Writing Habits

Write a Poem Day: 365 consecutive days

At the top of the year, many writers set new writing goals and embark on new challenges. We are inspired to shed old habits. We promise to be braver, bolder and more disciplined. We vow to get a grip. 

Image result for robert desnos
Robert Desno

Earlier this week, I wrote a post analyzing one of Robert Desno’s poems “Once There Was a Leaf.” Desno was a French poet and journalist who lived in the 1900s. In 1936, he “wrote a poem a day for the entire year,” according to the Poetry Foundation

Immediately, the wheels in my creative mind began turning. 

What would my creative life look like if I consistently committed to writing a poem a day for 365 days?

cHASITY gUNN

Let’s be honest. This sounds like an impossible task. What writer, of any level, has time to write every day for an entire year? 365 days is a long time to devote to any habit. But then, I thought a little more. I have habits that I have done for 365 days for dozens of years. Every day, I brush my teeth, wash my face, take a shower and check my phone (multiple times). If I can do those tasks, why couldn’t I write a poem for 365 consecutive days? 

The two biggest obstacles are time and writer’s block. I could overcome the time obstacle by scheduling as little as 5-10 minutes to write. I’m not striving to write an award winning poem. I’m just trying to write a poem. Lowering the stakes makes the feat feasible.

Image result for jerry b jenkins
Jerry B. Jenkins

Recently, I have been investigating the sources of my creative blocks and its . I watched a video of New York Times bestselling author Jerry B. Jenkins discus how to overcome Writer’s Block. He has published over 200 books so I imagine he knows a bit about the subject. 

He argues that writer’s block is a myth. He asks: “If writer’s block were real, why would it affect only writers?”

Jerry Jenkins

Valid question. He says we don’t call our supervisors and say, ‘hey’ boss, I’m not coming into work today because I have worker’s block.’ Jenkins contends: “No other profession accommodates such an excuse to quit working so we, writers, shouldn’t either.”

His premise is that “writer’s block is a cover for fear.” Rather than entertaining our blockage, we need to use fear to humble us and to motivate us to work hard to create better writing. 

Creative writing is certainly a complexity with nuances that are easily explained. Depending on the work, writing daily may legitimately be a challenge, no matter the level of devotion. Writing a poem is not exactly like baking cookies. However, I think sometimes writers are not as consistent because we have such mindsets. 

So, I have decided for 2020, I will take the challenge of writing 365 days. My purpose is not to grind more or work harder. I honestly want to do more of what I love, and I want to tap into that love daily. I think this habit will help tear down the mindset that every time I write it has to be beautiful. And it will confront the fear that hinders me from showing up and trying. I picture this journey to be a messy, and I am seeking perfection. 

Hopefully, a year from now, writing poetry will be a lot more like brushing my teeth and less like pulling teeth. 

cHASITY gUNN

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