For the last few years, in April, I’ve signed myself up to the National Poetry Writing Month, or NaPoWriMo. Modelled of the novel equivalent, NaNoWriMo, in which I also usually participate in, the aim is to write a poem each day in April.
This year I’m doing it again. I had a rough start, on 1 April I was performing with Wasted Monday at a dive bar in Thornbury after a full day of work and I didn’t get my poem done for the first day. I have managed to catch up, but it’s quite hard to write two poems in a day.
I can often pump out about 2,000 words in an hour or so when I’m sprinting on a fiction manuscript, but poetry is a different process. It’s about selecting just the right word, taking the time to consider the myriad meanings and nuances, the rhythm, the double entendre, the flow, metre, assonance-the list goes on.
Does anyone else do this month long challenge? A friend of mine wrote a poem every day for a year once, she found the process instructive, inspiring, frustrating, and sometimes defeating. I think part of the point of writing challenges like these are to force me to produce something. With poetry, perhaps more so than other types of writing, it’s easy to get caught up in the perfection of the piece. To obsess over exact word choice and placement, sometimes to the point of paralysis. At least if I write thirty poems, a few will be worth continuing. Plus Maureen, who manages the NaPoWriMo website, provides daily prompts for those of us who can’t think of something to write about every day.
Perhaps that’s another reason I find this harder, in some ways, than NaNoWriMo-I need a new concept for each poem. I could do a series, but it would still be a lot more ideas than for a novel, which is essentially one big idea, instead of thirty small ones.
I should get back to it, though, since writing this blog is procrastination for today’s poem. I’m sure I’ll publish one or two here on the blog, but others will stay locked away in the archives not for public consumption.