Poem of the Day: A Reflection

by , Sunday January 22, 2017
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Poem of the Day: A Reflection

 

 

750 days later...

Writing a poem every day is tough, but is it worth it?

On the 23rd of December 2014, I began a project I expected to last a week at most. I'd been posting my writing online for about four months by that point, and after my fifth poem of that week, a friend of mine posted this comment:

"It feels like you upload a poem everyday now!"

I decided, in an irrational moment, to take this as a challenge. And so began my seemingly fruitless task - to write a poem every day for...well, as long as I could. Now, 750 days later, I think it's time I reflect on the process.

As I started, I had things stacked in my favour - Christmas was two days away, New Year a week after that so I had more than enough ideas to keep me going for a while. But I wasn't optimistic - every attempt at keeping a diary I'd made fell flat almost immediately. During those first few weeks and months, it wasn't particularly difficult to think of, or find, new topics to write about. It was unusual to go through a day without something interesting inspiring me to write during the day. So I got through those months with little trouble - and by then the commitment was made.

Of course, the more I wrote, the harder it became to write originally, and some days I just didn't want to write anything. But in sticking to the challenge I set myself, I found a sense of self-improvement. Trying to find a different subject for every day forced me to get inventive, more observant and more insightful. I'm glad it did, over two years on, I see the world in a completely different way. I see more shades of the same colours, I notice more details, I find meaning in meaningless moments and, more than anything, I connect with the people around me much more easily.

These days it is difficult to walk through the city centre without someone standing out in the crowd - someone you might not even look twice at, but who gets me thinking: Why are they in a rush? Why aren't they in a rush? Are they upset or just tired? Who are they looking for? Where are they going?
And from these simple questions a whole plotline, a hypothetical story, forms around them. It really helps me to appreciate the incredible uniqueness of each life around me.

The real question I have to ask myself is this: Would I recommend writing a poem every day? Well, I think the answer is very firmly 'maybe'. I wouldn't recommend it if you're the kind of person who takes a few days to think something over and perfect it - to consistently write every day requires both a willingness to write a few low-quality pieces and the ability to finish something and not really touch it again. I'm a strong believer in writing straight from instinct to the page and not thinking all that much about form. Not to say I don't think about my word choice - of course I do - but I don't let myself become obsessed with syllable counting or rhyming structures, the focus for me is always on conveying my meaning in the way that feels right. I would recommend trying it to anyone who wants to challenge themselves, or who wants to improve their discipline or time management.

If you're not sure, try it for a week, if you think you can do more, keep going for a month. And if, after two or three months, you haven't run out of ideas - make a commitment to keep going for a year. But however long you try it for - even if you just do one poem - it is worthwhile, and if you keep going, the sense of achievement at each milestone - 50, 100, 200, 300, 365, ... - is immense. I wouldn't say writing a poem every day has changed my life, but it has left a meaningful mark, a record of my existence - and a way to reflect on how far I've come in 750 days.

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