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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Boyd

HOW TO GET MOTIVATED TO WRITE POETRY (Part 2)

As a poet it's very strenuous mental effort coming up with just the right words, forms, metaphors, rhythms, poetic lines, etc. to write a good poem--not just the popular confessional anguish. I tend to get overwhelmed with trying to do it all, or trying to do too much. I also get anxious when I just have a vague goal to write something every day. I quickly learned that lesson while writing my first poetry collection, Grasshopper Dreams. I break it down into smaller pieces like one poem a week. Then revisions the next week. Or small steps like creating an idea, then resting. The next day reviewing and revising the idea, then resting. Then choosing a poetic form that reflects the mood, and resting. I start by not being too aggressive. Sometimes I write a Haiku just to keep the creative process moving. I can always increase my writing goal when I start having success. The old goal-setting pros were partly wrong when they overemphasized that a goal has to be challenging. That's a set-up for failure. I make it something I know I can do. The idea is to feel good about the smaller accomplishments. I find it better to be specific or I'll never know if I accomplished my goal. The feeling of accomplishment is what the behavioral psychologists call positive reinforcement. And positive reinforcement creates motivation. From motivation comes thought and ideas and metaphors. That's the beginning of a poetry book.

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HOW TO GET MOTIVATED TO WRITE POETRY (Part 1)

I hear writers at poetry groups and read a lot of comments on social media from writers who don't know how to get motivated and stay motivated to write. (Famous poets agonized about it too.) Then they

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