6 Challenges for Every Poet

I have written poetry for almost 18 years. That has totaled about 500 poems. After so many poems, it becomes too easy. To stay invested in writing, to maintain interest and intrigue, you have to keep challenging yourself. There were days I didn’t want to write. Sometimes the only way to get me out of that mindset was to challenge myself. I tried to write a sonnet or something else I’d never done before. I expanded my knowledge and regained my interest in the craft. Most of these ideas, I don’t find challenging anymore because I’ve done them so many times. They’re still fun to do when everything feels stagnant. Try one or two or all of them.

1. Write a structured poem (sonnets, villanelles, sestinas, etc…)

Some people feel the constraints of a structure poem limit their creativity. I’m the opposite. I think those restrictions bring out more of my creativity. It never hurts to try writing one.

2. Write something with the same number of syllables in each line (blank verse)

Blank verse has ten syllables per line. But who says ten is the only number? Try eight or six. Or alternate and have odd numbered lines with eight syllables and even numbered lines with six syllables. Change up the rhythm of your poems.

3. Find an image, photo, painting and write a poem about it

I always have fun with this one. You immerse yourself in the world of the painting and create something new and different. Imagine writing a poem based on a painting by Salvador Dali.

4. Make the speaker of the poem an inanimate object

Change the POV. One of my poems was about a gladiator battle as told from the perspective of the Arena itself. Explore how a table lamp or a pencil might feel.

5. Take an emotion and replace it with something else. Use that something else to discuss the emotion

One time I decided to write a poem about feeling lonely. I replaced lonely with feeling hungry and wrote a poem about loneliness through hunger. Create and explore some metaphors.

6. Write something focusing more on the sounds of the words instead of the words themselves

Do a bit of research on Dadaism. The words were gibberish, but it was about sounds not meaning. Also consider nonsense poetry which Lewis Carol made popular. Make up new things or create one of those fun poems like Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

The first poem featured is “Running Nightmare Wake Up” from the collection Cats, Coffee, Catharsis. The second poem featured is “Hungry” from the collection Pariah Bound: The Lonesome Poetry.

Embracing New Challenges

For the last few weeks I’ve been grappling with the woes of unemployment.  This is the first time in my life that I have ever had to apply for unemployment and it’s both painful and humbling.  On the plus side, this newly available free time has helped me finish some writing and do more of the blogging and things.  I’ve even been more active on social media.  With more finished writing, I’ve also been submitting to online magazines.  Some have rejected me and others I’m still awaiting a reply.  It’s been a rocky few weeks.

With publishing and things, I have several short stories that will likely be rejected soon.  I say likely rejected because I feel I need to be rejected 10,000 times before someone will publish my work.  We shall see.  Also, June 16, will be a free eBook download day for Dollar Tales from the Morbid Museum: The Ghosts Inside.  Download on your kindle or kindle app for free the entire day.  On June 30, I have a new eBook coming to your kindle and kindle app titled Dollar Tales from the Morbid Museum: Flash Fiction.  This one will include four short stories and a little introduction to the Morbid Museum.

As far as promotion is concerned, I have recently started a Patreon page.  This is a social platform to help artists, creators, and the like to gain financial assistance for the creative endeavors.  Since I am unemployed, I thought this would be a good idea.  I at least would like $7 a month to help cover the cost of this website.  I have also been working harder on increasing my reach on my Facebook and Twitter pages. I have increased likes and followers, but this is only the beginning.  Please tell your friends and keep an ear out for other free eBook download days.

The challenges will never cease, and I will continue my mental health battle.  I’ve been finding more and more reasons to stay positive and finally feel like I have a support system.  This is a first for me, but this is what motivates me to keep writing, to keep searching for a new job, and to continue promoting myself to one day become a full-time writer.  What a joy that would be to work for myself and still make enough money to survive and have fun.  We should all be so lucky.  Remember to face your challenges and never give up!