Writing and sharing your first poem

I'm going to be honest with you, the goal of this article is to try and convince you to write a poem, and then share what you've written with me. I bet you weren't expecting that level of honesty right out of the gate, were you?

A friend of mine asked me a couple of months ago if I wanted to start a writing workshop via Skype. He has experience writing poetry, so we decided to go through some poetry prompts. I was in the middle of apologising for a poem, when he jumped in and said something very interesting: "the quality of your writing doesn't matter, that's not the point of these workshops". He's exactly right, what's most important is that you keep writing. That's how you learn. That's how you get better. Nobody becomes an excellent poet overnight, and the workshop is a way of setting aside time to write more frequently.

How I start a poem

Since we began our workshops, I've continued to write poetry for a few months now. I'm still new at this (it's strange that I feel the need to say that), but I've noticed a pattern in how I start each poem.

I attend a writing group twice a month, and one of the rules we have is that you're not allowed to apologise for what you've written (a rule that I'm always breaking). In the group there's a prompt, then we get roughly 30 minutes to write anything we want.

I loved the idea of writing a poem about not apologising for your work. So I started to simply write down words around the idea, for example: Mariana (who organises the meetings), prompts, 5 more minutes (everyone always asks for 5 more minutes to finish their work), apologising etc. I write down anything that comes to mind, as I can always edit later.

Poem notes Poem notes. My handwriting is terrible.

Writing down these words starts to spark ideas. I'll think about how the rhyming structure will work afterwards, but this initial process makes the next steps much easier. Give it a try! Here's a link to the finished poem.

Poems are very approachable

What I love about poetry is that it feels very approachable. A poem can be just a few lines, which makes it less daunting compared to longer forms of writing. You can have an idea, then within minutes have a finished poem. If you sometimes struggle to finish a piece of work (like I do), then poetry could be well worth trying.

Share what you've written

I have the tendency to overthink a lot. "I don't think this is good enough", "maybe I'll just spend another few days working on this". So if you're like me then you might be reluctant to share your work.

But, as I said before, nobody starts off as an excellent writer, and by sharing you open yourself up to receiving feedback so that you can improve. Whether it's online, or reading out loud to others, it's a great habit to get into.

As an example, I tend to use an inconsistent syllable count in my poems which can disrupt the flow. My friend picked up on this, and I'm working on trying to improve it. Remember, don't be afraid to share what you've written. It doesn't need to be perfect. I find this hard too.

Writing prompt

With all that being said, let's put into practice finishing a poem and sharing it. This prompt is all about mornings. As we're talking about poetry, let's write a Haiku, which is 3 lines (non rhyming) with the syllable count: 5-7-5.

I was given this prompt a couple of months ago. My syllable count is off, and I'm not 100% happy with it, but I wanted to share it with you anyway:

I went swimming this morning;
never swim on a full stomach.
The cereal tasted great

Give yourself 30 minutes, or even an hour, then email me what you've written. I'd love to read your poem!

I’ll be sharing new articles as I learn how to write short stories, poetry and lyrics

Wait a minute, who are you?

Hello there! I’m Richard Child, a new writer that discovered his love of writing after moving to Düsseldorf and joining a creative writing group. I promise not to spam your inbox (because nobody likes that).