Recently, I started using Reddit. One of the first topics I encountered was sub-redit about poetry advice for beginners. There was a lot of complex advice I believe no beginner can fathom.
What makes an amateur is his lack of structure and technical detail related to the subject at hand. Amateur is amateur because he has interest, but no knowledge about subject. This is one of best things that can happen to amateur poetry writer.
I always believed in my intuition. It guided me through hell and back. Even though, no matter how though I try to be, I never discarded my childish side. Hell, if it wasn’t for it, I wouldn’t be writing today. Today there is to many poetry advice concerned with complexities of mature style or literal theory. Amateurs know nothing about it. I believe that amateurs in any discipline or any activity should be thought to detrimental things for transcending the state of amateurism. Two things any amateur has to master to stop being an amateur are:
- Work habits
- Tapping into imagination
Life is weird. You know how in anime main characters practically trains a lot to achieve new level of power? Well, life kind of works like that. You have to work your ass for results. There is no other way. You want to write poetry? Need poetry advice? Well my friend, you need to work, and work hard.
When I look back at my writing beginnings, I could say intuitively I knew I should form working habits. Since my beginning in writing I wrote almost every day. You don’t have to do it every day, but make sure you write at least five times a week. I know this sounds hard, or even like an elitist regiment but bare with me.
First, how are you going to get better if you don’t work constantly? Just how?
Let’s take an example:
If you write three times a week, for about 2 hours best, especially as an amateur, you get the following:
3*2=6. That means you invest 6 hours weekly to write poetry. That in itself would be some good poetry advice. It isn’t enough. You have to write more. What if you wrote five days per week for two hours? That would be 10 hours per week, times 4 weeks a month, which equals to 40 hours monthly of writing. That’s better, lot better. Yet, an amateur writer has no work methodology, no habits and ritual regular writers cling to. How will he make it? Will he just write poems for 2 hours a day? No.
Some basic structure for those two hours could be:
30 minutes of scribbles – Scribbles are fantastic tool for new writers. Scribbles can be used to improve you poetic imagery. Scribbles are word play that allow you to inspect and analyze words. Scribbles work like this:
Take word water for example. Write it down and then write all associations you have on word water. Next, I’m going to pick one or several of associations and use it to form poetic imagery. Scribbles is tool for practice, but you could actually use it as a part of your writing methodology.
Water – Ocean, cold, tranquil, beach, glass
Ocean is a dear word of mine, so I’ll go with it. Scribbles should let you on an interesting fact. Language is universal, but language is conveyed through us as beings. We can speak and understand language, but what’s even more fascinating is that we can understand words on individual level, even change their meaning. So, be free to do so. This is your writing, your poetry, your way of expressing yourself.
Example: I pick word Ocean. Personally, for me ocean is the essence of water. Ocean harvests what is truth of all water. But what is ocean? How can I describe it? Even more so describe it in such fashion to convey what Ocean means for me? Let’s use Scribbles again. However, this time we will use word we already have to describe the words that can be later used for creation of poetic imagery.
Ocean – vast, lord of lords, one that is all, blue
Note: Please forgive me for such weird choice of words, but this is my poetry and this is how I feel Being itself. I can’t fight it and I don’t won’t. After that, just play with your Scribbles and you’ll be able to write a fresh and fascinating poetic imagery.
Admired is Ocean,
deserts are times of bones
vast, but lord of lords,
one that is all rests within
Blue, He is the perseverance
Scribbles are great because they allow you to play with words and actually fight back the writer’s block. For more advice on that, check this post.
60 minutes of pure writing – Following hour is used for actual writing. Best poetry advice for writing poems is to have a general outline. Though I believe in that poetry is discovery of self and therefore each poet should create his own way of writing, amateurs won’t be able to perform on this level. For amateurs, I would advise to try and describe your dominant feeling or event you are very close to. Try to singe out a moment in cluster of thoughts that you feel is most relevant and important.
When writing poetry it’s important is to remain calm and patient. Try to ease up, don’t pressure yourself to it. If you do so, you’ll fail without mistake. Best poetry advice is to just ease up and write. Let it flow.
30 minutes of editing – Use the last part of writing to review your work. While it’s important to have other people read your work, it’s of equal importance to learn to do this yourself. This will help you:
- Develop your style
- Easier navigation through your work
- It will teach you discipline
- Teach you self-reliance
Beginner shouldn’t be concerned with rules of editing. What you’ll be doing won’t be editing in its contemporary meaning. This is process for you to train you writer’s sense and eye. Just like Spiderman know when hell is about to be cut loose, you should know when you are in hell with your writing. Just read what you wrote and ask yourself following questions:
Are all stanzas in perfect order?
Can I change something?
Is there anything to add?
Does my poem flow?
Am I satisfied with it.
Try this advice for few months and work on your writing habits. You won’t be an amateur anymore.
Other part of advice concerns itself with tapping into your imagination.
Well, a lot of it can be said about what imagination is. By imagination here I don’t mean to find a psychologically operative definition of term. I’m not interested in that. I’m interested in giving you a scoop on how to always be inspired. That sounds unreal, but it isn’t.
Let’s examine something. You are a writer right? Even more so, a poet? That sounds privileged. Well it is. Writers and poets are artists and artists are no ordinary people. No sir, they aren’t. But they have to earn it. You aren’t born an artist. Is something you fight for, maybe your whole life, and just once in your life, maybe you even become one. But being artist isn’t about telling your friends how artsy you are. It’s not even worth bringing into a conversation as a social tag, like: Hi, I’m Jim, artist. Art is about spirituality. Art is about discovering yourself, healing yourself. Remember how special you are, always remember. And by God, don’t let yourself ever forget it.
Writing habits are mandatory, yes. Yet, they won’t mean much without a solid, flowing reservoir of imagination. You are the imagination.
Close your eyes. Whatever is bothering you or making you happy, focus on it. Try to touch it, literally. Try to understand it. Understand it in such manner that you’ll learn to wield it. Just like a sword. Don’t let it master you or devour you. Be one with it, understand it, wield it, let it become your hand. Through it, you’ll master yourself. You’ll become spiritual.
Also, always remember to have fun. Whatever they say to you, best poetry advice for amateurs is to learn arts by playing. Enjoy yourself. If writing poetry tenses you up, create blocks for you, you are doing it wrong. Don’t be concerned with popular opinion on writing. It’s shallow. Follow your own path, discover what is writing for you and you shall become king among kings. Writer among writers, you’ll become ocean. More importantly you’ll be able to enjoy your pain, to transmute it, channel it. You don’t have to be hurting anymore. Poetry and arts aren’t paradise or retreat of soul. Arts are garden of soul and you are the gardener. You are responsible for your own flowers. Make it work, it’s for yourself.
If you are interested in buying my books on spirituality, my fiction or my poetry, check this out.
Michael of Moon
You can follow me on Twitter or Facebook. You can get my free Ebook Introduction to spirituality on several platforms, here, here and here. Also, you can apply for custom poem and check the sample here. Subscribe and stay tuned for new Ebooks, gifts, and titles. Be spiritual.