Tag Archives: planned writing

It’s been a While

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, with good reason. Been real busy. I’m excited, though, about April! I’ve got great plans for National Poetry Month in 2011! I’m not signing up to follow any NaPoWriMo prompt activities.

That’s the ‘great’ plan? Yes! Yes it is.

There is so much going on in my life right now until it’s all I can do really to keep up with myself. Daily adventures in work search have me greatly distracted, to say the least. That doesn’t mean I won’t be poeming. Quite the contrary. I’ve decided to try it with a relaxed feel again. No pressure to get a poem written daily to a published prompt.

I signed Up

As for sharing somewhere other than on my site, I’m again signed up with NaPoWriMo.net. By the way, the site has a whole new look, which is also exciting.

As well, I’ll be tooling around the web to read the poetry of my cyber friends that I follow and new ones I learn of, through NaPoWriMo.net and other places I happen upon. I hope to see you guys around.

Writing Through

In one long inhale
since last I wrote here,
I breathed in
the girth of my more
uncomfortable trials.
Now, facing the madness of April,
poetry and other activities,
will I pilfer the marrow
for all fodder
in the delight and challenge
I anticipate encountering,
to exhale here
throughout National Poetry Month.

© 2011 Shari Lynne Smothers

Operation Catch Up is Under Way

November’s more than half over and so is my poetry writing for the month. I’m three days behind but that will change in the next day or so.

Reading and Writing Poetry

I feel the need to read, and chat about poetry. So, this afternoon, I’m on my mad dash to write to catch up some. My plan is to split the time with reading and writing until I’m back on track.

There are some really excellent poems being shared at various sites. If you’re not writing but want to read them, be sure to visit the prompt sites that are posted in my sidebar. They really do attract an amazing collection of talent!

Wishing Us Success

I won’t wish us luck. That’s not at all what get’s me through. It’s fun and otherwise extreme perseverance. I mean, there are times when I think about giving up. No—not that really. At times, I let things get in the way, which is very much not a good thing. Especially when you consider the fact that all we need is drafts and not competition for Lucille Clifton or Billy Collins.

I met a lady on twitter who’s writing non-fiction for this month. There’s a lot of writing frenzy this month, which means a lot of energy is generated in all the stress. So I wish us all success, including me for the catching up I’m inflicting on myself. I’ll come up for air, soon as I’m done. Quite likely I’ll tweet it from my highest perch. Get it?

Okay, that joke is either a good sign or a bad one. I can’t say just yet. So, cheers all around! I’ll be visiting blogs soon as I come up for air today and hopefully things are going well for you. Enjoy!

NaPoWriMo Update #1

Nearing the halfway mark for the month and writing a poems a day, I had to make one big change to my routine. For whatever reason, I was dragging my feet to finish and post poems until the very last minute of the day. That was weighing me down as I tried to wade through the writing and reading that is supposed to be a pleasure.

Posting late mattered because I took it to heart and made it a responsibility to write a poem a day, right. So I had it to do and it was on my mind all day, each day. It popped up throughout the day, whatever I was working on, that I had this obligation yet unfulfilled. It created a measure of pressure and distraction that I decided to eliminate. Today was my first day being really early to post a poem, and it felt really good.

I’m so early today until I hardly know what to do with myself. I’m home early and trying to catch up on reading and other writing. For sure, I’m going to try to go to bed early to see if I can get up even earlier than my usual 7:30, hopefully to read more poems. The poems are really fantastic!

And there’s lots to read. Where I’m posting my notifications, at Read Write Poem, there are more than 200 writers posting their works and comments–daily!

I’m also visiting the places listed in my National Poetry Month section in my sidebar. If you want to read more, and possibly better poems, by all means visit these places and get reading.

One place I have to mention I came across a few days ago, is Poetic Mindset. This blogger introduces a poet a day. It’s an ambitions effort that I am enjoying immensely. You should check it out.

So, how’s it going? Have you changed anything big in your poem a day practices? Have you come across any interesting sites? Or are you doing anything unusual for NaPoWriMo? I’d love to hear about it.

National Poetry Month 2010 is Finally Here!

Today begins the challenge to write a poem a day, to the prompts from Read Write Poem. This morning’s prompt offers an interesting challenge. And this is one reason I enjoy writing to prompts from others: they take me in directions I may not have considered.

