What I’ve learned from writing poetry so far this year

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The past few weeks I’ve been doing a bit more reflecting on my writing this year. More specifically, poetry – what it does for me right now, how and where it started last fall and how I want it to continue to evolve.

It’s kind of weird for me to see its evolution this past year, but as I go back and reread some of my initial writings I find myself in awe of the woman who started writing because she felt lost. Literally picking words out of corners of her mind hoping to make sense of it all.

I don’t think that I have magically found myself, however, I do believe that I have found other paths that have directed me on a number of occasions to places I hadn’t considered exploring before. Writing in this way has helped me heal a little differently, flip perspective and challenge how I view what should be poetry.

I have always encouraged journaling with my clients and obviously, as a blogger, it’s something I preach for problem solving, education. It doesn’t have to look any specific way, even though I know for aesthetic purposes it feels like it should. The more we write the better we become.

This is actually why I type my poetry.

I write in a physical journal with a specific pen and paper when I’m working on Bible study or idea generation – even scribbles, but my poetry has to be typed. I know it won’t be as beautiful as I want it to look in my own handwriting, I know having scribbles and crossed out words will frustrate me. Typing and sometimes, dictating to my computer like I am with this post, helps me get through my poem, get my ideas in front of me so I can start solving the problem that has been brewing in my mind.

I am in no way a professional, but I do know now that I would like to work on getting a few more pieces published, either in anthologies or a full book. Because, in what reality do I stand still?

I started implementing poetry writing in my coaching this year with a few clients as well as in my posts on Instagram and what has happened has be life changing. Not just for me, but for those who have invested themselves in listening or reading my poetry as well as invested in themselves to be creative in this way.

As a coach, I want people to be empowered in their journey, no matter what that journey is. I also know how hard it can be to feel overwhelmed and struggle to focus on one thing to get started – I see this with clients all the time. Poetry has helped me work through that overwhelm when there are a lot of different emotions occurring at once.

For clients who have chosen to dabble, we’ve been able to explore conversations from different angles by looking through their writing and discussing the words they’ve chosen, how they flow, what it feels like to go back and reread or edit. We’ve done some editing too to create really powerful pieces.

In some aspects, we can treat the person who wrote the piece as a separate entity from themselves and that can help navigate big situations – it feels removed even though that person is a version of them from a moment in time.

Here’s what I’ve learned this year through writing poetry and why I want to keep experimenting with it personally and in my coaching:

  • Writing doesn’t need to start at the beginning. If we know how it’s going to end, we can work our way backwards. We can also start in the middle.

This is actually an idea that I had heard from other poets. Don’t force ideas or structure – let it come naturally and piece it together as it makes sense to. I like to think of it as sewing. Stitching the parts together that may not make sense on their own.

  • Rewrites are encouraged.

You’re never going to find the perfect words the first time or the second time or even the third time. Rewrites aren’t necessarily the same as having multiple drafts of a poem or a story. But it could be revisiting the story with a new mindset. Giving yourself a chance to let it be alive and evolve, just like you will.

  • Poetry doesn’t look or sound like you think it should.

I want to say that this is a given – every creator has their own flare either in the words they choose, how they annunciate them, the body language that is woven into their story. You’re doing yourself a disservice if you think that all performers are going to be exactly the same. You’re also doing yourself a disservice as a writer if you don’t allow yourself to grow and change your style

  • Giving yourself space to read and reread your work when you’re in a different mindset can be powerful.

When were in the stuck, the mess – it’s hard to see a way out. It can be harder to identify what’s keeping you stuck. If you are using writing as a way to navigate your way out of it, it can be powerful to revisit those writings when you have more clarity. Maybe you can see things that you didn’t see before or you can interpret them differently.

Poetry this year has helped me feel braver than I ever have and I don’t know if that was a hope I had in the back of my head or not, but it’s been a nice byproduct of pushing myself to do things that scare me.

If you’re interested in dabbling, check out my Instagram, but also these other poets and organizations:

  • Ari B. Cofer
  • Ebony Stewart
  • Nuyorican Poets Cafe
  • Rudy Francisco
  • Sarah Kay
  • Button Poetry
  • Write About Now
  • Hanif Abdurraqib
  • Sabrina Benaim
  • Alysia Harris
  • Poetry Out Loud