How I Write My Poems

When I write a poem for this site, I tend to have a line or two already composed in my head and then I just sit at the computer and type. I don’t do outlines or drafts for my poetrybecause I want my poems to be as authentic and gritty, bare-boned and simple as possible.

When I write a poem, I always have two other windows open on my computer. Always.

They are:

Interestingly enough, I can often find the rhyme I want with the thesaurus, but I really like rhymezone. It serves its purpose — it doesn’t always give me the word I end up using, but sometimes it gives me an idea for the next line or phrase. It will provide me with a new path for the poem, which is fun.

Back to the beginning of the poem, though. Like I said before, I tend to have a line or two (or even just a word or two) composed in my head. This just comes as an epiphany of sorts at some point in the day. The catacombs idea came to be while I waited in a 4-hour line to nowhere one day. I pictured people standing in line, holding these prized possessions that we deem of such high importance, when really, it will all be gone at some point and “things” will mean nothing. So that poem is slightly dreary. My love poems are more fun to write, and I’ll sometimes get a phrase stuck in my mind and build the poem around it. A lot of times, I’ll pick up on a line from a song and write my own poem around it — that’s how Something Good was written. There’s a line in the song Ruckus by The Young International (NOT a love song, as far as I can tell),

I really think we’re onto something, and you’re gonna like the sound of it

and I just picked up that “we’re onto something” for my poem.

For my storybook owl poem, I used the song Strawberry Swing by Coldplay and imagined the book I wrote playing along with the song. In fact, I actually created a video of the book playing with the song — it’s something extra I do for my niece and nephew (and of course now they expect this “music video” for every story I write them). And one of the poems, Listless Me, Myself a Mess, from my poetry book (free download this month!) is inspired by Malchus by Concerning Lions. Songs provide great backbones for stand-alone poetry and, of course, they are poems in their own right.

What resources do you use for poetry? Ever glean from a song or story?







2 responses to “How I Write My Poems

  1. How interesting! You write such wonderful poetry, so I love this little glimpse into your process! Rhymzone is one of my favorite websites, too. I used it not to long ago because I needed a word with a certain syllable count (I love how that site breaks down results by syllable).

    My process is a little more random. Natures is always a source of inspiration, but I rarely write about it at the moment I see it. I usually wake up in the middle of the night with a phrase that links to whatever I saw or a thought I may have had the previous day. From there the phrase starts to grow and I just follow its lead. 🙂

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