The Writer Hype Cycle

You have said you’re coming to Rogue Strands, yeah? I know you’ve probably committed to it in your head, but let us know here or via some sort of mail or media…

Right, so bear with me as I’m typing this in the throes of what can only be described as the ‘Mother of all hangovers’. And it’s my wedding anniversary. These things are not related.

We’ll fix it in the edit
I’ve been thinking about editing a lot this week, partially because I’m trying to challenge myself to stop going back to old poems and re-editing them. I’d far rather be working on newer things, the stuff I’ve started since I started getting better at this (Long way to go, obvs). It feels like I’ve been getting better at this poetry lark in the last couple of years and while I’ve made loads of notes for new poems, I’ve largely been working on a poems that predate this – stuff that was ok, but needed working on to make it good. I’ve kind of done that now, but find I’m going back to the stuff I rejected and trying to make that workable, useable, etc.

I can’t work out (without some expensive psycho-analysis/more booze) if it’s because I want to keep hold of the idea that there was gold in them there hills or if I’m scared of committing to the new work. It’s probably easier to work on stuff that already exists rather than construct something from the nebulous ideas that float about in my notebooks/emails, etc.

It’s probably a bit from column A and a bit from Column B…all the way through to column ZZZ (Imagine this string of letters 16,384 characters long – that’s how many columns there are in Excel).

In a slightly tenuous link, it was quite pleasing to see this exchange between two poets on the Twitters this week about revising old work. It’s reassuring to see that poets of Jack’s calibre still think about rejigging work, or that they would want to do things differently having grown as a writer. It’s obvious, but it’s good to know it’s something more successful (whatever the measure) writers contemplate.

If you’re Hype-y and you know it
At the same time as I saw the chain of tweets above, I also saw an article on MR Web (sadly, not my own website. It’s a market research site) that contained a copy of the Gartner Hype Cycle. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned the GHC before, but it’s essentially a look at how quickly emergent technologies might reach widespread adoption. It comes up every now and then in my day job when we’re talking about eg new TV services or platforms.

How do Hype Cycles work? – Taken from the Gartner website
Each Hype Cycle drills down into the five key phases of a technology’s life cycle.

Innovation Trigger: A potential technology breakthrough kicks things off. Early proof-of-concept stories and media interest trigger significant publicity. Often no usable products exist and commercial viability is unproven.

Peak of Inflated Expectations: Early publicity produces a number of success stories — often accompanied by scores of failures. Some companies take action; many do not.

Trough of Disillusionment: Interest wanes as experiments and implementations fail to deliver. Producers of the technology shake out or fail. Investments continue only if the surviving providers improve their products to the satisfaction of early adopters.

Slope of Enlightenment: More instances of how the technology can benefit the enterprise start to crystallize and become more widely understood. Second- and third-generation products appear from technology providers. More enterprises fund pilots; conservative companies remain cautious.

Plateau of Productivity: Mainstream adoption starts to take off. Criteria for assessing provider viability are more clearly defined. The technology’s broad market applicability and relevance are clearly paying off.

The Gartner Hype Cycle is mapped out something like this.

I’ve always been interested in the GHC and it struck me this week that in many ways it’s a lot like writing a poem. You might recognise this process. I shall call it the Writer Hype Cycle (WHC) for now—until I can think of a pun.

The Writer Hype Cycle

I may have to build on this at some point and introduce some of the feedback loops that need factoring in, or I might just realise I’ve been talking utter bollocks.

I have got a poem based on the GHC. If it ever finds a home somewhere I will post it up here. I know, I know—what a tease!!

A funny thing happened on the way home
Last night was a wonderful evening in the company of the good folks at HappenStance press. I finally had the honour of meeting the lovely Nell Nelson, but the stars of the show were the two poets launching their respective pamphlets: Martha Kapos and Katherine Towers.

A proper review will come at some point, but I was very taken with the varying reading styles of both poets, both were excellent readers.

Martha’s work is new to me, but is something I intend to find out more about. Katherine’s excellent second collection, The Remedies, is something I knew about already. My copy has many turned over corners, and reading in on the train into town last night reminded me that I should go back it again.

I’ll leave the book reviews to others, especially as I’ve not had a chance to read Katherine’s pamphlet yet, but based on her reading from it, I know that I will enjoy it immensely.

It was wonderful to be in such a packed room with people transfixed on the poets as they read. I certainly hope we can manage to do the same in November.

I very much enjoyed meeting other poets afterwards, including DA Prince, Charlotte Gann, Oliver Comins and Barbara Cumbers and talking about the Periodic Table, notes in poems and geology.

After the reading, I made it to Penge for my friend Jamie’s birthday do and was viciously mugged by a gang of various boozes. Hence the headache today.

Anyhoo, Happy Wedding anniversary to the most mind-boggling wonderful woman – Rachael Riches. 12 years. Crumbs. Apparently (HE SWIFTLY GOOGLES) it’s Silk and Linen. Well, the bedsheets are linen. And I’ve slipped into my silkiest grundies*, so all is well.

* Scratty pyjamas.


  1. Priority Seat
  2. Orthopaedic Hovercraft (Credit to my wife for this one)
  3. The Screaming of Rhubarb
  4. Darkness on the Edge of Tans
  5. Burnt Parsnips


17K running – Missed a run this week due to a visiting mother

0 Poems worked on Nada, nowt, zilch. Although, half an idea about a combination of Unwinese and Nadsat.

27 days without cigarettes. May have smoked yesterday, but it’s a blip.

1 rejection email – From Primers. There’s a magnificent looking shortlist of poets though, so I can’t wait to see who gets chosen.

1 flurry of submissions – Now I have a load of poems back I can send a load out again. That’s how it works

1 introduction to Stanley Unwin I’m pleased to have introduced someone to the work of Sir Stanley…

1 review published – Jane Lovell’s This Tilting Earth

1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green


The Doomed City by Arkady & Boris Strugatsky
Island of Towers, Clarissa Aykroyd


Not a lot, couple of Dublin Murders and a Rugby World Cup final..

Listened to:
Vetiver, Up on High, Thing of the Past
REM, Monster
Michael Kiwanuka, Kiwanuka
Anna Meredith, Fibs
808 State, Transmission Suite
and of course, The Archers…