Watching the world evolve as we get used to the restrictions has given me hope this week. People are filling their time not only with endless household chores but are starting to look for other opportunities to occupy their time. As I see more posts of items created, it's gratifying to see that people are understanding the value of doing these activities and enjoying themselves trying something new.
How can writing poetry help?
In particular, I’ve noticed people trying their hands at poetry as a way to communicate how they feel about the current situation. Not everyone feels able to talk about it, in fact some find it incredibly difficult to convey the anxiety and fear that they are experiencing. Using poetry can be a simple way to express these emotions, whilst exercising the creative side of the brain at the same time.
As many of us are finding, despite how awful and disturbing this situation is, we are also discovering ways to cope and create happy moments too - adding these parts in to your writing would be a great way to capture the memories and moments of isolation and how you got through it.
This is something you can also practice with children, who sometimes find it hard to talk about these things too.
So how do you even start to put together a poem?
Here are my top tips for getting going:
- Think about words that appeal to you, that describe the emotions you are feeling or situations you are experiencing. Write them in a simple list
- Decide whether you want your poem to be rhyming or not. If you do, look at your list and see if any words fit together or rhyme
- Think a little about structure, only in the sense of how long you want a verse to be, for example 3,4,7, lines or you may just want one long verse. It doesn’t matter which you choose, but once you’ve made that decision be consistent to give rhythm to the poem and not make it clunky.
- Think about what story you are telling; do you want it to be an optimistic poem or do you literally want to convey all your fears? How do you want the reader to feel afterwards? (only if you are planning on others reading it of course)
- Next, just get the first draft down, don’t worry about any bits that feel not quite right yet, get it down first and edit after
- When making edits, read it out-loud to yourself first, you’ll soon find parts that don’t naturally flow, underline them and then you can come back to these parts when you edit.
- The final test is once you’ve finished, leave it and come back to it the next day, read it out loud again and you might notice something new that you’d like to change.
- Once you are completely happy with it, either write it up on a fresh piece of paper or type it up, add doodles or pictures to it if you like, and even frame it if it brings you comfort and happiness during these time.
- And finally, if you are feeling brave then share it – you’ll be surprised by how many are feeling exactly the same and you may just inspire others to have a go.
When writing poetry, words are in shorter supply than say a short story, so it really makes you think carefully about the most appropriate ones to choose, what gets the point across best, how can you refine your words to make it stronger?
Her are two examples from friends of mine , both with a completely different approach , just to give you an idea.
But please remember this is about process not perfection – you don’t have to become ‘Wordsworth’ overnight, find your own style and just run with it.
And the extra bonus?
Not only will writing poetry help you to process your thoughts but you will also experience what I call the ‘active mindfulness’ of flow, which in essence means whilst focusing on doing something creative, you get lost in the moment, shutting off all that annoying mind-chatter and entering a state of calm – which I think we could all do with right now.
Happy creating, Juliet, The Curious Creative x
To discover more ways to bring the magic of creativity into your life, check out my website for a whole host inspiring posts and resources: