In many years of environmental practice what I learned is that everything revolves around resources: how you use them, manage or generate them.
Well, this same notion we can apply in different ways in order to get our creativity flowing – especially when it comes to writing. Rewriting, revising our own or somebody else’s work helps us not only to become better writers, but also it helps us develop our reading and analytical skills. You learn to question ideas, statements and arguments. You learn to notice and search for new relations, discover weaknesses and come up with new ways to improve what’s already there. So, this is what I propose:
your old books, magazines or even shopping receipts and try to create new poem. It can be similar to collage, but this time try to focus specifically on words and create your poem out of them. Cut out your favorite words and phrases or circle them on the given page and make them the constituent part of your new writing venture. Play with the words. Try different arrangements. Pick words that somehow inspire you or relate to a project/problem you are working on. Once you found an arrangement you like, you’ve created a found poem. What kind of emotions or reaction words trigger? Read them, play with them and they just might offer some new, fresh perspective on the questions you have.
Now, this one I believe is going to be fun – at least was for me and can really help you in you writer’s block. Try to find a poem that you dislike, that you feel negative about and simply wreck it! That’s right: tear it apart! I don’t mean tearing the physical paper, but omit, reduce, erase, everything from the poem you don’t like and use it as the basis for writing a new one – in a way that feels and sounds right to you. This little, simple exercise can be really helpful later in your own writing.
This one is similar to the previous but it refers to your own writing. Find something that you wrote long time ago, when you were in a different mood, influenced by other circumstances and give your writing a make-over. Use your own writing as an inspiration for your new poem, dress it in new words, develop stanzas out of sentences and see where it takes you. Our past experiences are our best teachers and what we’ve learned we can use to adequately manage our creativity and direct future actions. Take the knowledge you acquired into your own advantage and just let your free writing do the rest.
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