After a whole series of long posts, I think now is a good time to unwind with a short one. Lately I’ve written quite a bit of poetry, and I find it’s a format that I really enjoy working with. So continuing on the same line as my flash fiction post, here’s a brief list of reasons I believe poetry is an art that every writer should try at least once. Note that this list is based entirely on personal experience, so if you disagree with any points or would like to add some of your own, feel free to weigh in! Enjoy!
Why Writing Poetry is Good for You
1) It’s a form of free writing. True, all creative writing can be considered “free”, but even the simplest stories still need to follow a basic structure to be complete. Poems, however, don’t really come with universal rules. They can cover any subject matter. They don’t have to tell a story. They don’t have to rhyme. They don’t even have to make sense! All you need is a simple idea, and your imagination is free to run with it until it becomes a full piece. It’s wonderfully liberating to write without the restrictions of prose. And who knows? You may just learn something about yourself in the process. I usually do.
2) It’s a gateway for inspiration. Sometimes writing a short piece without inhibitions is just what you need to find inspiration for a longer work like a short story or a novel. Creating poetry has given me extra motivation for stories, and some ideas have even been converted from the former to the latter format during writing. Though many of my poems are written just for fun, they also help me break creative blocks and open the door to new and greater ideas, even if (or especially when) that was never my intention. Take note: if you often suffer from writer’s block, a good poem or two may be the spark that will get you back on track.
3) It’s an emotional release. This is one of the main reasons I write poetry. Sometimes I have so many emotions built up inside me that I just have to set them free somehow, and poetry is usually a great release for those feelings. More than once, I’ve managed to relieve negative emotions by turning them into a poem. So if you’re ever feeling down, try using your feelings as poetic inspiration. It may not solve your problem, but at least you may feel better afterwards.
4) It exercises the mind. I’m sure many prose writers who try their hand at poetry find that it’s not as easy as it may seem. Writing poems is quite different from writing stories, and that means it requires a different way of thinking. You have to train your mind to get into a rhythm, to feel the flow of the words and see the imagery in the lines. Stanza poems can be especially tricky because of the added challenge of rhyme, but even free verse poetry takes real skill to write well. If poetry isn’t your niche, you may enjoy it for the challenge of trying something different, and for the lessons it can teach you to help improve your writing in your regular format.
5) It’s relaxing. If for no other reason, write poetry because it feels good! Poems can be a lot of fun to write, especially when you don’t put pressure on yourself to make them perfect. If you like poetry simply for the beautiful art it is, then write for the fulfillment it brings you, and let the above reasons naturally make it all the more enjoyable. Have fun!
What about you? Do you write poetry? If so, why do (or don’t) you enjoy it?