As writers, we often find ourselves contemplating this simple question: How can I write something meaningful? Something that matters to someone? And while the process is complicated sometimes, we have some tips to help you on your journey.
Start by simply writing.
Even on days where you don’t feel inspired or you can’t quite make sense of the thoughts swirling around your head, just start writing and get them onto paper. You may find that as you write, it leads you to more and more ideas. And, if it doesn’t, maybe writing will lay the foundation for another great poem down the line. Never underestimate the potential of those brainstorming sessions.
Decide if you want to use a rhyme scheme or more of a free verse/prose approach.
There are so many different ways to express yourself in poetry: sonnets, palindromes, epigrams, iambic pentameter. The list goes on and on. You can also go with a free verse or prose approach to best represent your poetic voice. Experiment with different structures and see what complements what you are trying to say in the best way.
Write about something that matters to you—not what you feel you should be writing.
There is a reason that people say to write what you know. Typically that means you will write about something you’re passionate about or something that means a lot to you. It doesn’t necessarily have to draw directly from your own experience. It just needs to be something that you care about and feel strongly about.
Use your authentic voice; don’t try to copy another person’s style.
This is a big one. We are constantly surrounded by other poetic voices, and it may cross your mind to think: “This style and topic work for them. They have so many followers. I should replicate that.”
Please don’t feel that your voice will only matter if you make it sound like someone else’s. We all have unique interpretations of life and love, and that is part of what makes poetry so meaningful in the first place: all of our unique vantage points on the topics that matter.
Remember that when you see someone having success with a specific style or topic, it works for them because it’s authentic to them. Find what works for you for the same reasons: people don’t want 12 copies of the same poet. They want real, raw, and relatable voices. Don’t be afraid to let yours roar in its own way. It’ll connect so much more deeply with your readers.
Draw upon your own emotions and life experiences for inspiration.
I’ve always found life to be the best inspiration for poetry. It is so therapeutic to put pen to paper and give your thoughts space to breathe. The good and the bad can be better understood in ink. Give yourself that chance to vent out what you feel and make sense of it. It may not look like poetry at first, but it’ll feed into a larger story for you. Give it time.
The most important thing to remember when trying to write a meaningful poem is heart. Emotion and vulnerability will resonate with people because they are real and relatable. Passion and persistence will connect with people because others will recognize that you have poured your soul into your work.
As you sit down to write your next great poem, remember that your words can make a difference. Stay true to what you have to offer and what you have to say. It will mean so much more to you and to your readers that way.