I consider poetry a lifestyle, not just a hobby. What makes this more of a lifestyle for me is that writing affects my mindset; absorbing my thoughts and emotions. I believe that’s where we start; the brain, being pliable, molds a meditating and empathic mind through poetry. As flexible as the mind is, we still suffer from what we call “writer’s block”; I will list ways that I deal with this in the last few paragraphs.
To answer the topic question, we start with the right frame of mind: we must possess the desire to challenge ourselves. Along with that, I stress the importance of focus. Mine is, as mentioned in other posts, to find and communicate the beauty of what I see around me; and the expression of this beauty is influenced by perspective.
STEAL FROM THE RICH
This is yet another prerequisite for me: self improvement. Without growth, my poetry would remain stale and the act of writing would become tedious, as my perspective would never change. The key to growth is learning through active thought and, in the case of poetry, stealing. Stealing, translated from the “romantic” context – take from the poetry you enjoy reading to write better poems.
FINDING YOUR IDENTITY
I believe that, with the traits that I had before writing poetry, the act of writing only accentuated the qualities I described here. Let’s figure out how we can help you adopt the mindset that make the poet more of an artist.
HOW TO PREPARE
Here’s a piece of advice for readying your mind to write poetry – read. Designate a given time to read and analyze poetry, 30 minutes or up to an hour a day; take apart your favorite writing and figure out why it affects you the way it does. Read my post “Tips for Beginner Poets” and scroll down to the “Word Economy” section for more information.
For me, the primary components of poetry that catch my attention are rhythm, rhyme and tone of voice. A focus in these aspects of poetry came with a few drawbacks – it’s difficult for me to establish setting and maintain that setting. Plot also suffers a bit, which, in turn, has a negative effect on comprehension. My advice here is to tackle one aspect of poetry a day, then assign one day to assemble everything you’ve learned. If story telling is your forte, I recommend paying attention to how your writing sounds out loud while writing your poetry.
HOW TO START!
Build a habit of overthinking, because, with poetry, you’ll be doing a lot of revising. I start my poetry with an experience, an image and an interpretation of the two; one that I connect with, but because I focus so much on the melodious aspect of my poetry, I lose myself in the imagery and rhythm alone. I believe this may be the cause of my own writer’s block – desperately attempting to write a certain way, when it doesn’t come naturally, impedes the flow of words onto paper. I have this advice for both you and myself (I’m learning while writing this!) – when experiencing writer’s block, write. Write whatever comes to mind, and, as counterproductive as this may sound, forget about what you’re trying to write for a second. The topic is unimportant when you have writer’s block. Explore the stream of consciousness route when you’re starting out with a poem. As for advice when you’re in the middle of a poem and find yourself stuck, I find that resetting my mind works well. What I mean is, read your poem over and put your mind where it was when you began writing.
Thanks for reading!
I’ll dedicate an entire post to writer’s block soon!
Writer’s Block: Poetry and Food for Thought
The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer’s Block, and the Creative Brain
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