It’s the fifth day of the Poem-a-Day challenge. So far, I’m keeping up. My poems are not all great. I’m not sure some of them are even poems, but that’s okay. As Anne Lamott says in Bird by Bird, you have to be willing to start with a “shitty” first draft. Let yourself write freely, worrying about making it perfect later.
I like to compare writing to creating a sculpture. First I have to shape the clay in the general outline of what I’m planning to make. Once I have that, I can add and subtract until it’s perfect, but without that original lump of clay, I’ve got nothing.
I’m finding more and more that it helps, especially with poetry, to take my notebook outside the office. There’s a theory that we write differently when we use pen and paper instead of a keyboard. It uses a different part of the brain. I think that’s true with poetry, but even if you prefer the computer, if you feel stuck or stale, try taking it somewhere different.
If the sun is shining, I may go out in the yard. If not, I can snuggle on the sofa with the dog. Or, I might get in the car and go somewhere. Some of my best writing happens sitting in the car looking out at the ocean. Starbucks, the library, or a hotel lobby also work. Once I’m in the mood, I may go back to the office, but sometimes it takes a change of scenery to get away from distractions and start my creative mind working.
How about you? What gets your pen or your fingers moving?