Poetry became my place of solitude, my haven of comfort, and my place of putting healing into words when I was 12 years old. My first poem was about Massie Block from The Clique Series and it rhymed something terrible, but I was incredibly proud of it.
After my excitement in rhyming, I began writing poetry about my inner feelings and thoughts, that I didn’t quite know how to express. There were poems of confusion, pain, love, prayers, and worship. I remember I owned a legal pad and I would write and write and later began throwing them away because they felt too personal and I didn’t want my words to betray feelings I didn’t realize I could have. (This isn’t to say that my feelings were suppressed as a 12 year-old, I just wasn’t aware of my ability to express emotions because I thought people wouldn’t “approve” of my own emotions or rather I didn’t want questions about my poetry.)
Over the years, as I’ve grown as a writer, I’d like to think there are some lessons I’ve learned along the way to inspire other poets out there.
So, I decided to write a post about what I’ve learned in writing poetry the last 12 years or so of my life.
Lessons in Poetry
- Writing short or long poetry holds no weight to the value and importance of a poem.
- Emulating other poets can be good, but knowing your own voice is important.
- Reading other poets does make for better poetry and does indeed spark inspiration when you desperately need it.
- Learning from poets who’ve been writing poetry much longer than you is important. My writing professor is my go-to and he’s quite literally Da Best.
- Personal experience can lend to great poetry and self-exploration(i.e. emotions, mental awareness, and even spiritual awareness).
- Reading classical poets is a joy and challenge. Classical poets existed before Instagram poets and there is still so much beauty and truth to glean from them and their human experience.
- Getting over sharing your work with other people is a must. Feedback is good and critics will always exist, just find the ones who offer criticism worth listening to.
- Writing everyday needs to be a constant. (I’m still working on this. it can be difficult, especially when I don’t feel like writing.)
- Giving yourself time to reflect, breathe, and be still can make a difference. Allow your mind to rest, quiet your soul, and be aware of what can be said, should be said, what God is saying.
- Trusting your creativity changes the game. Believe in yourself, your voice, and your words. Believe in how the best Creator ever created you.
Let me know in the comments what are some of the things you’ve learned from writing poetry. These are just some of my personal lessons that have marked the last 10 years or so of my experience.
“Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.” T.S. Eliot