Write a Poem-a-Day in April

At my desk with a blank piece of paper and a blank screen.

It’s April! All month, I’ll be posting prompts, examples, and short insight pieces on writing poetry to help myself and my readers to make the most of the NaPoWriMo challenge.

Human experience is diverse and limitless, which means there’s a diverse and limitless pool of potential topics for poems. Still, I struggle with the idea of writing a poem a day. One thing that helps me is assuring myself that I don’t have to write finished poems. Beginnings are enough!

Some kinds of writing, like poetry, happen very slowly for me. It’s usually months or even years before I get a poem to the point where it seems time to send it out for publication.

But deadlines, goals, prompts, and other jump-starting devices can work to get me started on a draft of a new poem. Sometimes the draft comes in a few minutes; other times in a few hours.

There are no finished poems without first drafts.

Some of the drafts I write end up in my electronic dustbin.

Others, I hope, will become fully-fledged with time and effort. Some go on to a sort of afterlife via publication.

NaPoWriMo has happened every April since 2003, which is National Poetry Month. It’s the laid-back, hippie stepchild of NaNoWriMo, the November novel-writing project that began in 1999. We poets don’t have to write a whole novel. Just one poem a day.

Daily writing of any kind is a practice, a discipline. It works for some people and not for other people. Only you can decide whether it’s right for you. Here are some ways to get a poetry writing habit going, whether it’s a daily practice or something you do at other intervals.

· Taking notes as you give close attention to the world around you as well as the world in your head

· Reading a poem and responding to it

· Meeting with one or two friends on Zoom for a generative writing session

· The Plath Poetry Project: https://plathpoetryproject.com/

· ThinkWritten’s 365 prompts: https://thinkwritten.com/365-creative-writing-prompts/

Words in NYT, WaPo, Oprah Mag, Poets&Writers, et als. Adoptee/high school dropout/hep C survivor/former trial attorney. @MicheleJSharpe & MicheleSharpe.com

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