MTW Guest Post: Robbie Cheadle’s Advice on Poetry


I said in the introduction to Khristina Atkinson’s guest post that just about anything could happen in these, and here’s proof: advice on writing poetry! This isn’t anything I have any experience with myself, though I’ve actually got to know quite a variety of poets through reading flash fiction at open mics. This post might also be of interest to anybody writing children’s books, as Robbie and Michael’s own are written in rhyme.

Advice on Writing Poetry

I have never really given much thought to how to go about writing poetry. Writing poetry has always been something I just did, from long and flowery descriptive poems when I was a teenager to limericks and poems about corruption and life as an adult. As I have grown older, and as I have been assisting my 13 year old study, I have learned a little bit more about the different types of poems like haikus, sonnets and metaphorical poems. That last one, metaphorical poems, really captured my fancy and I have written a few of these. I have always written poetry in a rhyming form, either with every two lines rhyming AA, BB or every second line rhyming AB, AB or every second line rhyming and the lines in between not rhyming AB, AC or AB, CB. I like poetry that rhymes and this is how poems usually form in my head. I have written a few free style poems recently, based on poetry written by other, very talented people that I have come across but I still like my old style rhyming poetry the best. I have also tried a bit of experimentation, and taken a format for a poem, such as a metaphorical poem, and amended it as I see fit. This is in keeping with my general disregard for rules and ability to make my own.

So what tips can I give anyone who is wanting to write poetry? First and foremost, write from the heart. In the past I have always written about sights that generate intense emotions in me. When this happens the idea for a poem usually pops into my mind almost fully formed and I just flesh it out and write it down. Due to the fact that I like to write in rhyming verse, sometimes I have to tweak the wording to make a poem work and sometimes I google words that rhyme with some other word and get a bit of inspiration for a rhyme but most of the time this is not necessary. I started blogging about five months ago and there are lots and lots of prompts for poetry and writing that fly about. I have started participating in one weekly prompt as I think it is good practice for me to try and “write on demand”.

I think that people who write have a more intense view of the world. They see people, situations, actions and re-actions more clearly and are able to build on these experiences in their writing. I always try to write positive and uplifting poems as I see no point in being negative.

There are a few other things that spring to mind when I think of poetry do’s and don’ts. These are as follows:

  1. I like to use similes, metaphors and personification in my poetry. I think it makes it more interesting and fun;
  2. I never use cliché’s and I also avoid using idioms as these are old and boring;
  3. Avoid being sentimental; and
  4. Try and see things differently so that you can capture them in a new and exciting way in your poetry.

One of my favourite poems, is one I wrote for one of my sister’s fortieth birthday last year. I come from a family of four sisters and there has been lots of sibling rivalry and emotional ups and downs over the years. I read out this poem to the gather friends and family and each sister had to stand and have a downer when any line was read that applied to her. Needless to say we were all slightly potted after this but it was great fun.

Here is the poem:

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

A sister is …

a thief, stealing attention that is rightfully yours;


a port in a storm, when your house of cards falls;
a fountain of knowledge – your problems, not hers;


a megaphone whose voice is louder than yours;
an expert on everything you try for the first time;


a comedian who’ll dance and make you laugh till you cry;
a cloths horse, specially when she’s borrowed your clothes;


a home where your children are always welcome;


a confidant with whom you share secrets and hopes;


a purse to help you out of a bind;


a competitor who always shines brighter than you;


an advisor when your spirit’s battered and bruised;


a shoulder to cry on when life lets you down;

a beauty queen, who’s face is fairer than yours;


a diary of shared memories, the old and the new;


a voice of reason, when yours has taken a day off;


a provider of wine, in good times and bad;


an embarrassment who recalls your drunken antics;


an artist, who’ll make up your face, if you beg;


the best thing anyone could ask for.


Robbie and Michael Cheadle have written twelve children’s books, of which the first two are published. The stories are written in rhyming verse and the books also contain five simple recipes that children can make under adult supervision.

Sir Chocolate books

There are currently two books available in the Sir Chocolate series, as follows:

Book 1: Sir Chocolate and the strawberry cream berries story and cookbook


Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet live in Chocolate land where you can eat absolutely everything. Join them on a fantastic adventure to find the amazing strawberry cream berry and learn how to make some of their scrumptious recipes at the same time.

Book 2: Sir Chocolate and the baby cookie monster story and cookbook


Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet find a lost baby cookie monster. Join them on an adventure to return the baby to its mother and learn how to make some of their delicious recipes at the same time.

Book 3: Sir Chocolate and the sugar dough bees story and cookbook – available March 2017


A greedy snail damages the flower fields and the fondant bees are in danger of starving. Join Sir Chocolate on an adventure to find the fruit drop fairies who have magic healing powers and discover how to make some of his favourite foods on the way.

You can purchase the Sir Chocolate books from:




TSL Publications:

You can buy them in South Africa directly from the authors by emailing Robbie Cheadle at



  1. Pingback: MTW Guest Post: Robbie Cheadle’s Advice on Poetry – Robbie's inspiration
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