How to Write Great Poems About Life

Below is what helps me to write,
Please post what helps you to write.

It really is much easier to write great poems about life than one may initially think.

Getting the Creative Juices Flowing

  • To get the creative juices flowing write three pages of mind spill in a full size notebook every morning right when you wake up.  (Mind spill is writing whatever comes to you without editing or trying to be creative.  These pages are not meant to be great works of art but instead they are meant to help empty your mind.  It is what Julia Cameron in her book “Artist’s Way” calls morning pages.)
  • Do your mind spill pages for at least a week.

Writing Your Poem

  • Then think of something that you feel very passionate about. Write that at the top of the page.  Then write down any words or phrases that come up when you think of the thing that you feel passionate about. DO NOT edit.
  • When you feel like you have written down everything that has to do with what you feel passionate about, ask yourself, “What else comes to me when I think of this?” and write some more words and phrases.   Then one more time ask yourself, “What else?”
  • Then read all of those words and phrases back to yourself and take a deep breath and close your eyes.
  • Keep breathing with your eyes closed and see in front of you an empty stage.  The curtain opens and what do you see or hear?  Keep breathing deeply.  Just view and/or listen.
  • When you are ready, open your eyes and write down whatever came to you.   Now IS NOT the time to edit.
  • Your internal editor (the part of you that may be saying how awful what you are writing right now) may be telling you what you are writing is terrible.  Tell it thanks and keep allowing whatever is coming to you to come to you and write it down.
  • Remember, poems do not need to rhyme or even have the perfect rhythm, they only need your rhythm.  Allow the poem itself to dictate what comes next. When you feel that your poem is finished, take a breath and be grateful.

Editing Your Poem

  • Now is the time to read what you wrote and see if anything needs clarification or editing to make it more understandable or to flow with your own beat better.  When you feel that you have done as much as you can, put the poem aside for the rest of the day.
  • Celebrate!!!
  • The next morning after writing your three pages of mind spill, pick up your poem and read it, does it say what you want it to say and feel how you want it to feel, then you are done if not.
  • Look at the first four lines, do they feel right? If so go onto the next four, if not ask yourself, what do I need to do to get the point across, do I need a simile or a metaphor, or do I have too many adjectives (it is common for beginning writers to put too many adjectives or adverbs in and it can feel fake).  Listen to your gut.
  • When you feel that you are done for the day. Put the poem aside.   If it needs more work repeat the next morning.

Listening to Inspiration

  • Also listen for inspiration on your poems at any time the inspiration may come to you. Try to take a moment and write down the poem or thought that comes to you, it was given to you as a gift.  Accepting that gift is taking the time to write it down when it comes to you.

When you are done with your poem celebrate your success. Be careful who you share your first poems with, external critics can be as harmful as internal ones, so in the beginning share it only with supportive people.

About the Author

I have been writing since I was little and found myself bored but yet still trapped in a classroom. So instead of staring out the windows at school, I would write poetry in the margins of all of my school notes. And in this way I could pass the time without having to listen to the teacher when they were being boring or depressing. A few of these poems are in my first book “Poetry for All Those Breathing” which is now in its Seventh Printing. Poetry has always been a way for me to be heard by my family. If I would simply state how I felt, I would frequently be ignored but if I wrote it as a poem, what I had to say would be listened to. Sometimes my parents would even cry when they heard my poetry.