Archive for May, 2012

Reflections on NaPoWriMo

09 May

Last month, I took on the NaPoWriMo challenge: to pen thirty poems in thirty days. The exercise was to write a poem every day, and I nearly stuck to that. Poets work on an honor system, which involves pretending that we sat down to write a poem every day, instead of five in one day, or five poems for the entire month.

As a writer I try not to compare my writing with others, rather, I read as a reader. After the month of April was finished, I decided to check out some of my fellow NaPoWriMo-ers (at least, those that linked their web-published works to the NaPoWriMo site.) I thought during this project that I was constantly falling behind; that there was this demand for my words. As I clicked through more and more poetry blogs and sites, I realized many of the fellow writer’s did that whole artist thing … posting for the first few days, leaving off the last three, continuing past the month of April. Very few posted complete April collections.

I get it. The process itself was not an easy one. I kind of catalog it in “Writing,” how at first it was exciting, ideas falling out of the sky really, just by opening up my eyes to look around the room. By week three, it was more like: Dammit I have to finish a copywriting job, edit twenty more pages, unload the dishwasher, call my mom, give the baby a bath and finish the three poems I started four days ago …. Crap! And write today’s poem.

That isn’t to say that daily poetry writing is all bad. Some poems are a force; they just come right through you; the written equivalent of bursting into song. Other poems, like “Ritual,” just whisper themselves to you while you’re in the middle of the act itself. Others are woooorrrrk … it may be a great spark of a concept that never takes off; the words just lie there like dry seeds. Some experiments with topics (mothers, or love or tacos) soon fizzle with a sing-song like mediocrity. Many poetic starts just stayed in my notebook, not even making it to a Word file.

And yet. NaPoWriMo was a satisfying process, not just accomplishing the feat of writing 30 poems in a month, and not just jump starting creativity. Now, as I read back over the verse, it reads like a lovely little catalog of my days … my regular, everyday life is there, along with the spectacular thoughts and feelings that come with them. It is a sort of picture album of poems; which I am taking great pride in creating.