NaPoWriMo – another mad (but brilliant) idea

I’ve decided that this year I’m going to have a go at NaPoWriMo. No, not NaNoWriMo, NaPoWriMo. (Inter)National Poetry Writing Month.

What on earth is (Inter)National Poetry Writing Month? It’s a challenge. A celebration of poetry that coincides with the American National Poetry Month celebrations. And it’s very simple: write a poem every day for the month of April.

jesus_5_by_raichingerThere’s no way I’m going to be able to write thirty good poems in thirty days. But as a number of people have said, that’s not the point. It’s so easy to bog yourself down in the whole I must write Important Poems! Good poems! Skillful poems! thing, and life is way too short. Nothing at stake, and nothing to lose. Just the simple act of pen and paper, and someone else imposing discipline.

Stupid as it is, I have to remind myself sometimes that I write because I love writing. Yes, I get pleasure from polishing a poem, bringing all the bits together. But that’s more of an intellectual satisfaction than the bone-deep purr I get from just writing. That buzz you get when something stirs on the page. That catch in the breath. 

There was a time when I used to write at least one poem per week. Sometimes not very good poems, but adequate, functional, perfectly presentable poems. I don’t do that any more. I try to. Intend to. But self-discipline is my weak spot, and I’ve always got plenty of excuses and distractions. I found last year that teaching helped me regain some of my sense of play – my students weren’t judging me, but they did expect me to do the exercises along with them! It was … liberating. And I got the starts of some damn good poems there. Coincidentally, I start teaching again in April … (only three sessions this time).

So that’s the plan. To use NaPoWriMo to get the juices flowing again. To remember why I do this, and how incredibly privileged I am to be able to pursue my passion. To enjoy myself!

And to try and woo my muse back from the spare bedroom …

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