Do you feel like your poetry is weak or that no one will be able to relate to your experiences? Or do you just have a hard time coming up with ideas that feel good enough? Poetry is one of the most difficult things to write because it is so personal and intimate. It’s hard to share a piece of yourself if you’re worried that others might shoot it down. But if you shoot everything down yourself, you are taking away your own opportunity to develop your talent. Find a quiet room, take a deep breath, and follow these steps for writing open, personal poetry.
- Turn off your inner critic. Before you begin writing, tell yourself that you are okay with whatever you write. Your poetry gives a voice to your subconscious, and if you judge it as you’re writing it, you’re likely to stifle yourself. Commit yourself to just writing down whatever comes out. Remember, famous poets, like E. Cummings or William Carlos Williams, would never have become famous if they gave in to their own insecurities or the jibes of others who didn’t like or understand their styles or experiences.
- Let your poetry marinate. After you’ve recorded your thoughts on paper, put it down and take some time before you return to it for revision. This allows your poetry to stew in your mind for a while, and taking the extra time may allow new connections or ideas occur to you that wouldn’t have if you tried to revise it right away. Of course, if you feel like you’re really into the flow of writing and want to revise immediately, you can do that as well. You can even revise partway and save the rest for later. The important thing is that you’re letting your brain do what it wants to do without judgment or pressure.
- Put on your editing hat. Since writing poetry is builds up and editing poetry breaks down, it usually helps to separate the two acts. After you’ve had enough time to mill around your poem in your head, return to it for revision. Try to not be too critical of your own writing; imagine that you are editing a poem for a friend. Be generous and kind to yourself.
- Stay active. Of course, the best way to improve your poetry is to write and read poetry often. Reading poetry often will expose you to styles and voices that resonate with you, and writing poetry often will help you to develop your skills. When you feel confident enough in your writing, ask a few close friends to read over your writing and give you feedback. It helps even more to find a group of other poets and writers who can offer each other feedback and support. Plus, reading other people’s poetry will help you to expand your worldview and understand yourself and others better.
Are you confident enough to share your poetry with the world? Consider submitting it to our poetry contest and show your work to the world! Visit our Facebook and Twitter pages for updates and more information.