View Full Version : Advice for a Noobie

November 23rd, 2010, 01:53 AM
I've recently started getting serious about poetry, but can seem to find any inspiration - where do you get yours ?

November 23rd, 2010, 02:13 AM
To be honest, everywhere. :) But I think if you will read a lot of good poetry it will help to inspire you. Then you can just look anywhere in your life around you and find things to write about. The poetry contests can help you to practice writing about specific subjects. Don't feel badly if you write a lot of stinkers to start off, we all do. :)

November 23rd, 2010, 06:47 PM
Alrighty thank you vary much XD

November 23rd, 2010, 08:51 PM
The main reason I participate in internet discussion forums, especially writing forums that have verse contests, is so that I can be provided with subjects to write about. Otherwise I can never think of anything. All the poems I've had published to date started as entries in various internet forum challenges, lol.

The above applies to poetry only; in terms of prose, the ideas never stop. Sometimes I almost wish they would!

Olly Buckle
November 23rd, 2010, 09:20 PM
People write poems about things that are important to them. For some people that might be a fundamental question in life, such as why do we strive to stay alive when we are doomed to age? For others it is the material world around them, their grand child's teddy bear. Decide what is important to you and then decide what form would suit its expression most, sonnet, ballad, limerick ... there is one for every subject.

Elric Randall
November 28th, 2010, 10:25 AM
Personally, inspiration is a two step process. For one, writing exercises are fantastic, both as creative catalyst and to improve the overall quality of what's written. Additionally, I think nonstop. Sometimes a particular idea will latch onto an exceptionally appropriate image, and a poem is born.

First off, have an idea or emotion. Then, make it come alive in text. If you find yourself temporarily strapped for ideas, those writing exercises and prompts practically emanate inspiration.

November 28th, 2010, 10:42 AM
First off, have an idea or emotion. Then, make it come alive in text.


January 14th, 2011, 01:03 PM
Some good advice. I agree that writing prompts can produce some really interesting work. It sometimes just helps to really focus you, and that way you're concentrating more on the poem, rather than yourself. If that makes sense. I really love the game 'iron poet,' in which you start with three words and a form - eg. elephant + teacup + helmet + quatrains - and someone has to write a poem to these rules. Then they post the next words plus form, etc etc. Sometimes ezines use spur-words for each addition, and the poems must be written to that theme. That can be good fun too.

Sometimes I like to challenge myself by taking a mundane object, and trying to write about it in as evocative a way as possible. Sometimes I'll have a line in my head and a poem will emerge from it. Anything can trigger a way into a poem.

Overall, though, one of the main things I would suggest is not sitting in your room for days on end trying to capture some sudden 'aha' moment of inspiration. Live your life to the full. Experience everything you can. This notion of poets being insular and secretive and cut off from society is all very silly if you ask me. Someone who has a healthy social life and gets out and does things is probably going to find that they have far more things to write about.

There's also no point forcing a poem. If you don't have anything to write about, just take a break for a while. And when you do have an idea, don't rush it.

March 24th, 2012, 05:44 PM
life is inspiration - love and heartbreak - depression. sometimes a sunset or looking at waves on the ocean from a quiet viewpoint. thats what puts me in the zone, but everybody works differently.

May 2nd, 2012, 11:13 PM
In my intro class in college, my Professor had a few really good ways to get everyone started. One time, he collected a set of cool/strange/plain pictures and told us to pick one and either write what is happening in the picture or write what happens next from that scene. That can be an interesting way to get inspiration. Another method was "finish the sentence". Where the story/poem had to start with a certain sentence fragment and you had to continue from there. Another time, (or though you would probably need help with this one) he took a published poem that students weren't familiar with and erased whole sections so that you had to fill it out so that the eventual next line would make sense. (It can also be kind of fun to see the difference/similarity between yours and the original) And another of my favorites is he had us write a Pantoum poem. Its a bit different from the poems people (or at least me) are used to reading/writing, such as sonnets, limericks, etc. And you can have quite a bit of fun with that type of poem.

Anyway, those are my suggestions. I hope they help!!

jeffrey c mcmahan
May 13th, 2012, 02:53 AM
I would say that, poetry comes from your mind. It requires the development of associative skills, relationship skills, intuitive processes, and a sense of economy. Doing your best to use as few words as possible to convey your expression. One of the most basic axioms concerning art, is to know when to stop. Having a large fund of words up in the gray matter goes a long way also. If you have been a reader for a long time, it presents the opportunity to take it to the next level. Try to recognize fluff words, use them sparingly. Reading poems here, and reading the replies of others may be helpful. Try replying to some poems, with a focus on trying to understand the symbolism and the overall impression you received from the piece, and how did it impact you. I can't transmit the how of it, my way would not work for you, if it would you would be writing. I don't say my way is the way, or that it works for others. I just like to express, with as little effort as I can get away with. Most of my work causes eyestrain it would seem. But that is okay, when it does work for someone, that's were I get my gratification. Not the first gratification. The first gratification comes after I lay my pencil down and say it's fin. Then read it to see how closely it matches up with what is up there. If I'm happy with it, all else pales in significance.

luck with it


May 13th, 2012, 03:31 AM
Writing poetry makes one more observant in life, and I have found a wealth of inspiration in just observing the world around me in my day to day life: from some snatch of conversation I overhear, or an odd sight on the side of the road, or a building, or something as mundane as a tree or a bird or a piece of trash blowing in the wind.

I have also been amazed at what I come up with by thumbing through my handy pocket dictionary and picking a handful of words at random and then brainstorming how they connect - this has worked several times with me, giving me pieces that I love and that I never would have come up with strictly "out of my head" - everyone needs prompts now and then. It is still self-expression because no one would write the same piece as another, even with the same handful of words or the same writing prompt.

The best times are when inspiration strikes without warning, usually when I'm not thinking about writing at all. It's like I hear a train whistle far off, and I know a new poem is heading my way, so I wait by the tracks for it. I keep a notebook handy for such moments, or I open a Word document on the computer if I happen to be close to one. Sometimes a piece seems to nearly create itself, I suppose it's the subconcious mind at work.

I guess the best advice is to write everyday, even if it is trash. The act of writing keeps the juices flowing. Stream of consciousness is amazing, covering a certain number of pages over with words without thinking, just writing writing writing, even if it is nonsense, whatever comes to mind, don't stop. Then go back over the writing and pull out images, phrases, word associations, that seem to have potential and write a piece around them - you will be surprised at what you create this way.

good luck

Don V Standeford
December 4th, 2012, 10:10 AM
Get a photograph, write what you see happening in the photograph down to the last detail. make a story out of it. Then add a little of your imagination to the story to include yourself into the work. When it's done, rewrite it again from a new perspective, adding in some of your philosophy.

Main thing is to start out with the concrete. and a picture is definitely concrete.

January 6th, 2013, 01:07 PM
Women, and almost exclusively so.

January 6th, 2013, 02:42 PM
Reading and writing good poetry inspires me. Being around (even if only online) other writers keeps me writing. Revisioning my older work keeps me writing as well.

I have a spiral notebook where I printed off about ten of my favorite poems, cut them out line by line and scotch taped them to the front. It's neat to look at. But when I feel stuck when I'm writing in it I can go back to the front, read these amazing poems, and find inspiration. The way it looks is kind of crazy because the way the lines match up end up (because I put them up with the lines end to end) being strange and tilted--I'm able to read one line of a from Poe and the next line I read might be from Plath or William Carlos Williams.