This post arose from an assignment a couple of years ago with Hallmark Cards, when I was judging a Valentine’s Day poetry writing competition. So many people wrote to tell me they hadn’t written anything for years (ironical, no, as they were writing to me anyway!) so I quickly penned this little piece with a bit of encouragement to help out. We ended up with thousands of entries, and ran the competition again as it was a great success.
Out of Practice
I’ve recently had a lot of messages from people telling me
- they haven’t written anything for many years, or
- that they dry up when they pick up a pen, or
- that the blank paper/screen stares back at them like a mean teacher as if to say ‘who do you think you are, writing poetry, writing prose – writing anything!’
If you’ve ever had that feeling, here are a couple of ideas for getting started.
Remember that writing words can easily be about play, and enjoy yourself.
Pick a topic – any topic, the first thing that comes into your mind, everything is a possibility …..simply say to yourself “I want to write about…(in the instance of writing a Valentine’s verse, then Love rather naturally springs to mind) and start. It’s the same with most things in life – just begin. Getting started is (I know it sounds ridiculously simplistic) the key.
You can write about not knowing what to write about – that takes away the tension and there you are – you’ve written something with ease!
Don’t edit your thoughts or words, let them spill out – you can come back and refine them later … and this is for your eyes only, anyway.
Pick some random words: for example, I’ve got a piece of paper near me which says ‘Identity Card’ and the words that catch my eye on the computer screen are ‘Save Draft’…. What could I do with those?
My identity as occasional bard
Is sending you a Valentine’s card.
I thought of you and sweetly drafted,
So cherish and save these words I crafted.
It doesn’t have to be a rhyme, it can be anything – just get started.
You could say something like:
What do I think about identity Cards? Will they really make us more secure, and save us from possible terrorists attacks, stop illegal immigrants, will they help prevent extremist cells from drafting in new, impressionable recruits?
See if this process gets your creative juices flowing – look at what’s around you and start writing about it – you may be surprised how easy it can be to get into the flow!