It's been a while. I'm (trying to get) back. Back to poetry. Where do I start?
Hello. I haven't written in so long.
I don't know why I abandoned poetry writing. This site has a large, engaged audience and in a way, I deserted people. I'm sorry.
Regardless, I am here and I am ready to write. The problem is: I'm not exactly sure how to get back into it.
Here is the outline of my plan to start writing poetry again after a long pause:
Let's elaborate on how I'll do each of these.
1. Grab a notepad and a pen (or, a digital notepad)
Once I made the decision to begin writing again, an exercise of keeping things top of mind becomes the path to success. So whether it's a pad and pen, or the notes app on my phone, I'm going to make sure I always have the ability to jot down an idea. This means:
- anytime I conceive a potential topic for a story or poem, I'll write it down
- anytime I hear a word I want to use, I'll write it down
- anytime an analogy pops into my head, I'll write it down
- anytime I hear something that provokes deep thought, stirs controversy or difference of opinion, or deserves further exploration - I'll write it down
The idea here is that I don't want to forget my thoughts, particularly those that lend to my poetry. So often as I'm falling asleep or when I'm at work and hear something, I think, "oh yeah, I should write about that" -- but then I forget what it was. So from here on out, I'll document all the things!
2. Re-read and re-listen to a dozen or more of my poems
Doubling back to revisit my previous work is going to help me eliminate my imposter syndrome and craft lines that I can be proud of once again.
Taking a break from writing has given me self-doubt; I question whether I can still do what I once did. I need to eliminate that big ball of bullshit, and the first step in doing so is to remind myself that I have a talent and I simply need to resurface it.
So I am going to write down - in that digital pad I'm using - a dozen or more poems I have written and performed that I know have engaged audiences. I am going to seek the ones that have unique, tight lines and really use poetic devices to convey feelings and perspectives.
Then I am going to spend time examining each. I am going to write down the specific parts of each that evoke emotion, that really drive connection. This is a reminder of what it is that makes poetry an art and so as I move to write again, I can consciously remind myself to examine each word and ensure its place and power.
3. Listen to 20+ slam poems from other authors and performers
I can't be my only inspiration -- otherwise my poems exist in an echo chamber.
I don't promote plagiarism. However, there is much to be learned from the styles other poet's leverage to get their points across and it can add to my own diversity.
Whether it's a really good topic, an approach to using a metaphor, a unique word that resonates, or a stage mannerism, other poets can influence my ability to deliver great work and heighten my skillset.
I am choosing to listen to a diverse set of twenty or more poems from different authors, both new and old. All have something to teach, share, or impart. At the very least, I will be inspired by the amazing work others have shared with the world.
4. Revisit 5+ tip-related blogs on writing slam poetry
Over the years, I have tried to help aspiring poets and authors in their craft. In doing so, I wrote a number of articles that contain tips for writing slam poems. Perhaps I need to eat some of my own dog food. These are the articles I am going to use:
I seem to have a thing with numbers...I should write that down.
While reading each of these, I will document small notes in my virtual pad to ensure I remember my own best practices and incorporate them into my writing revival.
5. Identify a muse
Once I've completed the first four steps, I'll have to do some actual thinking of my own. I need to identify a muse - a source of inspiration. In essence, my muse answers the question, "What should I write about?"
Looking back through my notes will help me identify potential topics I have thought about. And if I'm really - really - at a loss for a topic, I'll just have to go and eat some of my own dog food again: (tons and tons of) Topics for Slam Poetry.
Given the pandemic we've all now experienced, I have the feeling there will be no shortage of issues and themes for my next several pieces.
6. Put pen to paper
I probably don't hav to explain this one. I've done my research. I've found my muse. Now it's time to get it out.
A word of warning here, though, for the author who has been on hiatus: don't be too harsh of your own critic. (OK, this is directly a shot at myselft)
I'm rusty. Out of practice. A little lost. But, it's OK. I remember who I am and I have all the tools. I just have to give myself enough time to get it right, so my last piece of advice:
Don't rush. Easy does it.
Good luck, everyone. I can't wait to start cranking out new material for you!