How to find what you didn’t lose? Write!

Writing is an act of desired hope and hidden enthusiasm.

Maja S. Todorovic

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Poetry in disguise: using your casual writing to discover the poet within


I can bet that many of you, as a little kid (just as I did) liked to have a small notebook or a diary where you would write your cutest and most intricate secrets – how you hated your lunch or how that boy in the second row always gave you weird looks and laughed at your braces.

And I do believe that even today so far I have never met a real boredom – because I’m always doodling, jotting something down and I find easy ways to amuse myself. That habit of simply recording your thoughts can have a deeper meaning and transfer into something more beautiful and valuable. Today I want to share my experience with that.

I’m a strong advocate for journaling and daily ‘casual’ writing, because if you look at it more clearly, it is a perfect guide and companion: paper can hold on to anything, it is there without any judgment, ‘listening’ and helping you reflect on your daily thoughts, feelings and experiences. I believe that our journal/diary entries can be a great source for poetry writing as it is a simple tool where you express yourself in a variety of ways – writing but also collecting and keeping small memorabilia (like scrap book), photographs, pictures, making interesting collages, vision boards, to do lists, goals and ext.

All that merged with poetry that accentuates language and experience can lead to developing your own little master piece. Any journal entry can be an inexhaustible source to discover poems as journal is a bridge between you and your perception of life. When you start to write, it is adventure for itself as you never know what might happen and where the words will lead you. You might get sudden burst of creative inspiration and from there transform it into the most beautiful poem. There are no barriers, limitations or vocabular sensitivities. You write who you are, in that moment. What I like about having journal as an inspiration for poetry writing is that it allows you to examine questions you probably wouldn’t consider ‘poetical enough’. But there’s the catch: it is a place for openness, no hide and seek games – it’s just you and your real interests, desires, emotions – raw, uncensored.

If you read your writing entries more carefully (and in the title I on purpose used term casual writing instead of journaling because even drawings and doodling can be translated into a poem – many people don’t keep journal per se but like occasionally to write and draw) you can recognize where poetry is well disguised and waits for you to be discovered.

What to look for?

  1. Pay attention to the language.

    Are there any words and sentences that seem more melodical, poetical, that offer sensual rhythm – being that about your beautiful pet, funny afternoon with your child or romantic evening with your spouse – these are emotions that can be translated into poetry.

  1. Pay attention to the feelings.

    Follow your writing entries to see where you write/draw with passion and strength, where you eloquently describe what happened to you (being that injury, pain or even a dispute with a friend), where all your senses are awaken and your descriptions are very detail and elaborate – from there you can derive sincere and strong poem.

  1. Pay attention to the core themes that are repeating.

    These are your central life issues and reveal what is deeply rooted inside and what’s important to you. In your poem you can further elaborate those messages, explore their meaning and get clearer insight on how they are impacting your life. In my case, that’s the issue of health – how that impacts everything that I’m doing, my general quality of life and many of my poems are health and family related.

In one my future posts I intent to discuss in more detail how we can use journal writing to enhance our language and poetic expression.

Do you journal or write every day? How that impacts your poetry writing? Please, share in the comments below.

The tightness and the nilness round that space
when the car stops in the road, the troops inspect
its make and number and, as one bends his face

towards your window, you catch sight of more
on a hill beyond, eyeing with intent
down cradled guns that hold you under cover

and everything is pure interrogation
until a rifle motions and you move
with guarded unconcerned acceleration—

a little emptier, a little spent
as always by that quiver in the self,
subjugated, yes, and obedient.

So you drive on to the frontier of writing
where it happens again. The guns on tripods;
the sergeant with his on-off mike repeating

data about you, waiting for the squawk
of clearance; the marksman training down
out of the sun upon you like a hawk.

And suddenly you’re through, arraigned yet freed,
as if you’d passed from behind a waterfall
on the black current of a tarmac road

past armor-plated vehicles, out between
the posted soldiers flowing and receding
like tree shadows into the polished windscreen.

Seamus Heaney

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7 prompts to inspire your writing during holidays


Holidays…you like them and you hate them in the same time, right? I don’t know about you, but for me – every holiday I enjoy some additional spare time  I have if I manage to take short travel or read a good book. But sometimes, it can get hard and hectic to fulfill all family duties that are expected of you, do the errands, cleaning, cooking…and guess what – little or no time for writing. As we are entering a ‘red zone’ of holiday celebrations, there are some smart ways you can employ even in the midst of chaos and steal few minutes for your poem writing. Still, being busy with everything else can leave us feeling empty and tired – all you want is sleep and quietness.

Today I want to encourage you even if you are buried over your head with holiday preparations, travel plans and ext. to use that atmosphere creatively and festive, holiday spirit transform into an inspiration for writing.

Here are my top 7 seven writing ideas:

1.If you have some unresolved issues about upcoming holidays, use that as an opportunity to more explore in your writing. What are your current plans – would like to change them? Are you excited or nervous? How would you rather spent your holiday time? You can write a poem, story, or just as an idea for free writing or journaling. This can also serve as a casual warm up writing sessions for something more concrete you have in mind to write.

2.Imagine you are a travel writer set on a new adventure, traveling to a place you always wanted to visit. Where are you going? Who is traveling with you? What are you most excited about? Describe every detail, people, atmosphere, landscapes…For more creative insights on this subject you can also have a look at this creativity exercise and deepen your writing practice further.

3.Try to evoke some dear and meaningful childhood memory you have in relation to holidays. Portray those feelings in a poem that will honor that happiness and excitement you experienced as a child.

4.Remember some funny moment or joke during family gathering. What was funny about it? Did you have a good laugh? Or you disliked it? Use it as trigger to further inspire your writing.

5.Pretend you are a hosting a festive party for your favorite holiday. Everyone is there, your family and friends…everything goes well until something unexpectedly happens. Guests are confused and don’t know how to react to latest developments..

6.What is your favorite holiday? Describe it without actually naming it, but through the usage of your senses: how does it smell, is it cold or warm? Is it noisy,  are you alone? Are you traveling? Employ your senses to the most intricate details and let your imagination takes you from there.

7.You are just about to go to the airport (for your holiday vacation), when your old school friend, you haven’t seen in ages appears at your door. What do you do? You engage in conversation, you invite them in, you are pleasantly surprised or something else happens?

Use these prompts not only to ignite your writing but challenge yourself to examine some of those feelings you might be having about holidays, family relationships and ext. Let your imagination go wild and no matter how chaotic your holidays get, squeeze in some time for writing to release any tension you might have and give yourself a chance to relax.

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