Improve your power of observation: Write a poem a day
Do you want to be more observant? Try this: Write a poem a day.
I’ve been trying it and it’s taken my observational skills up a notch. Even if you don’t see yourself as a poet, try it anyway. Not only will you enhance your ability to see more of the world around you, you’ll begin to tune into your writing in a new way. You’ll become more conscious of words and their connotations. These skills will carry over into other forms of writing that you do.
Here are several tips that might help:
1. First, don’t freak out. Relax and just tell yourself that you’re going to go with the flow. You don’t have to write completely polished poems here. Just write. Your poem doesn’t even have to be “finished” the day you write it. Shoot for having a “draft.”
2. Try using prompts to prime your poetry pump. Beth Cato, who writes the blog Catch a Star as it Falls, uses Robert Lee Brewer’s Poem a Day challenge. She types the prompt in a Word doc in the morning and let’s it simmer in her subconscious (and conscious) mind as she goes about her daily routine.
3. Think of big ideas and small details. A poem can have a big theme at its core or be based on a small detail you’ve observed as you move through the day. I’ve written a poem about an interaction with someone at the grocery store.
4. Keep your notebook close. Your writer’s notebook is crucial for capturing daily observations. Remember to listen to your instinct and listen for that ping in your heart. Then ask, “why?” Figure out the universal emotion your keying in on.
If you’re interested in learning more about writing poetry, check out A Poetry Handbookby Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver.