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Reflecting on NaPoWriMo

8 May 2009

After trying (unsuccessfully) to write a poem a day for the month of April in celebration of National Poetry Month, I have several observations about how it affected my approach to writing and, in turn, wonder what other participants of this month-long affair have noticed about themselves and their writing.

Observation #1: I was more direct in my writing, took less time thinking about what I wanted the end to be, and as a result the poems actually seem to be more complete in their rough drafts than normal. I sat down to write, even if I wasn’t “in the mood,” and I dutifully followed the prompt even if it didn’t strike me with an idea as soon as I read it, whereas otherwise I would only write from a prompt if it gave me an idea as soon as I read the prompt. This has inspired me to follow prompts more often now.

Observation #2: It’s funny, but a month of writing a poem a day (or so the idea is) has opened me up to writing longer poems, something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time but have never been able to. In the past, I always seemed to get to a point where I felt the poem was finished, or just couldn’t come up with a good next line or next stanza or next idea to move the poem into, so I ended it. And I’ve definitely never had a poem go over one page. But this month, the month of writing short, fast poems daily, I’ve written not one, not even two, but three long poems, each around a page and a half in length! I wonder why this is.

Question: What did you notice you did differently during April? (in terms of writing habits, routines, types of poems you wrote, how you approached the writing, etc.)

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. 8 May 2009 16:42

    This was interesting to read. It seems April helped loosen up your thinking and approach to writing. Something similar happened for me also. The thing I noticed most was a growing ability to trust and respect the process of the poem itself. And, dare I say it, as April went on I felt more and more that writing to an impersonal, random prompt was not how I wanted to be working. So it encouraged me to go deeper, to be more thoughtful, in my work.

    Thank you for providing the opportunity to review the month. I look forward to reading what others have to say, and I wish you all the best for your future writing!

  2. 8 May 2009 22:18

    Thanks so much for sharing your observations. After writing a poem a day, I now know I can trust my own processes to respond to a prompt. It’s an empowering discovery. By and large, the revisions also suggest themselves fairly straightaway, and generally are not major rewrites.

  3. 17 May 2009 00:19

    I did a poem a day too for the second year. I’ve found it makes me know when a poem will not make the deadline of the day or is veering into what i don’t want to send to ze internetz and can press to another. It took 2-4 poems a day to get one I liked. Interesting that it pushed you to longer poems. I thought of doing the month as all around one theme for a series but maybe another month. Last year I burned out for all of May. This time I was utterly silent for 8 days and then one fully unconscious rendered one popped out.

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