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I've been speaking a lot about things. Physical things. Clothes, cookie dough, cell phone cases... I think it's about time to introduce you to an activity that stems from the heart - and that activity is writing poetry.
Yup! It's one of my favorite things to do late at night when the house is fast asleep (and the mouse and the mitten and the kitten - my favorite childhood bedtime story ;) ).
Let me give you a little background on my love for poetry. I LOVE music. Period. I love listening to it. I love singing it. I love pretending I know how to play the keyboard (I don't. I know, it's unfortunate. We won't talk about it.) But you know what I do instead of making up the words I don't know? I look 'em up! I do. Even if I don't remember them when I sing them the next time, I like knowing what the song is about. There's a story behind every song and I need to know the whole picture. Words are very powerful and if you know what is being said, you'll find a personal connection in almost every song (hence the word almost). Poetry can be music if you put the tune to it. So, in essence, poetry is music unsung.
I love music = I love poetry.
And I love words. Do you know how many different ways you can use to describe something as "pretty"? Delightful, attractive, pleasing, charming... The list goes on! Changing one small, simple word can make your poetry sound so much more aesthetically pleasing (see what I did there? ;) ) Poetry is full of so many options! So, how do you write a poem? Good question! I'll tell you how I do it, but you might find another way that works best for you. There's no one way and there's no right way.
First of all, you have to understand that not all poetry rhymes. You can write a haiku, limerick, sonnet, etc. and you can write in different forms such as iambic pentameter, simile, or metaphor. (You can Google those if you have no clue what I'm talking about.) The possibilities are endless. You can start by choosing in which style you'd like to write. However, I usually start with choosing what I'd like to write about. Knowing what to write about can sometimes be the trick. Here's what I do:
Think about what mood you're feeling at that moment. If you're feeling really happy, you might choose to write about the sunshine or amusement parks. If you're feeling sad, you might want to write about what's making you feel that way. By doing this, you get your feelings out of you in a safe, nondestructive way and you've got a great poem to boot! If you're feeling soft and fuzzy inside, you might just write a poem about something sweet and innocent like a lightning but. Okay, fine. So I already stole that idea (not that that means you can't write about the same topic). But I'll share it with you later in the post.
Next, think about the first words that come to mind when thinking about your chosen topic and start writing anything that comes to your mind. When you're done, take a look at some of the words you used and look them up in a thesaurus (like this one here). Type the word into the word search and choose the thesaurus option. It will give you different options from which to choose the perfect word replacement. Now that I've been writing for quite some time, I usually just use this tool as I go along instead of waiting until the end. If you're not like me, you might want to use an old fashioned thesaurus (you know, the book kind ;) ).
If you're writing in rhyme, I suggest you go here. This is a great tool I use often. Just type in the word that you need to rhyme with, and it will give you words that either have an end rhyme, double rhyme, first syllable rhyme, etc. Check out all the options and familiarize yourself with them.
Lastly, check your grammar. Yes, you may use some poetic license (ignoring regular grammar rules like I do way too often in my posts...), but if you use it too much it's not good either (I don't listen to myself...). You definitely want to check on capitalization and correct punctuation.!,:-)" You're allowed to use " 'em" instead of "them", but don't abuse this privilege or you'll just come across as ignorant. And if you're telling yourself that you're writing the poems for yourself and no one will see them anyway, take note: you never know what might happen. You might just want to show someone your poetry in a few years' time, and then what will you have to show them? And besides, practice is good for you anyway.
Most importantly, have fun! Writing should not be forced upon you (accept in school, but I'm not talking about that kind of writing). I'm talking about the writing that comes from within. Deep within the chambers of your heart are little words and thoughts and dreams dancing and singing just waiting to get onto paper.
Paper! How can I forget?! One of the best parts is the paper. Why? Because you can get a pretty notebook or journal in which you write all your poetry and this will make you just want to write on straight into the night. Let your self-expression and personal style show through even in the journal you use. One of my favorite notebooks is this Zowie Plush Lock Diary from Claire's. Go check it out! Isn't it cute and fuzzy? :)
Well, now that you've got some tips on how to write some poetry, I'll give you some inspiration with a look at my own poem I wrote about a little lightning bug :)