Writing a poem can be stressful like any other project. You want to convey your purpose to the audience. It can be challenging to find new ways to express topics that have been long discussed. I know I have hesitations beginning a new poem because I do not want to overuse phrases that people are tired of reading. I did a little research on some ways to help with the typical issues writers run into when starting (and finishing) poetry.
Stay Away from Cliches
It’s easy to fall into the cycle of using popular phrases to express something abstract. If you’ve heard it a million times, so have your readers. It’s best to avoid cliches because people tend to skim over them, and they never feel what you’re trying to convey.
If your poem is about something intangible - love, fear, friendship - try breaking it down into concrete memories and actions that you can describe. Use adjectives and nouns in a way that sets the scene up for the audience. They should be able to see, hear, taste or feel what you’re describing.
Be original! Quirky, surprising and refreshing lines stick with the reader. They will smile and feel connected to your poem. Certainly the next time a friend asks for a suggestion or they’re searching for some new poetry to check out, your name will be on the list.
Know Your Purpose
Sometimes we start writing when we’re overwhelmed with feelings and it can be chaotic. Before you start writing, like any other project, know what you’re trying to create with your words. Are you describing the beauty of nature around you? Are you expressing your viewpoint on a subjective topic? Are you writing a love note to your significant other? Whatever the purpose is, go in with a clear path of what you want your audience to take away from your poem.
At this beginning stage, maybe you’re not quite sure where you want your poem to go. Try free writing. Write down all your thoughts, feelings, anything that comes to mind about the subject you’ve settled on. Sometimes when we go back and read this, we find a diamond in the rough. See what I did there? Hey, at least it was in Aladdin.
Use Your Surroundings
The best poems I’ve read describe the most mundane things in the most magical ways. Utilize what’s around you. If you’re on the bus, pay attention to the people near you. Normal relationships can spark a great idea. Maybe someone is having a fight, maybe someone is listening to music and dancing. People watch wherever you go.
Spend time in nature. The beauty of the Earth can inspire meaningful words. Switch up where you write. Spend time with people who bring you joy. Especially if you are writing about an abstract feeling, being with someone who makes you feel loved or happy or whatever emotion you’re trying to convey, can help you create concrete metaphors, similes and descriptions.
During my digging, I found a favorite. If you want more advice on writing poetry. check out Jerz’s Literacy Webblog.
So, get to it! Write that poem. Research that book. Outline that story. Everyone is waiting to hear from you. Don’t forget to submit your work to Chantwood!