As you know, I’m always looking for new and innovative ways to practice writing. The more and more I focus on marketing my books and selling my books, the more I seem to need this.
I think that it’s good for all of us, no matter what part of the writing path we’re on, to remember that it is a practice. We’re artists, we writers, and our purpose is to create art.
People have a wide span of ideas of what art is, or what it’s supposed to be. For me, art is about clarity. My favorite songs, books, and movies always make something clearer. I do strive to tell a good story in my prose. Not all my work is going to be great art. But if I can help someone achieve a sense of clarity, then I feel that I’ve created a piece of real art.
Sometimes that someone is me.
To that end, I’ve started keeping a poetry journal. If you haven’t heard of this practice, it’s pretty cool. It’s also self-explanatory. You keep a notebook, in which you write out poems. Some people will sketch, draw or paint an image to go along with it.
I don’t do it every day. Some days I just don’t have the time, to be honest. But I’m finding that it’s doing a lot of good things for me.
First off, I’m writing more poetry. Poetry feeds prose, you know I’ve always said that.
It’s also therapeutic, though. While I exorcize my emotions through any work of fiction, it does have to go through a filter. I’m publishing my work most of the time. So, whether I mean to or not, I edit myself. That’s not always bad (You guys don’t need to know everything about my life). But sometimes I need to get out of me what I’m feeling.
In that way, keeping a poetry journal has been helpful. You might rightly ask, why don’t I just write a normal journal? Couldn’t I get my feelings out that way? Well, let me ask you something.
Have you ever been sad, or pissed off, and you weren’t sure why? Or maybe you’re overreacting to little things, things that shouldn’t piss you off. Maybe you’re crying at toilet paper commercials?
There are times when I have done almost all of those things. I don’t know if it’s my people pleaser gene or the fact that I don’t pay great attention. Maybe it’s just that, even though I’ve been practicing listening to my internal voice, I’m not perfect at it yet. Sometimes our subconscious is clued into the fact that something’s wrong long before the rest of the mind is.
Whatever the reason, sometimes concerns come out in my writing that I didn’t even realize were there. You don’t have to be an artist to use this tool, by the way. If you aren’t a writer, or if you know someone who isn’t a writer, keeping a poetry journal can help.
It’s also just fun, writing a poem then drawing a picture to go with it. I’ve always enjoyed drawing and painting in a purely amateurish fashion. I’d never want to be a professional visual artist, but I do enjoy being a better hobbyist. It’s a way for me to fit playing into my day. And, a reason to have paints and colored pencils in the house that are just mine.
I highly suggest keeping a poetry journal. And I’d love to hear about what changes it brings to your life! Let us know in the comments below.