Friday, November 30, 2012

Jump Start Your Writing with Poetry

by Scott Rhoades

Deren's post this week reminded me of something that has been such a deeply embedded part of my writing routine that it often slips my mind that I actually do it.

Except lately it seems like it's so ingrained that sometimes I forget to do it, but let's not talk about that.

When I sit down to write, and especially when I mean to start writing but the words are failing me, I find that I can jump start the writing portion of my brain by reading a really good poem or two. There's something about poetry that touches the creative cells of my brain like very little else. It gets me thinking about words and putting them together well, and puts me in the right frame of mind to create.

I subscribe to the free Poem-a-Day service from, so I get a poem in my email every day. Those are often enough to get me going. Of course, I don't get to choose the poems I get each day, so I don't always like the one I get. Fortunately, I have several poetry books that can remedy the situation. When in doubt, I need only reach for William Stafford or T.S. Eliot, or my beloved aging "The Theology of Doubt" by Scott Cairns. There are several others I turn to on occasion, depending on what I feel like reading and what I'm wanting to write that day.

How do you jump start your writing on days when your creative engine doesn't want to turn over?

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