I need to find that handful of elusive time to be able to play them all. I do give myself extra brownie points for practising every day. When I have enough, I trade them in for those real brownies of a certain brand that begins with ‘g’ and ends with ‘u’. It rhymes with ‘moo’. Everyone needs a reward from time to time. And mine are often of the chocolate kind.

Time to make some music. Tra la la!

Back soon.


Like Stephen King, I write every day. Sometimes the words are good, sometimes awful. I know that if I don’t write out the bad, it will be so much harder to find the good. But being a good writer means practising, so in many ways it’s just like learning a musical instrument – you have to learn the scales. By knowing the rules, you can choose when, and if, to break them.

Listening to music frequently kick starts my writing day. Though I have to be careful with my daily choice of what’s going to blast my eardrums. So far I’ve found that listening to soothing Mozart String Quartets best suits my editing and proofreading stints, while original blues tracks from John Lee Hooker and Robert Johnson are good for fiction that needs frequent alterations of pace.

I save the heavy rock for when I’m really pounding the keys and words are flowing fast enough to scorch the keyboard. Sometimes, I find I am singing lead guitar riffs as I listen to the Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd or Free, to name a few of my all-time favourites. Give me anything with a driving bass, heavy beat and sparkling lead guitar and my fingers just have to start tapping.

The only disadvantage is that sometimes I pick up my guitar and join in. The fresh impetus this type of creativity brings to my fiction writing far outweighs the few minutes spent playing guitar blues. It reminds me of my ambition to jam with Keith Richard and Johnny Depp. It keeps my foot tapping and my creativity bubbling.  I’ve learnt that aiming high is the only way to stay inspired and be inspiring. Who knows? I might write a No 1 song today.

Be good and keep writing,

image of a quill

Yves Potter

© 2012