NaPoWriMo – how to write 30 draft poems in 30 days

The biggest source of inspiration was reading: coming across a phrase or story or theme that sparked an idea. The more I read, the more I wrote.

Momentum stalled around the seventeenth day. I’m surprised it took that long. Writing isn’t a nice little hobby anyone could do if they had the time. Although we all have our own story, it’s not a story everyone has the talent to tell. The ability to form letters and construct a sentence doesn’t always mean that the resulting writing can engage, charm and enthral readers. Sitting in front of a computer or with a notebook and pen in hand looks easy, but the concentrated focus that writing requires is hard to sustain. The editing part is easier, but you can’t edit a blank page. It takes stamina to write something new every day for a month.

I got going again by reading. I read a magazine or browsed online and picked a poem that I liked. I then chose the theme or a phrase or an image from that poem and drafted a poem around that theme, phrase or image. The results were very different from the original source poem. Song lyrics proved a useful second source: can’t get a song out of your head, use it to inspire a poem instead (apologies for the rhyme).

Some drafts are more fully-realised than others. The task now is to go back through the draft poems and shift out the ones that are close to completion. These can be worked on until they are ready to be published. The remainder will have to be looked at and a decision made as to whether it is worth developing the draft or leaving it. Usually I do my early drafts in my head and only start putting words on paper when I have something closer to being a poem. Throughout April, I was putting words on paper much sooner so some drafts used ideas or themes already used in my existing poems. These drafts probably won’t go further.

There was no difference in length between the poems written at the beginning of the month or the ones written towards the end. The poems were written to the length that was right for the poem and there was no rushing out an idea because the end of NaPoWriMo was nearing.

I stalled again on the 26th day because the hayfever season’s started early and it’s difficult being creative when battling the side-effects of anti-histamines. But I wasn’t going to give up so close to the end of the month and still managed to hit the target.

NaPoWriMo was a useful kickstart. Would I take part again? Yes. In 2014? Not sure yet.

A full list of dates and draft poems is included below. Are there any titles which grab your attention?

01 April 2013 Gaining a Loss
02 April 2013 Stop me if you’ve read this one before
03 April 2013 Poppy Red, Lime Green,
04 April 2013 Tulips on Mother’s Day
05 April 2013 Creating a Scene
06 April 2013 Bleeding Red
07 April 2013 Request
08 April 2013 Replacing the Shed
09 April 2013 Scar
10 April 2013 Not turning the light on
11 April 2013 Displacement
12 April 2013 Paint it Black
13 April 2013 The small hours have become my friends
14 April 2013 Coffee in March
15 April 2013 Blaze of Lies
16 April 2013 Sky-eyes, Caged
17 April 2013 Phoenix
18 April 2013 Hotel Life
19 April 2013 Dress Code for Live Music
20 April 2013 Letting Us In
21 April 2013 She’s given up fixing the broken window pane
22 April 2013 Judged, Found Wanting
23 April 2013 Like a bucket of water spilling over cold rain
24 April 2013 Five Irritating Habits of Co-workers
25 April 2013 Flooded by Communication
26 April 2013 Let Me Tell You a Story
27 April 2013 In the Vets’ Car Park
28 April 2013 Not the Marrying Kind
29 April 2013 It’s the Action
30 April 2013 Why a tomboy learnt to sew

Of these, I’d say three are definitely not for publication and one needs a major edit before I can even think about getting it published. The others do need editing, but there is a poem at their core.

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2 Responses to “NaPoWriMo – how to write 30 draft poems in 30 days”

  1. Carrie Etter Says:

    Well done, Emma! I’ve often been inspired from reading, too–not necessarily poetry, either. I’m not sure I’ll do 2014, as I don’t think the spree times well with my marking, but I expect I’ll do another such run by the end of next year. “Dress Code for Live Music” is one title that intrigued me, by the way.

  2. emmalee1 Says:

    Hi Carrie

    Thanks for dropping by. It’s strange how when reading something just hooks in your mind and demands to be written about. April’s usually good for me because it falls between a busy period at work and hay fever season so I’ve got chance to think.


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