For the first time since I graduated university, I’ve been writing poetry. For fun.
It was much easier when I was in university, taking several poetry classes and being surrounded by ideas and inspiration. Funny how, when you’re up to your eyeballs reading, analysing and dissecting poetry, it just flows out of you all the time. You carry a pen around with you in order to record the stray ribbons of language and art flitting in and out of your head. Your lecture notes start to turn into a blank verse poem, inspired by one of the professor’s tangents.
These post-grad days with the jobby job and the completely unstructured days, it can be like drawing water from a stone. A line of a poem will surface on a walk; whilst driving to work; in the middle of slinging a latte, and evaporates like mist when you try to remember it later. Frustration ensues.
This is why, as part of my “Write More” New Year’s Resolution, I’ve been writing a poem a day since the first of January. No matter what drivel results from the translation between head and paper, I write it down. Some of the poems are weak and others are okay, but the point of the exercise is to just do it and work at it, since writing is a craft like any other and a muscle that needs to be flexed.
Sometimes I have this romantic misconception about being a Writer; that it’s all elegantly crafted sentences and word choices that shine like jewels. That it’s sitting with your pen and paper scribbling bits of genius or your fingers flying like birds at the keyboard. True, it can be quite nice to have talent but it can be bloody hard work, which is what has been keeping me from writing for a long time. It’s tearing out your hair sometimes; doodling in the margins; checking Facebook for the umpeenth time; staring at that blinking cursor on your Word Processor as if it contains life’s answers; writing down whatever comes into your head even if you hate the crap out of it.
Musicians take time to tune their instruments before performing; they spend many a laborious hour shut up in their studios, repeating scales, working through the squeaks and flat notes before playing a beautiful piece of music. And so writers must also get over their egos and self-imposed blocks and continue tapping away or scratching drivel, just to keep that creative muscle strong.
I’m hoping that, at the end of my Poem-a-Day experiment, I’ll have some solid ideas and pieces to work with, and then I’ll start sending them out to poetry anthologies or writing programs. Or maybe I’ll start doing that sooner. In the meantime, I’m in a Writing Circle currently but would like to expand to other writing groups, open mic poetry readings, or writing support groups, either online or otherwise. Does anyone know of anything cool?