Here is the first of my weekly NaPoWriMo updates. I won’t be posting all 30 poems (30?! *gasp*) on this blog – maybe one or two – as I’d like to keep them available to send to magazines and competitions.
I’m very grateful to Carrie Etter for suggesting I take part in this month-long poetry writing fiesta! For one thing, I’m pushing myself to write more and to persevere with a poem rather than putting it to one side when I run out of steam. I know that poems need time and that it isn’t always a good thing to labour a poem but, at the same time, for me at least, it can be productive to keep going just a little bit more to see if something shifts.
Poems can be elusive creatures, can’t they? Mine start with a sensation that I want to make something or say something or that I want to lay down a feeling on paper. Usually I grapple with being in this odd, heightened, emotional, restless state and manage to find a word or a sentence or an arrangement of words that make up the first line – the poem has started. Then, usually, days or even months follow when I’m constantly drafting and re-drafting my efforts. I tend to stick with one poem at a time, either working and working at the poem until it seems to be finished, or, work and work until I don’t seem to be able to say any more. I might realise that the poem isn’t quite right but I don’t know what else I can do with it. So far in NaPoWriMo, I’ve pushed myself past this stage and managed to finish a poem a day.
I’ve rarely started from scratch, I realise that some might consider this cheating, but instead I’ve been working from my notebook, taking lines or ideas or a title that I’ve recorded in the last year, and seeing if I can shape a poem out of this material by the end of the day. I’ve had some drawbacks; April 1st, for instance, involved a three hour drive to Devon for the start of a five day family break, followed by the unpacking, settling in to a new environment, sorting out a meal, making sure my kids were happy, etc. In spite of this, the knowledge that I’ve signed up for NaPoWriMo has given me the spur to find the time for a poem.
I’ve been doing a lot of writing in my head, writing in the kitchen while I’m cooking, writing with the TV on, writing with my notebook perched on park benches, cliffs, side of a swimming pool, pub tables. There have been a few moans about me not really being there but, on the whole, my family are very supportive and keen to make sure that my daily poem is in the bag. Best line so far has been from my husband: “Never mind about dinner, have you got your poem written?” (Yep, I’m glad I married him).
Onwards, onwards, onwards.
These bloggers have also posted about NaPoWriMo:
Here’s to a productive Week 2!!