Have you ever felt like writing a poem but been discouraged by the thought of proper form and rhyme and all those things that make up a good, solid work of poetry? Or have you been discouraged by the (silly) claims that if it doesn't have rhyme in it, it's not a poem?
Let me help you get past that. I am not about to show you which words to use and not to use. I am not about to tell you what to write about. Those are your own challenges. I am, however, going to help you get them on paper/screen in a nice, readable way.
Keep in mind this is just one of many methods to put a poem out there. It's very likely not the best one and since it's my personal method it isn't based on any professional or scholarly rules... It's just... how I do it
Now, since that‘s cleared, here are my beginner-safe steps to writing your heart out without (the constrictions of) rhyme!
1. WRITE SPONTANEOUSLY
When writing poetry, you are pouring out feelings and opinions in the flexible and multi-toned form of words. This can be a true headache, since there are so many ways to express a single emotion. What works best is to write down as much as you possibly can spontaneously. It will probably be flawed and awkwardly worded, but it will be the closest you can get to your heart-song. (Anyone like singing penguins?)
2. EDIT AND ADJUST
When you‘re all done pouring it‘s time to stir. Fix those typos, rearrange those sentences… You can even write additions and take out whole chunks of words. Delete and add, but be careful not to let the tone of the poem slip through your fingers. You might have a hard time finding it once it‘s lost.
3. READ IT ALOUD
Every poem has it‘s own rhythm. You feel/find yours best by reading your poem out loud. By doing so you‘ll know where and if to split sentences between lines and how your poem should look like on paper. (My personal rule is, if I pause I start a new line.) This also helps you spot the words that still don´t fit and fix those difficult sentences.
4. PICTURE IT
A significant part of telling your readers how your poem is thought, is showing them. Literally. Play with the visual part of your poem, the way you arrange sentences and words. Extra spaces, line breaks in strange places… Remember, almost anything goes as long as you feel it‘s the right way to portray your message.
5. FINAL TOUCHES
Now, you have your poem. It‘s been edited, arranged, read aloud and you‘re quite happy with it, aren't you?
What you want to do before posting it (if that is what you do) or call it finished, is to go over these four steps again. Does the poem convey the emotion/message/opinion you wanted to share? Does each part seem in context with the rest? Is the rhythm visible?
Yes? Awesome! You‘re done. And, if this is your first time, congratulations: you‘ve written a poem!
Are you one of those who never tried but secretly wanted to? What holds you back?
Or are you a poet? What is your poem-writing process? I‘d love to hear!