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If You Can’t Say Anything Nice …

Updated on October 29, 2011

I’ve had another bout of writer’s block, or at least that’s what I thought it was. I pondered this situation, reading others stories and poetry and all it did was make me even more sure that I have nothing worth writing about.

I don’t write about what I don’t know. I am useless as a commentator on politics or religion because, you should never bring a knife to a gun fight and I don’t believe in religion, I believe in God. I very seldom even read anything political because if the story doesn’t turn my stomach, the responses inevitably do.

I turned sixty on the eighteenth of October and having lived this long you’d think one would just be a fountain of wisdom. Nope. I know what works for me and what doesn’t but there’s no point in telling someone else about it because every human being and situation is unique. It took me fifty-eight years to figure that one out as I was always giving advice, and it was seldom asked for and even less often followed, which drove me to the brink. So now I try very hard to manage me, my time here and how I let things outside of my control affect me.

I did have one great revelation while I was doing all of that pondering. I dress in what suits me, usually blue jeans and a t-shirt or if I’m dressing up, a blouse or sweater. I have other clothes but they simply hang in the closet for “just in case moments” which I’ve had none of in over fifteen years or better. I seldom put on make-up anymore, not because I don’t think it helps and Lord knows anything you can do to improve on a sixty year old face probably should be implemented … I just feel as if it’s such a bother most of the time. Point being, within reason, I pretty much do as I please. I try not to step on anyone’s toes and try to avoid people and situations where mine will be trod upon. I choose my battles very carefully, guided by the amount of energy I’m going to have to expend to participate, not whether I’ll win or lose.

So, what was my great revelation? It was this, I’m never going to be able to write like Saddle Rider, 50 Caliber, The Great Shytinsky or Qudsia Pervez, Genna East or any of the other writers too numerous to mention whom I admire so very much. Yet each time I’ve sat down to write lately, that is exactly what has kept me hitting the delete key and closing Word without saving.

There’s an old saying, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” I quote it in its entirety for the younger readers as I’m convinced my generation has not done a sufficient job of passing down using good manners. Most people of my generation were taught them, if not by example then by force, but taught still. I had somehow maladapted this into my desire to write. If I could not turn a phrase, describe a scene or recount a spectacular event, in a manner similar to my favorite writers, then I could not write … and should not.

I have an annoying old habit of self imposing rules that I would never expect anyone else to follow and I had done it again. Of course I will never be able to write like any of these people. Our life experiences and circumstances are dissimilar and we perceive things in our own unique ways. So, the next time I sit down to write, with something to say, I’m going to keep my fingers off the delete key and publish it. It will serve to prime the well and with any luck, I’ll find it has not run dry after all.


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  • Ruchira profile image


    7 years ago from United States

    Hi Pooh,

    Loved the flow of ideas here...keep it going, my friend.

    wishing you joy and peace this festive season.

  • Sharyn's Slant profile image

    Sharon Smith 

    7 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

    Hi Pooh,

    I gotta tell ya, I love your writing. I look forward to your writing. The openness, the honesty and humor are what intrigues me. Yet I do understand the desire to "be better." I feel that way too. And yes, I have been thinking about taking some classes. Good luck,


  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from On the edge

    tnderhrt23 - I found a literary group that accepts submissions and I believe your work just suits their requirements. You really do need to be published and thank you for reading and for your lovely comment! "We look for the honest voice, the idiosyncratic signature, experimental where necessary but not willfully so. Writing that grows from a vision, a perspective, and a passion will interest us, regardless of structure or approach." AGNI

    Ercolano - I agree that self gratification is a reason to write and it kept me semi-sane during my husband's recent dealing with Hospice and his COPD. I want more though. Not necessarily the ultimate, to be published, we all want that whether we admit it or not, but to be able to express what I have to say in a manner that is more palatable to a larger audience. Maybe someday I'll take a few writing classes when time and finances allow.

  • Ercolano profile image

    Sam Walker 

    7 years ago

    Lol... it was in fact the story I was going on about here that I won for, the one that I nearly gave up on last night when I wrote it... but it proves the point.. and also in a very lovely comment, re; mentioning being compared to others, one comment there is now comparing it to Joyce or Salinger! I take it as a huge compliment though, despite what I said here, I think, even if one sucks as a writer, then if it makes ya happy anyway, gives you that outlet, then it's served a purpose. Yes, it is so cool, and I will never forget that you were the first to come to me; it's been a lovely pleasure, my experience on Hubpages so far, with people just like you.

