When I used to write poetry…

I used to write constantly. Relentlessly. Much of it was poetry. In high school, beyond passing notes to friends or creating a continuing story in a notebook that passed hand to hand I wrote in my journal. I had little bound books, decorated somewhere. I feel like I felt things so strongly, so intensely. Ideas would pop into my head and I would need to put pen to paper. Lines of a poem would appear in my brain and as I wrote them in cursive the next lines would flow out like a flood.

Now that I am older I still love writing, but I don’t write like I used to. When I go on vacation I don’t write in a little book every day, but when I look at the bookshelves in my office and see them there I recall so much about those times. These days rarely do poems emerge fully formed from my psyche. Writing is something that is still magical, but it is more forced. I need to make the time. I need to remember why I love it. Now, the hard part is getting started. Life gets in the way, but instead of writing about life the way I used to it is just in the way.

Maybe that’s something that happens with age. As we get older I think we have to work harder at allowing our imagination to resurface and run free.  While things used to just come to me, now I need to use prompts or mull things over for a while before I can decide what to write. As adults, we are sometimes paralyzed by self-doubt, such as whether someone will like it or if it will be good enough. In my teenage years I remember having so much confidence. Teenagers are convinced they are always right. Recapturing this sense of confidence is extremely helpful for writers. When you lay down the words you cannot worry at all about what anyone else will think. You need to write for yourself, or write for your ideal reader. Edits come later. The first part is just getting it down.

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