By Shelley Widhalm
Writing a poem a day, instead of waiting for magical inspiration to swoop in, showed me I’m kind of a lazy but also a good writer.
I’m lazy because I don’t want to write a poem a day.
I’m good because that’s how I have to think about myself (it’s my career and my passion)—plus, there are a couple of gems within my daily poetic forcedness. I found if I wasn’t too tired (I often procrastinated until the end of the day) and let the poem take over, I lost the words I typed and fell into the images, hanging on as I wondered, “What’s next?”
Poem A Day Challenge
Yep, I took on the daily poetry challenge to write a poem a day for one month, which I started Sept. 1 for the month of September. I’m going to continue the challenge in October, but I also know, at this point, I can’t commit to more than 30 days at a time. To see a vast endlessness of a daily poem requirement is a bit daunting—that would mean 365 poems in a year and writing a poem Every. Single. Day.
Instead, I have to shrink my view of the daily writing commitment into something I can mentally handle before I can turn it into a habit. It remains a chore some days, instead of something to look forward to, excited at what will happen.
So far, I’ve met the challenge, or mostly, in that each day has its poem, though I skipped a day or even two days three or four times and had to backtrack to fill in the poem slots.
Some days I wrote poems because I had to show up, writing bad poetry just to fill in the blanks. Other times I had things to get out, whatever I had stored up in my poetic soul, awaiting inspiration. I had a spot for the words in waiting and was surprised at the layers of thoughts I have about things.
I wrote a few poems with similar titles—what’s going on in my head, really? And a few about the same subjects. I tried on new subjects. I started a few with “The poem goes here,” because that’s how I have my fill-in-the-blanks set up with the title in bold and the typing in normal font. I called one “Poem Date,” and another “My poem asked me on a date.”
I wrote a few haikus thinking poems with 5-7-5 syllables could be whipped out, and I could get to bed. I also wrote about writing about poetry. I called one of the poems, “Lazy Poet.”
Here a few examples of my bad poems, or semi-okay poems—I’m not even sure. I wrote them sleepy:
Showing Up, written Sept. 7
To be honest,
I didn’t show up today.
I wrote today’s poem tomorrow
When tomorrow became today.
Not even hope.
I just didn’t write a poem.
I was too tired.
I didn’t feel poetic
I went to bed.
Here a couple of haikus I wrote:
Missed Date, written Sept. 9
I missed my date with
Poems called Haiku and Lune, Can’t
Find my Cameo.
Too Hard, written Sept. 20
Writing a poem a
day, too hard like counting syl-
lables: need short words.