During the month of September (2012) I jumped into my first 30-day poetry challenge. I mostly enjoyed the process, pushing my comfort levels with writing on a daily basis, but I confess there were some days when it was the last thing I wanted to do. I was surprised that I was able to keep up—I’d tried something similar once before and lasted about a three days. This time, it was a goal I wanted to accomplish for myself, initially just to prove I had the discipline. There were days when I barely had the desire to sit myself down and write a poem, feeling quite resentful of the fact that I had to write a poem in the time left ticking away before midnight.
But very quickly I found the experience was something I looked forward to, because it began to be that everywhere I looked, I saw a poem. Like the night I was distracted with our two kittens making a mess of my desk and papers while I was trying to work. I was running out of time and seeking inspiration for a poem before the deadline—when one of the kittens walked across my keyboard, randomly typing “ubgikul.” In that moment, an evening of frustration turned into a poem.
Writing poetry each day was an altered way of thinking for me. Writing poetic snippets and poem notes I could do, but opening up myself to a complete poem proved to be something I was willing to do too, and that was a great confidence builder for me, which carried over into other areas of my writing.
I’ve always avoided that one suggestion by favorite authors: write every day. Every day. Even if all you can do is just stare at a big blank page—write THAT down, literally write, “I’m just staring at this stupid white, lined, stupid blank page, because my mind is blank and this is stupid.” It sounded so boring and tedious, not for me. I was afraid of those moments when my blank mind would do battle with that empty page, expecting me to surrender.
Well, this poetry challenge challenged that fear of having nothing interesting to say and I discovered that, yes, writing every day—every day—did in fact work my creative muscle. It helped me fill an internal reservoir full of words. It sparked a renewed love of poetry. And getting to read the amazing daily poems–extremely honest and beautifully written poems–of my friends who were participating made me fall (even more) in love with words.
I learned much during the process, both reading and writing a variety of poems, I even discovered (at least in my opinion) that I had a little poetic range and a writing voice—an unexpected insight.
This experience also led to an increase in my artistic productivity, affecting not just my writing, but my art too—which permeated into other areas in my life. Ideally, that’s what goals do. Committing to this daily goal in a public forum (on Facebook), opening myself up for critique, and completing the “task” was a personal accomplishment that was important to me. This poetry challenge proved to be a wonderful journey that will stay with me.
Enjoying the journey…