As we are celebrating World Poetry Day, this is a quick reminder that each poem you write is reflection of you in that particular moment. That holds its own beauty and value that nobody can’t deny.


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Writing is an act of desired hope and hidden enthusiasm.

Maja S. Todorovic


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fear_writing

Don’t let fear paralyze
your writing. Instead,
think of legacy you’ll leave behind.

Maja S. Todorovic


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efficient-writer

What exactly is high efficiency? In broader sense, in my own interpretation being highly efficient is being able to accomplish all desired goals in defined time-frame with satisfying results. The most accomplished people in any industry are those who are highly efficient and for writers this is a very  ‘handy trait’ to acquire.

Many of us are not born as highly efficient and productive. But we can learn to improve our performance in any realm of life which can lead to more energy, focus, confidence, productivity and satisfaction – something that any writer desperately needs.

You want to be efficient not occasionally when ‘all pieces of your life fall in the right place in the right time’. You want that sustained confidence and ability to be at the top of all things, having your life and writing under control – not the other way round.

And the next few things I’m about to say here are nothing new to you. You probably heard them a lot of times before, but yet we do forget and slip of our writing wagon. So take my recommendations as a friendly reminder and a guidance to help you examine your life  habits and how that is impacting your writing.

Step 1: take care of your basic needs properly, so you have more time for writing.

You probably could see this one coming. I simply can’t stress enough how this is important. When your basic needs like eating, sleeping  and daily movement/exercise are fulfilled then your body and mind are prepared for any challenge. It’s a prerequisite to any productivity. Fueling your body with healthy whole foods will give you energy, strengthen your immune system and endurance you need in order to achieve what you want. This, paired with enough sleep and relaxation instead of indulging in useless TV program will give you clear mind and focus you need in order to write and jump over that writers block.

I know I named this post easy steps and all this might not be easy in the beginning, but in a way we need to unlearn our unhealthy habits; to start fresh with open mind, heart and faith that with little baby steps we can retrain ourselves  –  to cultivate better habits and allow ourselves become writers we want to be.

Step 2: set reasonably achievable writing goals.

This is where, in my opinion is one of the traps we often as writers fall in. Setting too much goals or goals that are defined in tight time-frames can sometimes play as a true motivator, but more often it produces more pressure which leads to additional stress and discontent. I know that some people can have high performance under pressure, but think about it: how will that actually impact your life in the long run?

I am unfaltering advocate of being true and clear with yourself: what are your priorities? Chose one or two things you really need/want to do and start from there. Doing everything, everywhere in the same time is not a sustainable efficiency.

Step 3: do it, write it – no excuses

We are, with our human nature a real champions when it comes to excuses – why not to do something. You lack time, energy, you are busy, you are hungry, you are too hot or too cold, sleepy or..whatever. If you notice some of these thoughts creeping to your mind, go back to steps one and two. There is all magic happening. Your next poem, story, manuscript or blog post is hiding right up there. When you conquer steps one and two, your productivity will improve, your desire to learn and acquire new skills, have fun and immerse yourself in creative outlets will naturally come back running to you.

Do you have any tips on writing productivity? Please share with us in the comments below.


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how-to-blog-a-poem

Is there a proper way to blog a poem? No. I don’t believe so. Simply, poetry as an art form is very subjective to poet and reader in different ways. It promotes freedom of speech, freedom of written word and expression, so trying to foster any rules is actually diminishing its essential function as an art piece. But I also believe it is important for us to acknowledge we are living in a digital world and available technological tools we can use in our own advantage to reach more like-minded readers, spread our message and have desired impact in the world.

Technology paired with different art forms, such as poetry is birthing other artistic, somehow hybrid, multimedia forms and that’s the moment where all the fun begins.

Becoming creative on how you present your poems, how you enhance the written word can have a great influence on your reader. Especially this could be of interest for newly established poetry blogs. Words should always be your focus, but how you access your audience across diverse social media platforms is also important.

Almost any blog platform, just as wordpress allow authors to post different types of content like photos and videos. You can pair your poem with suitable photo to accentuate the atmosphere and experience you want to convey, but even more important it can be using feature to record yourself reading your poem. Your voice and your emotions have a great power to move your readers, and you sharing your deepest intimacy in such way is making any feeling, image and interpretation even more believable and true.

To get your reader more acquainted with your poetry pieces, you can share your opinion on different poetry styles, your writing and creative process, how poetry impacts your life, your favorite poems and poets. This is a great opportunity for someone who is new to poetry and your blog to get acquainted with your background, style formats, different poets. You can form a page like ‘start here’ to present such information.

