How Do You Write Poetry?

On last week's Friday Poetry, I got a comment from Ana over at Butterflies of the Imagination: Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 10.35.44 pm

I think it's a little hard to read, so the comment says: "I love all of your poems and I truly look forward to reading them every Friday. I can’t really put a finger on it, but you have such a great way with words. Keep up the great work. If you have time for it in your blog schedule, do you think that you could write a post with poetry tips?"

Firstly: thank you very much for your lovely comment, Ana! That made my heart glow - I'm so beautifully overwhelmed by the fact that you look forward and connect to my strings of words. <3

I'm by no means an expert on this topic, but I think my number one tip for writing poetry is basically the same as writing prose: read it. Any and all of it. Everything you can get your hands on - good and bad and in between. Forget about studying anything - just immerse yourself in words, taste them on your tongue, write down your favourite lines and read them over and over and over again just to feel the little pang that comes with them.

Memorise the music in poetry, the subtle rhythm behind each line. When you write your own, be honest about it because no matter whether it's real or fictional, it just needs to come from you. Find inspiration in the tiniest things. When your heart is breaking, write about it. When your heart is soaring, write about it. Don't wait until it's over: do it right at that moment, because the only time you'll be able to remember the exact feelings is when they're happening.

Lower your expectations. Poetry doesn't have to hold the secrets of the universe - sometimes it just raises more questions about it. A lot of poems are stories, so find ways to weave tiny little details into yours to make them that much more real to the reader. And don't think there's any right answer as to what the story is, either. Maybe it's about two people who love each other's flaws too much, or about two people who love each other despite their flaws. Explore heartbreak. Explore exploration. Write about someone you love or twist a prompt from someone you hate. Make up a life completely different from your own or one eerily similar to yours. Translate the world for others.

Above all: be daring. Be bold. Follow the path the words are creating, but don't forget that sometimes it's okay to make your own path and ask them to follow you instead. And never ever be afraid to fail, because in poetry our biggest failures are often our biggest successes.