Lessons Learned From Post It Note Poetry

A month of #postitnotepoetry has elapsed and 28 poems have been written and posted.

It started in 2013 when Jodi Cleghorn and I threw out some whimsical ideas with definite boundaries: write a poem to fit on a Post It Note.

It was permission to write; write dreadfully, write with abandon, write without caring what the poetry sounded like. It was permission to be creative and spontaneous; limited and restrictive in a positive way.

And we did it. We gathered adherents and spawned a community. We wrote poems and posted them. And some of them were quite good.

And we did it again this year.

I wrote 28 poems in 29 days (the last week of February was a cracker for me so I missed a day or two, posted late, crammed a few into one day and wrote the last on March 1 after half writing it the night before).

Time to reflect, look into the Navel of Introspection and see if I can find a gem to inspire you. At the very least you’ll have some blue-grey lint to take home.

1. I can write every day (but it wears me down)

Some writers pursue the notion that they must write every day. It is an adage recounted by many writers via social media, and it has validity. I like the Jerry Seinfeld approach of ticking off each day I write or meet a quota, forming an unbroken chain.

But it doesn’t work for me. My day job and other commitments do not allow an unbroken chain. I prefer to work in short bursts rather than long periods of focused attention.

Every creative person has their own cycles of inspiration, creation, recreation, restoration, production. Rinse and repeat.

Find your own rhythm and know your cycles.

2. I can think of a new idea every day (but some need more time to develop)

Finding a new idea each day was in turns easy and difficult. It was in the news, something I read, an emotional response to a situation, daily chores or activities.

The execution of the idea was also in turns easy and difficult. The easy idea was sometimes difficult to write while the difficult idea sometimes can easy in the writing.

No method, often madness; always an idea.

Exhaustion, physical and mental, made developing an idea hard. Some ideas needed more time for composting (what I mean when an ideas sits in the back of your head for a while). For example, the last poem, Frankenstein’s Classroom, needed more time for refinement.

However, that runs contrary to the spirit of Post It Note Poetry.

Pushing an idea that is not fully formed may result in a piece of work that is substandard and editing will only highlight its weaknesses. Letting an idea form over time may mean the editing is easier. Your mileage may vary.

There are plenty of ideas out there for you to catch. Know your methods for trapping them in the pages of your notebook (physical or digital).

3. It’s a whole lot of fun to do (but it detracts from my main purpose)

Creativity is meant to be fun; that was the point initially. There is fun in the hunting down of ideas, capturing the thoughts and emotional response in words, and satisfaction in the completion.

And in doing something fun, I have found a new appreciation for poetry and I like writing it. I like the framework and boundaries a Post It Note provides, similar to the framework and limitations on twitter where I also post short poetry.

However, focused for a month on writing poetry has taken me away from my main purpose of writing my novella. The timing of #postitnotepoetry coincides with the beginning of the school year (I am a high school English teacher) and it is something short I can do during the busyness of the opening of the school year.

I want to return to my novella, which is happily composting in the back of my head while I make updated notes in my notebook. I’m also in the last stages of edits for my collaborative novel.

The brevity of Post It Note Poetry is something I will continue to do throughout the year because I believe in developing my creativity; I am undecided if I will return in 2015 for the trifecta.

Have fun with your creative acts.

That’s it from me for #postitnotepoetry 2014.

Time to buy shares in the company that makes Post It Notes or see if I can get a sponsorship from them and turn it all into a book deal.

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One response to “Lessons Learned From Post It Note Poetry

  1. Pingback: What To Do When You Doubt Your Creativity | A Fullness in Brevity - Adam Byatt

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