If you have attention of becoming more professional writer, than your blog becomes your portfolio, where you showcase pieces of your work.

So what are the actual steps you can do to improve your blogging process?

  1. My experience has shown that it is the best to blog at least few times a week. You are getting your readers accustomed to reading regular content and it is also good routine to get you in a writing mode. To make it easier, you can draft a lose editorial schedule to keep you focused and on track.
  2. Pick 2 -3 social media platforms you are most comfortable and connect with your wordpress account. Do your research and see where your writing style fits best – like Instagram and Tumblr are very popular for short and visual poetry. Use Publicize feature which allows you to directly publish your post to your social media accounts. Make sure in the title to use adequate hashtags as it will make your post more prominent and easier to find.
  3. To consolidate your audience, you can start building you email list of subscribers by installing a prominent signup or MailChimp account offering something like ‘next week’s poem in your inbox’.
  4. Other cool thing I liked and some writers have been doing is collecting their most popular pieces and offering them as a bundle in pdf booklet or ebook that readers could download for free. It’s a great promotional tool for you to show to prospective publishers and media agencies.
  5. Use small snippets and excerpts of your poems to engage your followers on twitter and drive that traffic back to your site.
  6. Consider submitting your poetry to different literary journals. You can treat your blog as a writer’s resume and update your blog regularly with your published work. In such way you are building your writer’s reputation.
  7. Repost. You can ‘recycle’ your old content/poem by refreshing or publishing it in the same form which allows newcomers to your blog to get acquainted with your older poems/articles.
  8. And maybe best advice one can give you is, to follow your instinct and publish your poems in a way you think best represents what you want to say. Reading poetry is unique experience, just as your writing. Be open to learn and experiment and with time you will develop your recognizable style.

As long as you keep your readers engaged and keep conversation going, they will frequently return to read new content. And more importantly share your beautiful poems 🙂


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secret_goodwriter

We all know that nobody is born as a good writer. It is a constant process of becoming. And I do believe that the difference between good and bad writers it’s not about the skill or gift. It’s not even about the number of written or published pieces. The key word we are looking for is persistence.

Good writer is writing – no matter how many times he fails or writes crappy work. He is there showing up every day, practicing and trying to improve himself. Not only writing, but everything that goes with writing.

In that sense, I think that biggest secret every good writer knows and we often forget is how good writer treats his bad writing. First, he takes time to write, erase, rewrite, edit, tailor every word to what’s need to be written. And how does he know what’s need to be written? He is attuned to his inner-self and follows the voice that drives him to write. Once you master to recognize that voice, you will know if what you wrote is good or bad.

The second essential part here is also his relationship to criticism. He is persistent, not afraid to try, to let his work be judged by the public eye. He knows how to tame his ego and accept constructive advice that can only help him become better and improve his writing.

Good writer is not writing because there is nothing else to do or simply he likes recreationally to scribble. There is ingrained need in him that he has to tell something, his story needs to be written. It’s not a job. It’s not a work. It’s almost like breathing.

Many writers do achieve certain level in their skill and they are determined that it’s all there is. They believe, by default anything they write is good and not subjected to alteration. In reality, what happens is that fear of failure is greater than desire to produce really good piece which requires additional effort and time. And frankly, often their writing is not even close to be good as they think.

Being defensive about the quality of your work is not going to make you a good writer.

So what can you do?

You can make a decision to be different and take responsibility for your writing. Go and write that extra page that many aspiring writers are not prepared to. Put an extra hour and improve that paragraph that has been bugging you. Be brave and send your poem to that journal you’ve been reluctant to do for so many months.

That’s how you become a better writer: with stillness to listen and eagerness to change. Are you ready?


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My dear readers,

I hope that for all of you this year has started on the right track, with enough energy to tackle any problem and challenge coming your way, with positive thoughts and enthusiasm to fulfill your writing and other creative plans.

Year 2016 was a great learning path giving me the opportunity to connect with many of you, get acquainted with your work, ideas and writing. It is very inspiring to be part of such community and simply have that opportunity to improve my own writing and creative skills.

As my small ‘thank you’ to all of you, I have developed and compiled an e-book, that is all about getting inspiration and creativity nudge for our writing and brainstorming. It consists of 31 daily prompts that you can use anyway you like. I know we all face lack of inspiration, doubt, discouragement and procrastination from time to time. This is my little way of helping you combat those situations and I hope you’ll like the exercises. Many of the challenges in the book you already know, but there are also some new additional ways to move in the creative flow, which you will also find in the book.

get-busy-with-writing

If you are signed up to Business in Rhyme newsletter, you already have the access to the book. For all of you who would like to receive the e-book directly, you can do that by following this link and signing up for newsletter. You can opt anytime.