  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from On the edge

    I am so excited for you!!! How cool is all of this? You have found another outlet for your writing, you are appreciated and $50 is cool no matter how you look at it! What a whirlwind, and deservedly so. I am delighted for you and I also thank you for the affirmation of the uniqueness of each of us that really is to be celebrated ... unless of course you really DO suck as a writer and then ...

  • Ercolano profile image

    Sam Walker 

    7 years ago

    Well, I was going to be annoyed with you when I was reading this hub, but then of course you go on to point out that you arrived at the realisation that your style should be just that; yours. Ever since I took up writing seriously, teaching myself from being a complete amateur from only a couple of years ago, I always always had so-o so-o many comments from various reviewers, according to which of my writing heads I had on, that I reminded them of this or that writer, both living and dead, novelists and poets, most of whom I have never read. The only thing I appreciated about that, where most people might have felt complimented, was that most were/ are controversial. But I used to only half joke, what does a guy have to do to be completely original around here? One of the comments I enjoy most these days, now that I've had professional training, is the fact that people still find my style so very unusual and unique to me - and your good friend Epi said it to me best; that he loves it when he finds a writer who has invented a whole new way of writing for themselves, does their own thing (presumably still observing the formulaic and technical aspects that are so important) (or words to that effect). And of course he is correct, while you might aspire to be more like established famous writers, what would it be if we all wrote the same? Being unique and drawing from your own perspective and experience in my book, pardon the cheesy pun, is what will make you great and completely appreciated as many here, including myself, do already. I would hate to think I wrote like ANYBODY else - well maybe not Charles Bukowski... but still....

    The fact that you are a problem solver tells a lot, it means that you are creative, such a person will always find solutions - it's just learning where to utilise that skill as a privilege or art as opposed to the people around you taking it for granted and wearing you out. Literally, I do not, and never have suffered from Writers Block, I am lucky, but if I ever did, I would simply write about that. Yesterday, and forgive the length of this response, a frigging hub on its own now, I wanted to give up writing my latest hub about a Spanish Dwarf because a childhood story wasn't coming easily to me, and like you, I nearly deleted it, because I thought it was crap, but I stepped back for an hour and re-approached (that's a word) it, insisting that I will make something out of it. And sure enough I did, a story, not my best writing ever, but nonetheless, unique I'm sure, and amuses me. When you feel like that, save and come back another day in another state of mind, and you will turn it into something you thought might not have been possible. Finally (thank God, I hear you say) from what I have read of your writing and my psycho analyse of you (lol) as well as this very introspective here, I can see that strive to be the best honest you, including writer, that you can be. You can not ask for more than that and you cannot be taught it; it comes only to the wise. Now I have to go, cos I just got an email from the Hubpatron of the Arts to say I've won $50 for one of my stories... have to check that out (so excited only been here a coupla days...) but smiles, I think you're a great writer, and I loved, as I said before, your wrecking ball story, from the very first words as a person who had never read you before.

  • tnderhrt23 profile image


    7 years ago

    poohgranma, I want to thank you for having the courage to share this hub. It is so relevant to me personally at this time...the past few months have been a tempest for me, and I have found myself unable to put two words together to save my soul. Part of it has to do with not having anything "good" to I could relate deeply. But I havent given up and neither should you. I needed to read this today. Thank you!

  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from On the edge

    Epi, your confidence in me is such an inspiration! If it weren't for good friends and colleagues like you I would have never been able to continue writing after my first submission. New writer's such as myself, need guidance, tutoring and care. You have been so generous in all of those areas to so many. Thank you dear man.

    @ Vinaya - I could have named so many writers I am completely blown away by, the list would have gone on for pages. We do have many fine writers at HP and though I didn't mention you by name, you most certainly are one of those! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

    Vinaya Ghimire 

    7 years ago from Nepal

    I was hoping to see my name. LOl

    Well actually I love Saddle Rider, Epigramman, Sunnie Day, Claire, Flora, Snakeslane to name few.

  • epigramman profile image


    7 years ago

    ....well actually my most dear Sherry you write (with conviction, style and class) as good as anyone here at the Hub and it was my lucky day to have found you and have you in my life which has been enriched not only by your support and loyalty but your friendship and your status as an esteemed colleague. I always love your thoughts and how you communicate them - and that makes you in my humble opinion - a writer's writer.

    This valauble piece of writing will be posted to my FACEBOOK page with a direct link back here in order to let the world know how I feel about you.

    Sending you warm wishes and good energy from lake erie time ontario canada 11:01am

  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from On the edge

    bluestar and Hubhappy, thanks so much for stopping by for a read and for your comments. I believe a trickle has started on the rusty old well. Now let's see what comes out the spigot!

