By Ty Jacoby
As poets and writers we all know that it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been writing poetry, how great you are at creating long and intricate pieces, or even how many stories and experiences you have to tell…we all get writer’s block sometimes.
Writer’s block is defined in the dictionary as a “temporary condition in which a writer finds it impossible to proceed with the writing of any work”. Sounds about right, sometimes it seems like there’s a literal block inside your brain preventing your ideas from communicating themselves with first you and then your pen.Often times this will stop you from being able to write for days and sometimes weeks on end. Trust me it’s not fun, especially when you have deadlines to make.
So how exactly do you overcome your poetic block? Well, in just a few simple steps you will be on your way to beating writer’s block in no time.
Think of a topic that you’re passionate about
What gets you fired up? What topics make you feel 10 different emotions all at once? Whatever it is, identify it immediately. It could be anything that you have an opinion on, want to tell a story about, or have a unique interest in. The faster you pinpoint what you want your piece to be about, the better. Try not to spend more than 10-20 minutes thinking of a topic, not only is it a waste of your writing time but poets go wrong when they spend days trying to find the best topic to write about. The best thing is whatever hits you the most.
Start Writing Down Key Ideas
Grab a piece of paper and pen or pencil of your choice…no, do not write anything down in the notes of your smartphone…and start jotting down words and phrases that come to your mind when you think of this topic. It gives you almost a list of things that can be used once you actually start to write your piece. Writing things down on paper also makes you think more critically and it helps you remember your ideas better. Things you write down could be anything! Even rhyming phrases. For example sometimes when I write songs, one line of the verse or chorus could come to my head and I just think to myself, “I should write that down”. Next thing you know by the time I go to the write the song I’ve got all my best lines down on paper for me to just organize into a flow of lyrics.
Write and Don’t Think
Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of time to think later. One of the worst things about writer’s block is that feeling of being stuck because everything you think to put down on paper doesn’t “sound right” to you. It prevents you from getting the pen going, and once you get the pen going it gets easier to keep writing. Therefore the most important thing is to just start writing and don’t worry so much about the technicalities until you’re done and you’re ready to revise. That’s what revision is for, so you can think, but when originally writing a piece you want your freshest and most raw thoughts to be on paper first and foremost, so that you’re not contemplating the perfect first line for hours.
Look For Inspiration in Things
Having a hard time finding inspiration? Watch a movie, read a book or talk to some fellow poets. Sometimes when I’m stumped on what to write my poem on, I’ll watch slam poetry on YouTube to get me inspired. A lot of times I’ll just watch some of my favorite poets perform and it somehow loosens up my brain a little bit so that I can start writing. Reading short poems or poetry books usually can help too.
Take a Break
You know how they say if you can’t figure out a puzzle you’re trying to solve, put it down and come back to it later? Sometimes we tend to focus too much to the point where we’re frustrated and not seeing any more answers or clues. However upon returning later, you find things you didn’t see before and it’s easier to think now that you’ve unloaded all that pressure. It’s actually pretty true, and the same can be so when you’re writing a poem. So putting down a poem and coming back to it later is never bad. You may even think of some other great lines you could put in there while you’re away for a while.
All in all writers block is a very common thing, even in poetry and can be overcome by taking these small steps. Happy Writing!
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