How does a poet maintain the mind frame of…well, a poet? When you are also a parent, an employee, a homeowner, a student, or all of the above, it may seem impossible to stay observant of the things around you and plugged into your own emotional responses.
Remember: Poetry is about taking the mundane and elevating it. It’s about drawing new and surprising conclusions about life that will make readers see things in an unfamiliar light. Therefore, it’s important to maintain a poetic sensibility even while you’re carting your kids to soccer practice or mowing the lawn.
Here are some ways to keep you in a poetic state of mind all day, every day:
· Keep a journal. Sometimes emotions are too big to whittle down into a poem right away. Write them down in your journal and revisit them later—this will keep you from losing that visceral rush that eventually becomes a poem. Even if you don’t think you have anything significant to write, write anyway!
· Eyes and ears open. Look actively, not passively, for inspiration. There is poetry in everyday life; you just have to turn over some rocks to find it sometimes.
· A trail of paper scraps. Make sure there is paper available to you at all times. When inspiration abruptly strikes, you don’t want to be left scrambling. Stash little notebooks around your house and jot down even the briefest of thoughts. That way, even if you can’t sit down and write a poem at that very moment, you can always follow the paper trail back to that creative mind-set later.
· Tempt yourself with poetry. A huge part of staying in tune with your poetic side is devouring poetry every chance you get. Leave books of poems in places where you rest or might have a few minutes of idle time (such as next to your bed or tucked in with your lunch). Litter your daily routine with a poem here, a poem there. It will be much easier to maintain that creative state of mind if your favorite poets are accompanying you throughout the day.
· Poetry as decoration. Print out a few of your favorite poems, frame them, and hang them around your home. Every time you see them, you’ll be reminded that writing isn’t a joyless task, but the act of creating something beautiful.
· Listen to your inner voice, always. If you get into the habit of regularly gagging your muses, getting them to talk to you when the time comes to write will be impossible. Let that inner voice babble. Be cheesy and mentally narrate your most mundane tasks. Even if the writing in your head never makes it onto a physical page, you are still exercising those artistic muscles.
When you are in a constant poetic state of mind, you are more open to inspiration and alternate interpretation, which means you are more likely to write better poems. Poets never stop being poets, even when they have to. And if you want help getting your poems published in the top literary magazines and journals, Writer’s Relief has a service for every poet!