  • Hubhappy profile image


    7 years ago

    You wrote what you felt and you wrote it with honesty and beauty. I enjoyed it thoroughly and would like to thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  • thebluestar profile image

    Annette Donaldson 

    7 years ago from Northern Ireland

    Pooh, all writers have one thing in common, the dreaded writers block. Just when you think you have clinched it, the old brain cells go dead again. Everyone of us have our own different catch on what we write. I tend to be hit between the eyes with ideas just as I lay down to sleep. So I always have a note pad and pencil on my bedside cabinet. You write lovely inspiration hubs my friend, in you own powerful style of writing and I love it. So the question I ask "What is writers block", never heard of it. Keep on coming girlfriend.

  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from On the edge

    I am so honored to see so many great writers here taking the time to read my silly little hub. Just my "talking out loud to myself" seems to have a touched a place that everyone goes to from time to time.

    Robert, that is so very true that the writing just appears on the page when I'm motivated, as if some other force guides my fingers to the keys and I have little to do with the process until the editing comes into play. It is that, the "need" that has been missing and we are our own harshest critics. I have always despised mediocre though and in school would rather get an F than a C ... average is so mundane... lol I'm hoping for an inspiration soon as I play with words and ideas float in and out of my mind. Maybe soon.

  • b. Malin profile image

    b. Malin 

    7 years ago

    Well never having read your Hubs before, I did enjoy and ponder what you had to say, Poohgranny. You have your own style, such as we all have and it seems we do get better, more comfortable with age. I look forward to Following your Hubs and hope you will come to my neck of the woods as well.

  • Genna East profile image

    Genna East 

    7 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

    First of all, happy birthday!

    I was shocked at your revelation – not the least reason of which is because I happen to think you are a better writer than I in a number of ways. Keep writing you, Pooh; there is no one else like you, and I do so much enjoy your work. Hugs. :-)

  • stars439 profile image


    7 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

    Dear Phoenix : Your and excellent writer. No matter what you choose to write about, it will be enjoyed, because good writers also have good taste in art, literature, photography, and in so much more. Oh, and by the way, forget about writer's block. It does not exist. God Bless You, and Gary.

  • rwelton profile image


    7 years ago from Sacramento CA

    Pooh -

    How true...when I'm inspired it flows out and I can't write fast a flash flood...and then it is followed by an undetermined period of now...


  • Movie Master profile image

    Movie Master 

    7 years ago from United Kingdom

    Hi Pooh, well I'm glad you didn't delete this one, I have enjoyed reading!

    My best wishes to you, MM

  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from On the edge

    Thanks to all for your comments.

    Many times it is easy to forget that each of us has a style and a talent and that is what makes what we write worthwhile. I always am pleased if others enjoy what I have written, but we must, as babygirl33 said, continue to write for ourselves first, at least in fiction and memoirs. Article writing is a whole other animal ...

  • baygirl33 profile image


    7 years ago from Hamilton On.

    Hi Pooh,

    Nice to see someone thinks like me.However,I must write even if I don't do it well.I am always looking though,at those hubs that strive to teach us how.

    Thanks for that useful hub.

    I wish you a happy life in spite of everything.

  • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

    DeBorrah K Ogans 

    7 years ago

    Poohgranma, You are right; any anyway I do not think that you should write like any of the ones you mentioned! It is nice that you admire them. But, you should write like you!

    There are times when the writing just does not flow... You write very well and I am sure that many others enjoy what you have to say...

    In HIS Love, Grace, Joy, Peace & Blessings!

  • Hyphenbird profile image

    Brenda Barnes 

    7 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    Pooh, I do not get involved in those bitter religious battles either. THAT is part of being older and wiser. I always enjoy your Hubs, even when the subject matter is difficult. Continue writing dear one. Many of us will keep reading.

  • srossjul profile image

    Julie S Ross 

    7 years ago from Irvine, California

    I would say that as a sixty year old person you have the wisdom and experience in life to pass on to the young generation that so much need assistance today. They are lost. They need a grandmother's advise and guidance. Don't give up because your experience is very valuable and we need it badly! On your next HUB give us your experience on raising your children or, dealing with a husband, etc.. I will be waiting for your article!

  • TToombs08 profile image

    Terrye Toombs 

    7 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

    Poohgranma: I have been fighting with some of these same thoughts, you must be a mind reader. Thank you for writing this. And joanwz, sound advice. :o) Voting UP!

  • joanwz profile image

    Joan Whetzel 

    7 years ago

    How easy it is for us to fall into this bad habit of comparing our writing to that of other writers. For what it's worth, you write beautifully. Your flow of ideas here is excellent. Thank you for the reminder to quit comparing ourselves negatively and just be our own best writer.


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