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q&a

QUESTION:

“how do you come up with your poems? i always want to write but i don’t know what to write about. everything never sounds the way i want it to. and writing seems to come easily to you”

MY ANSWER:

writing, actually, does not come easily to me! i edit and edit but what i do is i try to get the main theme across. sometimes i want something to sound pretty, other times i want to connect a metaphor. there isn’t a secret to the way i come up with poems, it’s just…imagination. everything i learn i connect it to something i feel, and that’s just how i see and feel life. and then it’s just a matter of time before i translate it into words. it sounds like you know what you want to write about, the outcome just isn’t what you desired it to be. writing is as difficult as is any form of self-expression. everything seems great in our head and then we splash it onto a canvas and we’re like “NO NO and NO!” but that’s what drafts are for. drafts become recycled so that they can turn into final drafts, or maybe that one thing you tried to write about wasn’t meant to be at the time. it doesn’t mean you can’t start over, it doesn’t mean you can’t go back to it.

writing is always a process. write about pretty things you see in the world and write about the ugly parts of you, and don’t worry about whether your words sound pretty or ugly. when you start anything, whether it is a sport, painting, writing, or dancing, you don’t start off by trying to master it, you just have to get the momentum going. you need the drive to do whatever you want. be welcome to failure. i’ve been writing since i was 14 and i just started poetry july of 2012. i think most of my “work” looks/sounds/feels terrible after i look back on it, but i am obsessed with writing my feelings and i just have to get them out whether i like it in a week or a month. but i set that aside because i know it’s just that i have high expectations of myself. everything is a process. don’t be afraid of terrible work. terrible work always precedes wonderful work. in any case, all work is beautiful despite your judgment. don’t worry about perfecting your voice, you already have one. it just depends if you like it. trying to write like other people, trying to sound sophisticated, that is not you. do not develop a voice that doesn’t resonate with you for the sake of sounding admirable. let go of your perfectionist tendencies and let your creative energy take over.

don’t let people’s writing intimidate you. recognize that a lot of writers come from years of writing. writers have literature and creative writing majors. writers are readers. write about what you are so fucking obsessed with that you cannot get it out of your mind until you have it set out on paper. that’s where you can start.

just get that momentum going. you’ll discover your rhythm along the way