I also encourage you to share this information as we can all work together to improve our writing and enjoy our creativity more. Your comments, feedback and ideas for improvement are all appreciated and welcomed.

Business in Rhyme also has a lot of plans for improvement and moving more into professional realm, so stay tune for novelties and makeover. 🙂


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criticism_writing

Rejection. Bad review. Returned papers and manuscripts. All these essentially we consider as a bad news. And it’s not fun to experience it. You feel naked and exposed, your heart is pounding, probably you are blushing and even feel embarrassed. “How did this happen“, you might slur for a second, but the only thing you can actually think of is how hurt, disappointed and discouraged at the moment you are.

Today I want to share with you a different look at the criticism that might help you deal with these situations easier in the future.

I believe, the first and foremost thing we need to do is to accept that it is simply inevitable –  there is very small likelihood that everybody will like and approve of your writing. As we are able to appreciate praise for our work so there is also the other side of the coin: we need to face there is always a chance that someone will not find our work suitable.

The second truth we often forget is that there is nothing personal about it. There is no conspiracy against you and your work. Nobody hates your poems and your stories are not boring. But the problem here is that we as writers always offer something that is part of us – thoughts, emotions or knowledge. Any criticism that comes our way, we might translate as a personal attack – to some point that many writers give up creating at all.

One simple thought that helped me a lot at the beginning of my academic career is that any professor, writer or reviewer of my work was also a beginner. He was also rejected and criticized. With years, I managed to write and work with many people I admired as a student. But it takes time and persistence.

Another thing I learned along the way is to differentiate constructive criticism and when someone is just plain rude. These are two completely opposite things: constructive criticism is oriented towards offering helpful insights and advice, while when someone just bashes your work to satisfy their own ego issues – well these type of people you want to avoid completely. These are all merely opinions and you always have the opportunity to explore the source – where is this criticism coming from, is it really applicable to your work, how reviewer /editor is really competent to analyze your type of work. And from that point decide how to accept or deal with criticism.

The third truth that will serve you the most is – take what you can from that experience and simply let go. In order to continue writing and creating, this is the crucial step. If you got honest feedback about your work, take a step back and think how it can help you in your future work; how you can use it to improve your writing and creativity.

Any negative situation is your chance to learn and grow. You are the only one in charge of your self-confidence, so keep writing.


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poem-strikes-back

It’s a bit strange title for the blog post, isn’t it? This is a different approach to writing prompts and exercises that you are accustomed to on this blog, but the last thing we want is to be boring and monotonous.

And before you dismiss whole idea, because it sounds silly – actually it is all about being aware of different perspectives. This is a sort of continuation of blog posts related to mindfulness and why not taking a role play as a foundation for writing prompt? To go even step further, let’s imagine that you are a poem. What would poem have to say? We use our writing as a tool to release our anger, love, passion, depression, fears, admiration, secrets, desires…Is your poem tired of you? Are you whining all the time? Are you always concentrated on what’s going on inside yourself that you missed a beautiful, strong and passionate  winter storm? The birch outside your window doesn’t have any leaves, have you noticed that?

Or you are trying to please everybody all day and you forgot to smile. Can you count how many times you smiled today?

Do you remember your latest dream? And when was the last time you danced to your favorite song?

Let your poem tell you all that. Imagine your writing is a mirror, what is it reflecting? What is missing out of your life? What is too much?

This is something I like to call reversed mindfulness. You are observing, noticing, listening…but instead of what is, we can focus on what isn’t. Our poem can tell us that story, a sort of self-reflection that shows us where our life is at, right now and what we can change.

It doesn’t matter if its humorous, boring, exaggerating – nobody is perfect, so neither is your poem. It’s about the understanding how we can enjoy life more.

So here’s the setting: It’s time for your writing. You are about to sit at your table but there is already a piece of paper waiting for you. It’s a poem, addressed to you and it says: “Dear_______

So, this is my take on the exercise:

Dear Maja,

how are you today?

Another grey Tuesday in the sunny Hague?

That rainy hat you are teasingly pressing on your head

Forget it…let it blow

like a wild bat…

Feel the wind through your hair,

that boring despair – leave at home

(there’s no such thing  “a graceful yawning”

I can tell you that!)

