Yes, it’s that merry month of mayhem: National Poetry Writing Month (adopted by more and more poets across the world, it seems). How quickly the poetry year doth come around!
To be honest, I hadn’t given taking part any serious thought, this year, until Pam Thompson asked if I’d like to be added to Carrie Etter’s NaPoWriMo Facebook group. I admit I wasn’t too keen, at first.
Previous experience in write-to-a-prompt groups runs something like this: a battery of poems posted hot on the heels of the daily/weekly prompt, followed by a barrage of comments/feedback on posted poems, the (self-imposed) ‘pressure to produce’ something (anything!?! omg…). On bad days, I’m a virtual wallflower (I was that teenager. I still hate parties with discos) with an acute attack of Imposter Syndrome. All this, on a repeat cycle. The end result: a feeling of ‘Oh, I may as well quit right now…’
The purpose of Carrie’s group is general support, comments on prompts and progress so far. Poems are not posted (yay!). Before the month got underway, members were asked to post their one inspirational poem by another poet. I really liked this idea and enjoyed discovering poems/poets new to me.
Carrie’s list of 30 prompts appears as a pinned post on the group page. I’ve printed it off; it’s propped on my desk, along with a month of poetry prompts by Jo Bell, and one or two others. Just in case I can’t get out of the starting blocks. And the group’s 137 members seem, like me, to be going about things their own way. Some are writing to Carrie’s prompts in order, some are choosing ones from the list that spark ideas that day, others (like me) are mixing and matching – or even combining – prompts from different sources, and there are posts about poems that come into being without a prompt. (I happened upon a blinder of an opening line from clickbait in an email notification the other day).
Some members have different agendas, this month. For instance, John Foggin isn’t following prompts but is using material from his notebooks to write the poems he feels compelled to write; Rachel Davies is using some of the prompts to add to her sequence of mother-daughter poems as part of her PhD.
Group posts are a real mixture of progress, process, other useful prompts, everyday life as help and hindrance, etc, etc. These are inspiring in themselves. And motivational, too. We’re all doing our own thing.
I’m finding this freeing. I’m growing a habit of daily writing, even writing first thing in the morning (well, after feeding the cats and making up my breakfast bowl) as opposed to, or some days as well as, my default late evening/night writing.
Not all my efforts have mileage as poems, but there might be lines, phrases, or the odd word to plunder as some point in the future. That brings me to my next point: what of that accumulation of notebooks I haven’t gone back to for some time now? They exist as a regular niggle at the back of my mind. So this month, in addition to The Daily Write in my notebook (no special NaPoWriMo one, just the one that’s currently on the go; no special pen or pencil, just the usual cheapie) I’m typing up and beginning to re-draft the ones I think have possibilities. To date, there are six poems-in-progress in a new sub folder. Nine days in, I’m doing okay.
If you’re writing a poem a day, this month, I’d love to hear how you’re going about things via the comments box below.
Happy writing! 🙂