If you have no plans for NaPoWriMo, visit the links in my sidebar for NaPoWriMo 2010 activities. Visit Read Write Poem to see all that’s going on! There’s likely to be something that interests you. And the posts are very well connected so you can get the full breadth of what’s up for grabs, without missing a beat.

I’m signed up and ready to go! I got my first poem in my email today. And I believe I may even have a theme to write to for this month as well. I’d been toying with the idea. And I think Pamela Villars may have pushed me over to the side of a thematic effort.

Good luck to us all! Remember to enjoy the effort! I’ll be reading the poems posted as time permits. I look forward to reading yours too. And I hope to hear from you along in the month.

Write 30 Poems in 30 Days

With two days left before NaPoWriMo begins, I’ve been thinking about what goes into writing a prompted poem daily for a month. One key is to use routines wherever you can. You know what you have to do and you get used to going through the steps. Breaking down my strategy, I found that a routine surfaced, and I want to share it.

Eight Steps to a Poem a Day

  1. Read the prompt as early as possible. Give it time to marinate. Let your subconscious have first crack at it, while you go through your day.
  2. Consciously dismiss all concerns and distractions at writing time. You may even try saying aloud, “Time to write a poem.” Focus on the prompt and how you interpret it.
  3. When a prompt takes you to a particular place, that’s where you start writing. If that doesn’t happen, write whatever thoughts come to mind. In this stage of associative writing (I call it that) you’re stirring your personal knowledge from the bottom up, and things can surface that may have been dormant for many years. It happens and it is quite useful.
  4. Eventually something will strike you. That’s the theme you wan to give your attention to and develop.
  5. Find the sense of what you’re hearing in the words. Write words that are fully expressive of what you’re thinking, in colors, smells, emotions. Write to reflect the rhythm you feel, breaking lines however you like. Just get the words down to flesh out your message.
  6. Shape your poem. You’ll read your poems several times before it’s over. First reading: Listen to the flow and revise your line breaks and punctuation to convey the rhythm and breaths you use.
  7. Read aloud with affect. Does it sound like you want. Read with different rhythms that play from your shape. Listen for what readers may hear. Make changes as you see fit.
  8. Take a break from the poem. If you’re like me you may not have a lot of time for this. But it helps. When you can, move off your poem, to something else. Return later to repeat the process of reading and editing  until your comfortable, (or run out of time), and post.

A Word about Speeding

These steps are from my experiences with daily poem writing on my own, and with prompts in November 2009. The writing goes fast, and so does the editing. In fact you can do it in a day or in an hour as time permits.

My point is that your goal isn’t to perfect your poem. That comes later. What you’re doing is making it work so that 1. your message is understood, and 2. you’re willing to let it go live. Easy, right?

Writing without prompts

Although this is written toward prompted poems, there’s really very little difference between prompted and unprompted poem writing. Really, the only difference is that someone other than you provides the prompts.

Think about it: Unprompted poems are really poems that you prompt for yourself. Rummaging through your thoughts, you pick up things that interest you and get working on it. So, skipping number 1, you can move through the same steps as above—I do.

Be sure to visit the links on the NPM 2010 page for links to participate in National Poetry Month. Links for this event are in the sidebar for easy access.

Let me know your thoughts. What did I miss? What routines do you have to write your poems?

Participation is a Growth Opportunity

National Poetry Month, 2008, 2009 Unofficial
Poem a Day Chapbook Challenge, November 2009 Official
National Novel Writing Month, 2009 Official

Attractions to Group Projects

Officially and unofficially, I’ve participated in these and other writing projects. They can be really intense. And I was thinking about why I elect to participate. It’s rarely just because I get bored.


  • Pushing myself beyond my suspected limits makes me think I’m not lazy
  • It makes me know that I can reach beyond my comfort zone
  • It affords me the opportunity to be part of a variety of projects
  • It’s exciting both to participate and to complete


  • I learn of many new writers that I might not otherwise find
  • One common interest brings people together to learn about each other
  • Participants share resources that may be new to me
  • Participants may actually become a resource
  • There’s the chance to share something that others may find useful

Continue reading Participation is a Growth Opportunity