Blog: A little break/Writing difficult poems

A little break

It’s been a little while since I’ve finished a poem.

It wasn’t entirely intentional to take a break but it was probably overdue.
I’ve managed to post at least one poem every single day from 25th December – 8th February.

That’s 49 poems in 46 days. I’m pretty happy with that.

The break was good. I’ve loved writing poems but I started to get a bit too focused on the blogging side of it. It’s so encouraging and validating to see people reading and enjoying my work– I love it. Thank you. It’s also a little bit addictive; it’s easy to obsess over the numbers.
Having such a high output is also incredibly time-consuming, especially because I record myself reading all of my poems to you (which I also love doing). Whilst it was magical staying up until 4am to ride a wave of creativity and inspiration, it’s not a sustainable way for poor sad Saba to live.

I’m going to try and post regularly, but less frequently. Maybe every other day? We’ll see how it goes.

Difficult poems 

This week, I’ve been trying to write difficult poems.
Not difficult in terms of the subject matter, but poems that haven’t quite worked in the last 46 days. Poems that have sat in my phone notes unfinished; one-line fragments that have taken up whole pages of notebooks; words which just wouldn’t cooperate.
Now, every time I go to write, I’m confronted by the corpses of poems that didn’t make it. Harrowing is too strong a word, but its at least a little disheartening.

I need to purge myself of these poems.

I’m having a hard time getting these poems out but here are my main tactics:

1. Get everything in one place
There are little shards of poems scattered all over the place. You’re tripping over them and every time you do it reminds you of a poem you weren’t able to finish. This makes you feel not good.
Collect your ideas in one place where they are safe. Put them somewhere that you can easily go back to and where you’re best able to work with them.
I’m going to type mine up on my laptop.

2. Take a look at the bigger picture
Zoom out of your fragments of poetry and see what they look like. Are there any key themes? Do any of them tie in together? It’s likely that at least a few of these fragments want to be together in one poem. Maybe that poem has been writing itself over weeks. Take some time to review all of your ideas together.

3. Why has it been so difficult?
Now take a closer look at each line and ask yourself why these poems have been so difficult to write. Maybe the ideas aren’t ripe enough; maybe they don’t feel authentic enough;  maybe you don’t really have that much to say on the topic. Remind yourself that it’s okay to discard ideas. You don’t have to write things that don’t excite you– what would that achieve? As much as you want to write, forcing things will just make you fall out of love with what you’re doing.

4. Just write
In the spirit of Bad Poetry, sometimes you’ve got to stop being so precious about your ideas and just write. Beautiful things happen when you allow yourself to write without judgement. Maybe you’ll write something great, maybe you’ll write something awful– at least you will have written. You’ll feel good. Work through your ideas for now. If you don’t get things quite how you’d like them, you can always come back to them in the future.

Part of the aim of this blog post was to get used to writing again– a little warm up. Now I’m going to carry on with my ‘difficult poems’.
Actually, let’s not make them difficult poems any more. They’ll just be poems. I hope to have some for you to read/listen to this coming week.

Good luck Saba, you’ll be great.

[17/02/19]

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