Wednesday, January 4, 2017

I Wrote A Poem Every Day in December!

How it all started:
  • a friend of a friend of mine has an Instagram account for her cat, with a twist: every time she posts a picture of her cat, she captions it with a haiku. 
  • NaNoWriMo was going on, and while NaNo still kind of scares me, I've gotten closer and closer to doing it, and I liked the idea of writing something every day.
  • I've also been thinking about and writing more poetry lately, and I wanted to do more of it.
So I thought, why not try doing a sort of poem diary thing, and write a poem every day in December? I only missed two days, and by the end of December I ended up with 29 poems, which is more poems than I've written since like, 2011.

So, here are some things that I learned while doing this December poem diary project:

1. I have no idea how to actually write poems

I realized while doing this project that while I write poems, I haven't really studied it or read about how to write poems or anything. I don't really know the techniques or the various structures or anything beyond what I learned in middle school. That brings me to my next point...

2. I should read more poetry

Poetry is a weird thing, because it's not something that I've been taught to sit down and read for fun. The most interaction I've had with poetry is in various English classes I've taken, and I really enjoy that but I don't take the time to do it on my own. But poetry can be really powerful, and I really want to read more of it. One of the things that has made me consider buying poetry books (like North End Love Songs by Katherena Vermette) is the enthusiasm of one of the hosts on Literary Disco for poetry. It made me think, oh, people buy and read poetry books for fun? I guess I could do that... I'm always looking for ways to expand my reading tastes!

3. You can be inspired every day if you look for it

There's this idea that floats around that if you wait, inspiration will just come to you. And sometimes it does, but sometimes you have to work for it. Every night I would sit down with my notebook and think, okay, what happened today? What thoughts or feelings did I have today that I want to capture? And then I would try my best to put it into a poem. Once I actually sat down and tried to think of things to write, there was a lot more to write about than I thought.

4. It is a lot harder to think of ideas if you don't go outside

What's that saying? In order to write, you need to live? Well, since I was off school for a lot of December, I spent a lot of time just at home, and it is really hard to think of ideas for a daily poem when you don't do much in the day... so basically, get outside! See the world!

5. Writing helps process things

Last year I had to watch an interview with Miriam Toews for a class, and in that interview she talked about how each of the books she's written have helped her process things in her own life. (Watch that interview, and then read her books Swing Low: A Life, All My Puny Sorrows and A Complicated Kindness.) I've never really had that experience until this year, with the book I wrote, and this poem diary thing. It is interesting looking back on the poems I wrote this month and seeing how there's a theme woven through it, and how the poems are about struggling with something at the beginning of the month to accepting it and being more content at the end.

Just some things I learned! What have you learned while writing lately?

1 comment:

  1. Hmm. I've done some poetry, and taken a few classes. It's good to get into that kind of habit -- hooray for you!

    Honestly I think reading poetry is the best way to both learn about it and not criticize yourself too heavily when writing it. There's so much out there! And it's all so different! :)


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