Tips on Writing Poetry: Be Your Own Version Of You
You live in a world of conflicting opinions, absurd societal stereotypes and religious conditioning that conspire to pressure you into fitting into a box of who/what the world wants you to be.
Daily, you strive to please the ideologies you were born into, telling your story in poems just how those ideologies want it told. You dare not deviate.
You struggle to fit the square shape of you in a round container, by narrowing your muse to the boundaries set out before you were born.
You are under pressure to please religion, society, family, friend cycle, to mention a few.
But, as a poet who desires loves diversification and variety, you must prison-break and learn to be your version of you.
There is no one else earth who has had, can have, or will have the exact and specific experiences you have had, is having, and will have in life.
There will be people who have similar experiences, maybe even nearly identical ones, but there will never be anyone but you who lives in your flesh and bones, thinks your thoughts, sigh your sighs, cry your tears, smile your smile, or who has the exact rhythm of your heartbeats and all the moments that have made it skip to find that rhythm.
This is your life, your experiences, your story: the good, the bad, the ugly. You lived them, is living them and will live them as today slow-fades into tomorrow.
Only you can poemify your experiences. But how can you do this without stepping on toes and ruffling feathers?
In a room of hundreds of people, all could look at the same flower as you, but only you know how that flower reminds you of whatever it does, and why it’s fragrance is significant to you. That is what makes you unique and empowered as a poet.
That is what gives you a voice that has never been heard or experienced before. The reason isn’t far-fetched, it is because it’s uniquely yours.
Don’t shy away from your life, your story, your experiences or your voice.
I have learnt to tell my life stories with poetry. Experiences that make me smile, induce tears, make my heart skip a beat, shaped my philosophy of life or tattooed a phobia on the surface of my subconscious can be found in my poems.
Telling your own story is magical. It draws your audience in, make them glued to you and forever yearning for more of/from you.
Your audience will be waiting to read something new, something fresh, and something that connects with them in a way that nothing else has yet. They’re waiting for your perspective, and the collection of experiences that you bring to the table, which of course helps them swim through their own storms.
If you continue to shy away from putting you out there in your poetry, your relevance is like dust in the wind; soon it is dispersed and forgotten.
You need to stop hitting autopilot and intentionally swim in the richness of the moments of your life.
Take deep dives, chase the currents, and sometimes, just float along, cognizant but not resistant. Just. Be. You.
There are so many things happening around you, to you, and that have nothing at all to do with you, and each event, each happening, holds within it a seed of raw potential that can be grown to unimaginable new poems.
Learn to look for these things, find their purpose, or their seeming lack thereof, an figure out how and why they resonate with you, then make beautiful poetry out of them.
The magic of poetry is a soul transfusion between the poet, the poetry they create and the reader who comes along and finds truths they need tucked in between the stanzas. But none of this can happen unless you yourself make those first consequential connections between one experience, one event, one little oddity in your life and another, and tell it just the way it is.
As a poet, you must learn to be honest with your readers. Stop cleaning up who you are, what you create, and bending your work to what you think people/society/religion are expecting of you and your art.
Break out of the box and do the unusual that would make people wow, aw and awn.
This doesn’t mean stop working on quality, and this is no excuse for laziness, but it is a call for you to embrace the messiness of life and to celebrate the human side of what you create. To celebrate your deeply human self in and through your work. Flaws and all.
The beautiful stories? Tell them.
The ugly experiences? Tell them.
The erotic memories? Spill them.
The gloomy days? Tell them too.
Stop shying away from who you are, the journey you’re on, and the general messiness of living. Embrace your version of you, continue to intentionally grow, and find ways to celebrate your humanity in your poetry.
This will help you connect more with your audience and with some time and practice will ultimately peel back the self-imposed and society-imposed limitations you’ve been forcing yourself to live and create under.