Poem-a-Day // My Secret Project & What I Learned

In April I talked about a secret project that I had given myself for the month and I told you that if I was successful I’d talk about it more later. I wasn’t successful, but I decided I’m going to talk about it anyway!

My secret project for April was to write a poem a day. When I started on April 1st I realized it was the perfect time for this project because April is National Poetry Month. This was totally unintentional. I don’t keep track of all the special “national holidays” that we’re supposed to celebrate each month or day. But it was also unintentional because April wasn’t the month I originally chose to do this: February was. And then March. And I don’t think I even wrote one poem either of those months. But I wrote almost two weeks of poems in April and I learned a lot about why I wasn’t doing so well with the poem-a-day thing, so I wanted to share those thoughts with you.

What I learned from attempting and failing to write a poem a day for a month. // dreams-etc.com

1 // I know what tools I need to be successful. So I should use them.

An important tool for me are sticky notes. I like them. And when I have one on my desk, I tend to write my thoughts down. And let’s be real: I’m a writer. My mind is always going so I should always have a place to jot down my thoughts, even if I’m not trying to write a poem a day.

I should pull out a sticky note, was a constant thought that I had throughout April and I never did. I don’t need this to write a poem a day, I’ll wait until I’m home and write a poem properly, I kept telling myself.

Write a poem properly? What does that even mean? I don’t need a quill, parchment and a candle on an old wooden desk to write a poem. A sticky note with whatever pen is lying around on my dusty desk at work will be even better because I’ll actually write the poem.

2 // Set a time to be reminded of the task. And use an alarm.

I’ve found that when I think of a time to do a task, I’m more likely to remember to do it. Schedule it, in a way, without actually scheduling it. That time, for me, was 6pm. That’s when I feed Little One and that’s when I get the notification on my phone to see if my sister has posted some cute photos of my nephew on Tiny Beans, so that’s always the time that I set for myself to do things.

But that’s also not a good time to actually sit down and write, so while I was able to start thinking about what to write (which is essential, I need that time to think), I didn’t always sit down and put it on paper. What I need to do is set an alarm for later in the evening to remind myself to sit down and write.

3 // Daily tasks are hard. So I need to give myself grace. 

I like the idea of doing something every day, but in reality life gets busy, it can be hard to fit a task into my every day life.  And that’s okay. As much as I strive to be creative everyday, there will be days that I’m on the go and crash as soon as I get home. On those days, reading a page (or paragraph) before bed to unwind and “refuel” creatively will have to do. And I need to be okay with that.

4 // I’m rusty. So I need to write more.

Before this project, I can’t remember the last time I wrote a poem and it definitely shows! I’m a bit rusty! The first few days I was so frustrated as I wrote crappy poems that asked myself why I ever thought I could write one. And then I remembered that 1) these are essentially first drafts (always bad) and 2) it’s been awhile. So I need to write more poems.

And read more poems. I always think of Stephen King, who says, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time–or the tools–to write.” I’ve found that to be true.

5 // Write about the little moments of each day.

I’ve found that it’s helpful to get inspiration for a daily project like this from your day instead of trying to come up with something. And then you have daily moments documented that you can look back on, which is so cool. My favorite poem from April was based on a random comment that I overheard. I’d love to share the poem with you, but I like it enough that I might try to do something with it in the future and shouldn’t put it on my blog.

So with those lessons learned I’m going to try this out again. Not this month… so far May has been a little stressful and a lot busy. But I’m going to attempt a poem-a-day project again soon.

HAVE YOU TAKEN ON A DAILY CREATIVE PROJECT? WHAT LESSONS DID YOU LEARN?

[Tweet “What I learned from writing a poem a day–or trying to! #amwriting #createeveryday”]

ps – tips for completing Project 365.

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Katie
    May 12, 2016 at 9:29 am

    Love it! I’ve been working on writing more (I’m not at a daily practice yet) but where I’m allowing myself to write OUTSIDE of blogging which is so freeing!

    • Reply
      Crystal // Dreams, etc.
      May 15, 2016 at 4:19 pm

      I still need to develop the habit of a daily writing practice. It can be hard with all that’s going on. It’s so cool that you’re working on writing outside of blogging too. We’ll have to keep in touch and encourage each other in our writing endeavors. 🙂

  • Reply
    Julia @ Drops of Jules
    May 12, 2016 at 10:02 am

    This is the first time on your blog, but I’m so excited to pop on over because I did this too! I’m in a creative writing course at university, and my professor offered us to do it as extra credit. I loved the process and found it challenging yet liberating. You could write anything!

    • Reply
      Crystal // Dreams, etc.
      May 15, 2016 at 4:17 pm

      That’s awesome! I love that your professor gave you the opportunity to do this for a class and that you loved the experience. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply
    Christine
    May 12, 2016 at 10:38 am

    I love that you challenged yourself! Proud of you!

    • Reply
      Crystal // Dreams, etc.
      May 15, 2016 at 4:17 pm

      Thank you Christine!

  • Reply
    janella
    May 12, 2016 at 11:30 am

    this is a great habit to get into to make sure you make time to do the things you love. Thanks for sharing

    • Reply
      Crystal // Dreams, etc.
      May 15, 2016 at 4:16 pm

      I think that’s why I like daily challenges so much. It’s nice to have something that you do daily just to get in the habit of making your passions a regular part of life.

  • Reply
    Mayra Murillo
    May 12, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    I love that you included giving yourself grace! It is such an import aspect and often one that we forget. The important thing is that you challenged yourself and you learned from it. Take from it what you will and grow.

    • Reply
      Crystal // Dreams, etc.
      May 15, 2016 at 4:16 pm

      I’m learning more and more that it’s important to give yourself grace. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply
    Greta
    May 12, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    What a fun project! It’s great to challenge yourself to do something new!

    Greta | http://www.gretahollar.com

    • Reply
      Crystal // Dreams, etc.
      May 15, 2016 at 4:15 pm

      It was a lot of fun! I think it’ll be cool to one day complete a month and be able to look back at it and see a month’s worth of poems. 🙂

  • Reply
    Shann Eva
    May 12, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    That sounds like a really cool challenge. I think even if we don’t complete what we set out to, we still learn a lot. At least I hope so, since I definitely don’t complete every challenge I start.

    • Reply
      Crystal // Dreams, etc.
      May 15, 2016 at 4:14 pm

      Exactly! I definitely think there’s something to be learned from any challenge we set for ourselves, even if we don’t complete it. 🙂

  • Reply
    Cynthia @craftoflaughter
    May 12, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    What a wonderful challenge to spark or renew the creative juices! I love this

    • Reply
      Crystal // Dreams, etc.
      May 15, 2016 at 4:13 pm

      It is! I feel like just doing a little bit of something every day keeps the creativity flowing. 🙂

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