Constance/ May 1, 2018/ National Poetry Month, Writing/ 1 comments

Writing Journal

And so National Poetry Month winds to a close. How did your month go? Did you accomplish all you wished? I have an awful lot of poem starts, one to four lines of the beginning of a poem. I found I work quite effectively this way, getting the idea down then coming back at a calmer time to flesh it out.

I used to believe you had to write an entire draft of a poem in one sitting. And sometimes the poem comes out that way. It’s interesting to write in short bursts, because when you come back the poem start leads to another burst of creativity. Except when it doesn’t. Those I put away for another day. I found trying to force the poem into being a complete first draft was forcing me to cut it to shreds when I went back to edit. Those first blushes of ideas were often predictable and cliche ridden.  It killed inspiration dead.

I know, I hear you saying, but that is what editing is for. Indeed it is. But I’m the impatient sort. Here’s my initial idea, get it down, come back, write more, maybe come back again to write more, then put it away for a while. Which gives me a lot of poems to edit. Which I love to do. I like writing, but I like rewriting much better. Yes, I am wired backwards, why do you ask?

Sometimes the little fragments sit a while. They are kind of like sourdough starter, bubbling and percolating before being formed, shaped and baked. Of course the danger is looking at that one perfect (in my mind) sentence, and never coming up with a worthy poem to go with it. So they become turning points in a different poem. No idea is gold, they are there to be used. An unfulfilled poem line is a sad and lonely thing.

How do you go about writing poems? Full burst of creativity – a poem in a sitting? Scattered fragments. Divine inspiration? So many ways to do things. I’m sure I’ll change my method in the future, because one thing writing has taught me, there is no wrong door.

1 Comment

  1. I like that statement that there is no wrong door. I also like your sourdough starter metaphor. I tend to write poems as one full piece in a burst that then must be edited later. I do have a little notebook for ideas that I occasionally mine; I love collecting random phrases that interest me. When I can honor an idea that hits me at the time it arrives, that’s when I do my best work. When it has to sit and wait for me to come back to it, I sometimes lose that initial excitement, but then I can find other ways to deepen the piece, so I don’t think any one method is better than the other.

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