Before you start writing, know your Pooker

Do you know your Pooker? It’s who I have in mind every time I sit down to write. You’d be forgiven for thinking that Pooker is some kind of imaginary friend, a kind of “binker” *or “Pig that never was”*, providing inspiration and perhaps companionship during those lonely hours at my desk. But no, Pooker is not a friend in the usual sense; if that were the case it wouldn’t be such a challenge getting him to read every word I write. I know I’ve only got a paragraph, maybe only a few words to get his attention.
It helps if I’ve met one or two of Pooker’s latest circle of friends and can tap them up for what’s getting Pooker fired up at the moment. Pooker’s acquaintances can be found in all sorts of places: in hospital wards, visiting an art gallery, in the student bar – it really depends what’s flavour of the month for Pooker.
Thankfully, I can now stalk him on Twitter and suss out who his current media bedfellows are – although being the fickle fellow he is, these can change on a whim.
What I’ve learnt over the years is that if I really want to get Pooker’s ear, I’ve got to talk his language. He can’t bear it when I try to baffle him with science, or simply don’t get to the point quick enough.

Above all, Pooker likes it best when I give him some nugget which he can share with those he likes to chew the proverbial fat over with; something to help keep him ahead of the pack.

He also likes it when I grasp the challenges he’s facing, and best of all, when I help get the ‘movers and shakers’ on board with his latest passion.
Pooker comes in many guises; he’s often illusive and he’s undoubtedly my harshest critic; but despite all the effort required, it’s never too long before I’m tapping away again at my keyboard trying to get Pooker’s attention.
Pooker’s name has been imprinted on my brain since attending a National Union of Students feature writing course, many moons ago. And in case you haven’t guessed it by now, ‘Pooker’, dear reader, is you (and yes, ‘he’ can be a ‘she’, too! ).

** A A Milne, ‘Binker’
Nanette Newman, ‘The pig that never was’.

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