How to become a better poet or artist (if you are not already)


Ok, where to start? Great question, right? When I first returned to writing, I was ignorant of rules, style and voice. Those words were not in my vocabulary. Granted, I had sat in English class and read William Strunk, Jr and E.B. White’s “Elements of Style” but the boredom kept me from getting anywhere. I am not a technical writer and those rules seem to apply more readily to scientific thinkers. Us creative weavers of words do not need to be bogged down by rules. “Amen!!!”

As a solution, several ideas came to mind.  I collected tidbits of information (books read, websites and other writers), that captured my heart and imagination. I bought Scrivener to organize myself (I am totally disorganized and it never helped). I joined NaNoWriMo, later engaged with NaPoWriMo, started a Word Press blog and my words took off from there. I feel successful as I have been writing continuously since the beginning of the year. Emptying my self of every word, dark or lit with hope, whether good or bad poetry, to satisfy a need to be known, to connect with others and found success is realized by trying.

Last year I took a trip to Santa Fe, NM, enrolled in a poetry workshop and though it cost $$$, I enjoyed meeting others and learning how passionate they were, just like me. I am sure the criticism hurt as my ability to be creative plummeted. I could not extract my head out of the critical trap. Every word imagined was sinister as it taunted me with “Really, am I the right word?” It took about two weeks to recover.  Hahahaha. Yet, I signed up again because Santa Fe is amazing, I made great friends, and this year I will sit under Gina L. Franco who has a book “The Keepsake Storm”.  I will purchase it and contemplate her approach to writing and take everything in with caution:

If there is any tension between spiritual and artistic life, it is upheld by the need to keep religion and art distinct. Some of Western Christianity’s most celebrated writers—Simone Weil, Thomas Merton, and Gerard Manley Hopkins, for example—wrestled with the competing claims of these two realms. A classic example of this tension is the mystical experience has been linked to silent contemplation and humility while artistic writing is often associated with egotism, self-absorption, and a desire for power. This workshop will emphasize the way in which spiritual writing can become a form of contemplation, meditation, and prayer. We will explore the ancient monastic emphasis on reading, contemplation, community, and work to transform the modern poetry workshop into an experience that leads to a more profound spiritual engagement with writing poetry.

How is that for encouragement?  I yearn to know myself through the lens of a spiritual makeup. Even those who have no faith still possess an invisible motive and purpose in life, do they not? One to live fully and two to express themselves.

Conclusion: Just keep writing or painting or singing or drawing or reading. Even dancing!!!! When you have run out of ideas go back and edit and fine tune your style, voice and vision. Then, and only then, use the advice you have been given to make your artful expression shine.

Be satisfied with who you are and all things will fall into place. Be truly amazed! –Jeanne

Side note:  A few months ago I became interested in expressing through images; photography and painting, drawing and collage. I am not artistically inclined but I am inclined to artistic endeavors. INFP’s make up the majority of creative types. We are dreamers and healers and I relate to both of those traits. I use to wish I was someone else, this dreaming was getting me nowhere and I could not even heal myself. I thought “What if I were a genius who could solve the origins of life or be the next person to develop a drug to cure all disease?” Oh that would be marvelous, but I realized our world needs storytellers and musicians and artists to keep us happy, sad or confused. How else would we know we are alive?

Here is the test if you care to know your personality  Jung/Myer Briggs  This is for fun and information.  You can be creative no matter your type. No test should box you in four walls with no windows or doors. Go explore!!  And thanks to Morgan who reminded me of the test and “my type”. Are you my type?  Just ignore me, feeling a bit crazy today… 😉

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