And why there are only two crossed lines

on your forehead?

Smile with your face,

you don’t have to know everything just yet.

Life unfolds, there is a reason I’m saying you this.

Stay close to me, my dearest friend.

You are not alone – like the Moon follows Earth,

I’m behind you, invisible, most delicate thread

you’ll understand, close your eyes, jump over that doorstep.

What your poem has to tell you?


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writers_block

Writer’s block: a detrimental feeling that many of us encounter at least once in our writing life when you simply can’t pull yourself together and produce some satisfying work – at least in your own eyes. You feel lack of inspiration, like you have nothing to say and your imagination simply doesn’t exist.

But let’s think about it for a second – who is actually ‘blocking’ us in writing? Is there a concrete block standing on your keyboard, preventing you to type? Who is making us feel that our ideas are not worthy, that we are not creative? We are. We are the only ones standing as an obstacle to our creating.

And though this term is very popular, a modern notion coined in 1947 by Dr Edmund Bergler, a famous Austrian psychiatrist, I don’t truly believe in writer’s block.

I believe that we often fall in monotony, where we are caught by inertia – just like in a river stream. We might find ourselves in yellow, muddy waters and if we long for fresh, clear flow of ideas – we need to swim, move, get out of or change the conditions that clog our thinking.

One thing that years of writing taught me is that you can’t force it. It’s like pedaling upstream – you soon get tired, out of breath and strength, but you haven’t actually made any progress.

Better way than forcing your writing is provoking your writing. This is where your power and control lies. There are many ways you can stir up your imagination and here I will share some of the practices I use to find my way to writing:

1.When you struggle with writing, do something completely the opposite.

I have noticed when I’m not completely in my ‘writing mode’, leaving that aside and doing other activities that are on my TO DO list can be enough to jumpstart my inspiration. This maybe due to subconscious feeling of worry are we going to do everything planed for that day: simply giving us time again for writing when you have the feeling you’ve accomplished your objectives for the day, can be enough for a productive writing session.

2.Free write for 10 minutes to get rid of monotony

Just write without thinking. How you progress, new and exciting ideas will start to appear. Give yourself a chance to play with words and enjoy – you will much more appreciate your writing and the creative process. Here on the blog are many creative exercises you use can as a prompts and inspiration pointers to instantly break any writing barrier.

3.Research

This might be more applicable to non-fiction writing, but anytime I’m not focused or I have maybe to many ideas, I perform a research on the similar subject. I find this to be very beneficial in terms that similar work I encounter can serve as a guidance on which topic to write or not – or give my own opinion on something that is stereotyped and could use a new input. Getting insight on what other people are doing on similar topic is always helpful.

4.Indulge in some art

Listen to some music or visit art exhibition  – I have found this to be one of the most helpful ways for me. By listening to my favorite bands or just looking at some of the De Chirico paintings as an instant recentering for me. On Pinterest I have even a board ‘Surrealism’ which I often use as my favorite muse.

5.Limit yourself

Set some rules: Start with what if clause or focus on using specific words. It has been shown that limited creative freedom can have a positive impact on generating new ideas as it provokes you to think differently.

6.Leave unfinished sentence

This is fun and clever thing to do. You just leave out there a word to linger and next time you have to deal with it  – it will hang on the tip of your tongue, tickle until you figure out what to write!

7.Return to your favorite authors, phrases, quotes that you like

Lately I have been writing, by hand in separate notebook poems and quotes that I like. It helps me with that feeling of insecurity sometimes I have about my writing. A simple encouragement that you can give yourself and easily destroys doubts is reading and believing in words of your favorite authors.

8.Go on a date with yourself

As said in the beginning, we are the only ones blocking ourselves in doing what we love. And why does it happen? Maybe it’s a message, a sign that we need rest, that we need more attention and time to be kind towards ourselves, destress and restore creative energy. So make room in your schedule to spend time with yourself, doing what makes you feel good -pamper yourself. Your creativity will come rushing back to your arms, making you eager to write again.

9.Do some squats or go for a walk

Physical exercise makes your heart beat faster, supplying your brain with oxygen. It helps with brain fog we sometimes experiences and your thinking becomes clearer. Going for a walk helps with your senses where change of scenery offers insights to new possibilities and opportunities.

10.If nothing else works – eat some chocolate!

But not any chocolate – with at least of 75% of cocoa, as some researches have found that consumption of cocoa flavanols results in an acute improvement in visual and cognitive function, giving your brain more power to deal with difficult tasks. So eat your way through writer’s block 😉


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