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Writing Advice: How To Remain A Poet In A Busy World

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From Writer's Relief staff:

If you’re a poet, maintaining a poetic sensibility is important whether you have all the time in the world or no time at all. But that can be hard to do when your boss is screaming for the report that was due an hour ago, the kids need to be picked up from soccer practice, and Fido just left you a gift on the living room floor.

Here are some things you can do to stay in a poetic state of mind all day, every day:

Decorate with poetry. What better way to promote poetic thinking than to surround yourself with poetry? Try using a poetry-themed calendar or even framing and displaying your favorite poems. The more poetry you read and see on a daily basis, the more likely you’ll live in a state of appreciation for poems.

Activate your senses. It’s hard to write consistently if you keep setting up blockades on the inspiration superhighway. Keep listening, keep seeing, keep smelling, keep tasting, keep feeling!

Keep paper handy. With your senses engaged, you’ll need to keep track of your thoughts. When you’re already juggling homework assignments, doctor appointments, and shopping lists in your head, how can you remember that clever limerick you thought of on the subway ride to school? And what about that perfect edit to the last line in the second stanza that came to you during your lunch break?

Stash little notebooks in your car or around the house. Don’t want the extra bulk of a notebook? You can always use your smartphone to document your thoughts!

Bonus: Once you’ve jotted your notes, spend time with them at bus stops and waiting areas. Live immersed in the things that fascinate you.

Write in a journal. When your ideas are too big for scrap paper, record them in a journal. That way you can revisit your ideas when you have the time to flesh them out. At the end of the week, collect all the spontaneous thoughts you had scattered around and record them together in your journal. You might be surprised by what happens on the page!

Read poetry. Taking the time to read poetry can stimulate your creative process. Carry a small book of poetry in your car, keep your favorite collection on your office desk, download your favorite online literary journal to your iPad, and enjoy them during those in-between moments of your day. It will be easier to maintain a creative state of mind if your favorite poets are accompanying you throughout your day.

Listen to your inner voice. When inspiration hits, don’t stifle it or wait until the “right” moment to give it the attention it needs. When it’s knocking on your door, invite it in. Don’t worry about whether what you write turns out to be good or bad, just exercise your artistic muscles and enjoy the process.

Keeping your mind in a poetic state leaves you more open for inspiration and helps you write better poems. Surround yourself with poetry and you’ll reap the rewards of a poetic state of mind.

How do you stay in a poetic state of mind?

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