Last year I wrote a poem for a friend for her poem project (to give her a little break). She has been writing a poem every single day for almost four years now. There were some days where she just wanted to quit, but she kept going. She had a determination to write a poem for a specific amount for time, and she was going to do it, no matter what.
I have been watching her progress over the years, and have deeply admired her staying power. I also love her use of words. The exactness of them. And her unfolding imagery is really quite wonderful. I also love that she writes poems in a wide range of ways, not just sticking to one or two specific formats.
Anyways, I stumbled across the poem I wrote for her recently, and thought I would share. I wasn’t really into writing poems when I wrote this. In fact, for years I shied away from poem writing afraid to give it a shot. But when I saw what Hannah was doing, she inspired me to give it a try.
Since writing that poem for her last summer, I have dabbled in writing poems off and on. I have found that I like the challenge of finding exact words to convey a meaning, and this practice has made me a stronger writer all around.
So here it is below.
I see you are having a bad day.
I see that frown.
I see those hunched shoulders.
Don’t snap at me. I didn’t do it.
I know this sucks.
I know you’re hurting.
Don’t you know? It’s going to get better.
Maybe not today.
Maybe not tomorrow,
But it will.
How do I know? You ask.
Because I’m your angel, Dear One.
And I’ll be right here,
Each step of the way.
You are not alone.
If you have the chance, check out Hannah Six’s #1462PoemsProject. She posts links of her poem project on multiple social media formats (Twitter and Instagram) are the ones I follow), but you can also go directly to her blog and see all her poems.
“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.” — Natalie Goldberg
Being a writer is a complicated thing. We love to write for the sake of writing, but we also don’t want to write because some days it is just so hard. But still we write, because not writing is not an option.
So what do we write about? People have different views on this. Some like light and happy stories. Some like dark and depressing stories. Some like gore and horror. Some like aliens and cool technology. Some like hot romance where the girl and guy always have their happy ever after. Some like the never ending thrill. And some like deep and moving characters no matter what the story is about.
But we all wonder… what really makes a good story? What draws the reader to each page to hungrily reach the end? What makes writing such an intense and rewarding process for the writer?
At the beginning of the month I picked up a book that drastically changed my way of thinking as a writer. It is why I took a bit of a hiatus from this blog so that I could focus on the book and what it had to offer. I have to say it has made a significant impact on me. Barbara Baig’sHow to be a Writer gave me what no other writing book or writing class had given me, permission to explore and experiment in my writing.
My writing up to this point has been a self guided tour of something I’ve always wanted to do. I lacked the specific education and knowledge of how to be a writer, so I struck out on my own to find my way. In that journey, I found I really enjoyed writing and what it had to offer me. I occasionally had good ideas to write about, but as I wrote and practiced the craft of writing, I was constantly blocked by insufficient ideas to write about and believed I had a really bad case of writer’s block.
This became quite frustrating even though I had helpful advice from writing friends, online classes and other writing books. I knew in my head about the writing process and how to fight writer’s block, but it wasn’t until I read Barbara’s book that explained it in a way I could understand. I realized that it wasn’t that I had writer’s block, but my approach to writing was hindering my ability to write.
Barbara’s book is full of writing exercises centered around free writing, which asks questions that keep the pen moving. She also explains the writing process in great detail, breaking it down into individual parts of the seven main writer’s powers (Creativity, Memory and Expertise, Observation, Imagination, The Subconscious, Curiosity, and the Sherlock Holmes School of Writing). She discusses how to develop the content-mind of a writer and how to write to readers instead of for readers.
The book is all about empowering the writer and I highly recommend it anyone who is just beginning as a writer, or the seasoned writer who needs to get back in touch with their inner writer. It certainly helped me and I will continue to use on my never-ending journey of how to be a writer.