Springingtiger's Blog


Reflecting on NaPoWriMo

As my last night’s poem emphasised NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) is ended for another year. I cant help but feel I should take a few moments to reflect upon it.

One thing upon which I am absolutely clear is that I am very strongly motivated by commitments and deadlines. That I produced thirty poems over the month of April came about because, having said I would, my stubbornness compelled me to it. That I posted one a day comes from that being the deadline imposed upon the task.

I discovered that many of my poems are the ensuing product of a single line or perhaps a couple. This is why some of my poems disappoint me because the other lines fail to live up to the initial inspiration. I have had some great lines this month.

If I am honest I must admit that I have been pleasantly surprised by the overall quality of my output over the month. I would normally expect to end the month with six poems with which I am happy. However this time I have exceeded my expectations. Although there are several poems that will require further work, ali in all it has been a good month.

One of the greatest pleasures of NaPoWriMo like NaNoWriMo is the sense of accomplishment one gets from accomplishing the challenge. Although. Unlike NaNoWriMo, there are no certificates of achievement at the months end, the sense of satisfaction is as great.

Because in NaPoWriMo one is working to a time-limited challenge, there is none of the usual opportunity to wait until inspiration strikes before writing. In yesterday’s poem I called this a ‘discipline’ and it certainly imposes a discipline upon the writer. Sometimes one has force oneself to produce verse on a subject regardless. This has led me to appreciate the formal structures of poetry, I tended this month to default to sonnets. Great poems may be free and unstructured, driven purely by the rhyme and metre that flows from inspiration. However when one is painstakingly trying to render an idea into verse the formal structure is a godsend. It provides constraints which actively help to formulate the idea as verse.

I think that the constraints of trying to express ideas in verse actually causes a process of clarification and comprehension in one’s own mind which increases one’s own understanding. It is very much like writing a paraphrase in that it is impossible without a clear understanding of the subject, although in this clarity of understanding is probably more important than accuracy.

Have I enjoyed NaPoWriMo? Yes, despite the usual agonies of writer’s block and insufficient rhymes for an important word to fit a rhyme scheme. I end the month with increased self-confidence and adaptability in my writing; an understanding that where the rules don’t work new rules can be written or old ones written around.

Will I do it again? Hell yes! What’s more I’d recommend the experience to anyone wanting to develop their writing.

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