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So you want to be a poet...

A question I’ve received a few times in comments and via twitter is: “Do you have any advice for a novice poet?”. I do and I don’t. Even though I’ve been writing poetry since a young age and performing at open mics and competitions for about five years now, I still feel like a novice myself. So what I am going to do is share words of wisdom I have received from fellow poets and things that I have experienced first hand about writing. 1. Just write. That’s really the simplest advice that can be given. So, you just started writing poetry and it all sounds like crap to your ears? Well that’s basically how it starts off for most of us. You can’t get better if you don’t consistently push yourself. One day it will all click for a certain poem and you’ll wow your own self!

2. Read and listen to other poets. Doing this will help you expand your own depths as a writer. It opens your mind to alternative styles of writing and acts as inspiration for your next poem (notice I said inspiration, DO NOT PLAGERIZE).

3. Writing prompts. Using a prompt can introduce you to a train of thought you never would have had otherwise. There are tons of great websites that offer prompts. Some of them update daily or weekly. My favorite is Free Write Friday which is hosted by poet & author, Kellie Elmore.

4. Forget about the readers. Write what you want to say. Sometimes if we get too caught up in how our work will be perceived we wind up stressing out about it. Never alter your thoughts, opinions and emotions for the sake of readership. People are drawn to honesty and words they can relate to. My mantra is “If only one person gets something out of it then it was worth writing. Even if that one person is me.”

5. Don’t be too hard on yourself. So, you’ve been writing poetry for a while now and it all sounds like crap to your ears? Your work is probably ten times better than you think it is (am I exaggerating? Eh who knows). Every time I’m skeptical about a piece I wind up getting great feedback. It’s because we are our toughest critics.

6. Just write. I know I said it already but I still think it’s the most important step and needs to be stated twice.

That’s it for now, I don’t want to bore you with my novice attempt at giving novices advice on being novices any longer. I hope you find some assistance in this post, if not…

Share your own tips and experiences with us in the comments below. We can also talk about this on twitter #NovicePoet @talichaj Thanks for reading, I’ll discuss tips for performing poetry in an upcoming post, stay tuned!