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  • Writer's pictureMolly McTernan

So, You Want To Write A Poem?

Photo credit to Ray Hennessy on Unsplash.


Over the years, I have written more than 200 poems and have had the honor to have some of those published. From my experience, I feel that I've learned a bit and I decided that I wanted to share some thoughts and tips with you today.

Before I begin, I do want to be clear about the style of my poetry - it is almost 'free classical'. What I mean by that is though I almost always use some sort of format (most often rhyming), I don't always structure my lines like a more classical poem would.

Because I know that everyone likes different styles, I'm keeping my tips generalized. If you have questions about my personal style, feel free to ask them below, though! Now, onto tip one.

1. Don't force it.

Poetry is a great way to help process thoughts - I've found that it's almost like a restricted freedom. Because of that, it can be beneficial to wait until you are filled with emotions to put pen to paper. Though the lines might not be the most structured, the process itself is often worth it.

I also highly recommend keeping a physical poetry journal. While typing online might be quicker, there's just something about slowing down and writing poetry with a pen that helps it to flow better. (Fun fact, Poetic Surrender's first draft was written completely by hand!)

2. Do force it.

I know that this might seem like a contradiction, but I'll explain myself. With poetry - or anything in life - I think that it's important to intentionally try new things and put yourself out of your comfort zone. You'll learn so much more!

An example of this would be to try different poetic formats. Some of my favorites to experiment with are nonets (a nine-line poem with matching syllables to each line), couplets (a two-line rhyming poem), and limericks (usually comical and with a specific rhyming pattern).

3. Read other's work.

Sometimes, the artist gets so caught up in their own work, that they forget to read others'. But each poet is a unique creation, and therefore no two poet's work will be the same. We can learn so, so much from simply viewing the work of others.

One of my favorite poets is Emily Dickinson, and I highly recommend that you research her work. I also enjoy getting emails from The Rabbit Room Poetry - if the idea of a few poems a week getting sent to your inbox sounds appealing, I recommend signing up!


I hope that these tips were helpful! And now I'd love to hear from you. Have you ever tried writing a poem before? Have you been writing poetry for a long time?

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3 comentarios

14 jun

Poetry is the BEST! 😁

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Bella Raine
Bella Raine
11 jun

I love writing poetry but it's usually pretty rough (as it's written during when I'm feeling lots of emotion) so I love these tips! Super helpful, Molly! Thank you!! 💚

I'd love to know your thoughts on this... is it important to have a structure or a rhyming pattern for poetry? My poetry is super free-form, usually about 4 fours to a line, 4 lines to a stanza, and a lottttttt of stanza to a poem. 😆 Your poetry is super structured and rhyming but also free-form and stunning... is that a style or is that how mine should be? I'd love to know your thoughts here!

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Molly McTernan
Molly McTernan
11 jun
Contestando a

If your poetry is rough but helps you process emotions, that is completely fine! Let it come out as it wants to. Thank you for commenting!

I think it depends on what you hope for with your poetry. If it's just for you as an avenue to process thoughts, then the form doesn't really matter (unless you want it to). But if you want to try to submit a poem or share it with someone else, you could decide to be a little more intentional.

What I do is simply a style! I found free-form to be too free and a classical approach to be too structured, so I sort of ended up in the middle and have my ow…

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