Writing Tips

Poetry Writing Tips for Beginning Poets

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For the simple reason that poetry is an art form, tips for writing poetry will vary from poet to poet. Each poet has his or her own unique style just as sketchers have their own unique styles, painters have their own styles, and sculptures have their own styles. Style is what separates one artist from another and, in fact, when comparing artists, style is one of the means by which one artist may be distinguished from another artist.

Free verse, the style of poetry that does not require rhymes of any sort, is preferred by some poets and by some poetry lovers. Although free verse poetry does not require rhymes, the writers should concentrate on forming distinguishable patterns and phrases throughout their poems. When free verse poems contain meaningful patterns and phrases, free verse poems are more understandable and enjoyable.

Rhyming poems may require poets to work a little harder in forming their poems. When writing rhyming poetry, poets must still take into consideration their creation of meaningful patterns and phrases. On top of this consideration, however, rhyming poets must place rhyming words at the ends of some of their lines. When placed at the ends of lines, rhymes are labeled end rhymes. Rhyming poems may also rhyme within lines to create certain patterning effects.

When writing poetry of any kind, do not get discouraged if your first poems do not come out the way you want them to. Poetry writing, just as all art forms, requires practice. To help yourself prior to beginning your poems, try thinking of poetry writing as playing a game with words. Just as you would get better over time with each game of chess you play, each bowling ball you toss, and each time you swing a bat at a baseball or softball, you will become better at poetry writing with each poem you write.

Once you begin the actual writing process, the following tips will help you along your way. Bear in mind that these are basic poetry writing tips. As you move through the poetry writing process you will enable yourself to add to your technique.

~ Preparing to Write A Poem - The first thing you need to do is decide on something to write about. What ever you decide to write on will be your theme. Your theme will serve as the most important aspect of your poem. Straying too far from your theme will leave you with a bunch of goobledy gook.

~ Poetic Foundation or Skeleton - Think of the initial writing as the "foundation" or "skeleton" of what is to come. If the foundation concept works best for you, imagine yourself erecting a building upon a concrete platform. If the skeletal concept works best for you, imagine creating the perfect body atop your bones.

~ Natural Poetic Progression - Let your poems progress naturally from beginning to end. Although you have decided on a theme, it is important to realize that once your creativity begins to flow your poem may take you somewhere you did not expect. Just keep on writing anything that comes to mind in the form of a poem. As long as your poem still makes sense - as long as you do not stray too far from your theme - your poem should come out fine.

~ Try to think of rhyming words as you write so you can place them at the ends of your lines.

~ Error corrections should not be a concern when you begin to pen your thoughts. Correcting errors and concerns about how you are expressing yourself can cause you to forget your ideas. It is best to write all your ideas down first and correct mistakes second.

~ After you have all your ideas down, begin the editing process. Correct misspelled words. Make sure your work makes sense. Change words you do not like. Fix the parts you think can sound better if you say them a different way.

~ Read your poems aloud. Verbalizing them will assist you in training your brain to pay more attention to what you write. This may sound silly but writers often make simple mistakes because they are "too close" to their work. This is why we have editors and proofreaders.

~ When choosing a theme, do not concern yourself that many poets have already written on your chosen topic. Everyone who writes on a subject will have something different to say. So, just let your poem represent your thoughts, your ideas and your feelings.

Other Helpful Tips - If you think of rhymes that may be useful in your poem before you can use them, write them on the top or on the side of your paper. It is a good idea to do this because (1) sometimes spare rhyming words give you additional ideas, and (2) if you decide to use your spare rhymes at some point, they will be on the side of your paper in case you forget them.

Once your poem is complete rewrite it on a fresh sheet of paper - or type it into your computer. If new ideas pop into your head while rewriting, and these new ideas go well with your poem and especially if they will improve your poem, go ahead and add the new ideas to your verse.

Do not fret over rewriting your work. Rewriting is a common practice even established authors perform. Rewriting is also a natural part of the creative process. Your work will improve only when you go through this process. So, keep in mind, rewriting is a good thing.

Try not to become frustrated or discouraged if your first poem or even your first ten to fifteen poems do not turn out exactly as you would like. In taking the above analogy of bowling a bit further, if you have ever bowled, you know it would be unreasonable to expect to bowl a turkey (three strikes in a row) every game you play as a beginning bowler. You also know that the more you practice bowling, the better you will become. The same concept applies to writing poetry. Therefore, simply use these tips for writing poetry to pen lots of poems and you will improve.

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