As we draw nearer to the end of National Poetry Writing Month here at the Poetry Cove, I thought it would be fruitful to share some fellow Covers' commentary on the event and some of my own.
How I Approached NaPoWriMo
Writing over a poem every day was a challenge, but what makes it stranger is how easily habits developed as I progressed throughout April (more on that later).
Initially, I started my day by building up a routine. I woke up, did my five-minute stretch, put my earplugs in, turned on some tunes (anything from Blink-182 to Queen will suffice), checked my notifications on Instagram (as it is the only social media platform I'm on these days) while brewing myself a steaming mug of java.
I whipped up either a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds or some scrambled eggs and ham and then I threw my journal open to swan-dive into a free writing craze.
When I awoke from this flow state, I'd have a rough draft full of chicken scratches where words and phrases were used and slight illegible corrections lingering like cumulus clouds above the mark. It wasn't much of a poem yet, but it was a decent pile of dirt.
Then I typed all of what I'd written onto Google Docs, and I read through the poem making tiny changes as I went, before finally setting the poem aside for a time. I'd soon come back to it in a few hours to put on the final touches. This last bit is the fermentation phase because every fine wine tastes better with time.
The break in between also lets me clear my head before going on a creativity strike.
Rinse and repeat. And this is the methodology I continue to use throughout the entire National Poetry Writing Month event. As my grandfather used to say, if it works, don't fix it.
What Worked & What Didn't
Despite having a routine, there were still moments when I struggled to develop some ideas throughout the month. Usually, I allow my creativity to be inspired by the lyrics I listen to, the news articles I read, how I'm feeling at that exact moment, or tackling some darker foe in the corners of my bedroom.
However, sometimes those general insights aren't enough. So, I decided to take things on the road (well, to my porch anyways). I've always been an escapist when it comes to writing poetry. I suppose you could call it my creative opus. Not to mention getting outside and breathing in some new atmosphere is a perfect solution for entertaining the senses.
I found myself taking in the scenery of various sounds and images most days. Sometimes I'd reinvent particular inanimate objects through personification and metaphor, just in case my repetitive imagery became dull.
On the days I couldn't figure out to write, I often fell back on poetry prompts that other writers were providing online. Some of them were open to interpretation enough that I could go hog-wild on them, while other prompts were dead in the water and didn't help me much.
In those moments of uncertainty, I discovered something beautiful about writing poetry... sometimes you don't have to write anything worthwhile. Sometimes writing nonsensical rants is all we need to get that chip off our shoulders. Letting that egotistical bitterness dissolve like an old set of dentures. Even in the darkest moments, I stood by my poetic credo...
Writer's block doesn't exist. There's only excuses not to write and lack of imagination. So write about nonsense because in the end having something on paper means more than nothing at all.
What Fellow Cover's Thought
That is enough about me. I wanted to hear from my fellow Covers too. So, I decided to reach out to all those members who participated in the event and see what their NaPoWriMo journey was all about.
Bendy Nguyen's Out Of This World Experience
So this is my 3rd time doing something like this. It was the most challenging of the three because I decided to do one poetry form a day. And if it's free verse, I would have to do something different, like a free-verse narrative or playing with sounds. I tackle it by doing different poem types that I've done and haven't done.
It kept me challenged and gave me something to work with. I enjoy the ending of NaPoWriMo, as we all get to look back at how far we come and see someone go from not even doing a poem a day in a row to going four weeks writing enough content to create a book out of it, it's an interesting learning experience.
I learned that change happens when you don't realize your work has changed. Perhaps that's okay. I might not have much to say anymore because life has changed since the last NaPoWriMo. When that happened, so did my poetry.
Yet, I'm okay if I don't write like how I used to as if this NaPoWriMo 2022 taught me is growth might not be instant. Yet, poetry is one self-discovery journey they chose to share with the world and/or themself. When a poem is written, they can choose to share or not.
Jay Rosing's Journey Into Inspiration
Due to being in college and working, I wasn't left with much time, so I decided I'd focus on writing smaller poems for most of the days (haikus or limericks) and write longer stuff when I felt inspired. I enjoyed seeing my collections of poems grow a little longer every day.
Marc Brimble's Exploration Into The Art of Poetry
This was the first time I took part in NaPoWriMo, and to be honest, before it started, it seemed like a daunting task; many people were writing about how challenging the last one was.
Personally, I didn’t find it too challenging to write a poem every day. To keep my mind fresh, I tried to use different forms each day, sonnets, blackouts, or limericks, for example.
The poetry cove was a great help that there is a dedicated thread to post our poems gave me an impetus to write, I kind of thought I would
be letting all the other writers down if I didn’t post every day, which was important. To post every day, even if some of the poems are still pretty rough.
Rachel Glass’s daily prompts were super helpful; although I didn’t follow them every day, I used a couple. Also, reading everyone else’s poems was really cool; to know that we were involved in the same thing was excellent.
Rachel Glass's Dive Into The Building Blocks of Poetry
Honestly, I think I ended up writing most of my poems about the same thing, just from different angles, but I think that’s okay.
April started right after losing a friend, and NaPoWriMo allowed me to write down everything I felt. That sounds a bit cheesy, but it’s true.
NaPoWriMo helped me look for things to write about instead of waiting for inspiration to strike. I returned to basics, using more straightforward language and imagery because I didn’t have time to write ten stanzas in an extended
metaphor. And I would be doing the Cove itself a massive disservice if I didn’t
congratulate all the Covers who participated this year. They’re all fantastic.
Shen Friebe's Spontaneous Impromptu
This was my first NaPoWriMo event, and I'm so glad I participated. I didn't write a poem every day, but what I did write left me feeling quite accomplished and pleasantly surprised by the results. I think the best part of this event was basing my poems on daily prompts (shout-out to Rachel Glass for her amazing contributions!), and writing about topics/scenarios/objects that I would never have considered writing about, had it not been for NaPoWriMo. I will definitely take the perks of spontaneity away from this experience!