By A. J. Hayes
Last year, on my 30th birthday, I took the challenge to write a poem a day for a year and post it on my Tumblr blog. I completed the task earlier this year, and compiled all 365 poems into a collection, 30th Year Poetry. Inspiration for these poems came in many forms. I talk about the specific inspiration for the poems in the book. In order to “get inspired” on a daily basis, I recommend doing the following:
- Slow Down. Modern life is often rushed. We seem to always be on the go, speeding through life—even our food is fast! In order to find inspiration, I realized I needed to slow down and stop trying to hurry through life. There were days when I left to work or on errands earlier than needed in order to take my time to get there, rather than rushing along. Doing so allowed me to clear my thoughts, and focus on the world around me—a subtle rustle of leaves, a snatch of conversation, or a smell that brought back a memory. I spent time alone with my own thoughts. Sometimes we move so quickly that we miss the poetry around us.
- Observe Life. This goes hand-in-hand with number one. When slowing down, I was able to observe more around me. You know the saying “take time to stop and smell the roses”? That’s what I did—literally. I took time to slow down and view the world around me. I would go to cafes and parks to people watch and people listen. Taking long walks also provided opportunities to take in the sights and sounds of the community. I also read news articles and blogs to keep informed on what was happening in the larger world.
- Experience Life. I often broke my routine to try something new. I realized that during my poetry writing challenge, I purposely went out of my comfort zone and explored the city around me. I went to new places, ate new foods, and made new friends—all of which gave me something new to write about when I struggled with inspiration.
- Take Time To Write. American poet William Carlos Williams made time to write poetry, even working as a doctor. He describes it this way: “it . . . fluttered before me for a moment, a phrase which I quickly write down on anything at hand, any piece of paper I can grab." In order to take time to write, I found myself waking up early to write and taking my lunch break at work away from co-workers, usually outside. I would bring a pad and pen with me and write short lines of what I saw.
- Ask For Help. When I had trouble coming up with a poem, I had no problem asking friends, family and associates for help. I asked for a topic, and then wrote a poem from it. There are also a multitude of websites that provide poetry prompts. Those can help ignite the flames of inspiration.
These are just some ways I was able to find the inspiration to write a poem a day for an entire year. What are some ways you’ve found inspiration?
A. J. Hayes is a poet from the East Coast of the USA. His latest book is 30th Year Poetry. He has written other books of poetry and fiction as A. Jarrell Hayes. In 2013, he founded Hidden Clearing Books, L.L.C. He invites you to visit his website at www.ajhbooks.weebly.com.
As part of the Blogger Book Fair, he is having a contest where one lucky winner will win a Hidden Clearing Books prize pack including a tote bag, a notebook, and a copy of each of the following books: 30th Year Poetry by A. J. Hayes, Bugged by Alan Barysh, Popular Television by A. Jarrell Hayes and The Laroarian Conflict by A. Jarrell Hayes. Four other winners will win a copy of one of the above books.