Back in the 2012-2014 period, I was blogging and writing a lot more. There was a very active community of writers, bloggers, and poets that were doing a lot back then. Most of those people have seemed to step away from blogging and a lot of the activity dried up with their departure.
One of the things I did back then that I never thought I’d do is dabble in poetry. Primarily through prompts provided by other bloggers, I wrote short poems of various types. Some were political, some were whimsical, some were heartfelt. But none of them I took very seriously because I’m simply not a poet.
The thing is that writing poetry, even if you’re not good at it, can help your fiction writing. You learn how many words simply are not necessary to make a point, to draw a picture. You experiment with flow and rhythm and imagery and all of that can only improve your storytelling ability.
As I’ve struggled with writing over the last few years, I’ve tried different ways to get going again and very few things have worked. But two things have helped me in the last couple of months.
One of those things I’ve blogged about recently. Being invited to contribute a short story to Utopia … Pending and then being able to write and complete the story felt pretty good.
The second thing came along as I was writing and finishing Two Turtles, my contribution to Utopia … Pending. One of the most inspirational poets who contributed to all of that activity back in 2013 and 2014, but who then disappeared, is back and blogging again. Back then she was Kirsten Interrupted. Today she is Kira at eat Create repeat.
Several times a week, Kira posts a poem or quick piece of flash fiction and then explains the poetry form, idea, or picture that inspired the piece. I’ve written something in response to just about everything she has posted and here’s what is happening. I don’t have any delusions about my poetry skills, so I just do my best. In other words, my internal editor apparently is not an expert on the poetic form and I’m generally able to write something relatively quickly and freely.
Most important, this is all quieting my internal editor when I sit down and try to write fiction now. Although I’m not writing as often as I’d like (there are still all those pesty distractions), when I do write I’m getting things done. For the first time in years I have hope of completing The Irrepairable Past and if I do that, I can’t wait to get back to Northville Five & Dime or K Street Stories or maybe something completely new.
For the first time in years, I’m starting to feel like a writer again and it’s thanks to Fallacious Rose’s invitation to write a short story and Kira’s return. I can’t say enough about how Kira’s prompts and ideas have opened a creative window for me again.
So, if you’re a writer and you’re struggling (and, yes, I know there are a few of you out there), give poetry a try. Head over to Kira’s blog and see if anything lights something in you. Don’t worry about what it is or how it comes out, just give it a try. Make a practice of it. And then go back to your fiction and see what happens.