Tips & Tricks

Tips for beginners: how to write a poem

Writing a poem for the first time can feel frightening, makes you wonder where to begin. If you follow the following simple steps, you’ll learn how to write a poem that expresses your thoughts, feelings or ideas. So, without further ado: let’s get started!

  1. What’s a poem?

Before you can write a poem, you need to know what makes a poem a poem in the first place. It’s defined as a collection or arrangement of words that expresses an emotion or idea in a more concentrated style than standard speech or prose. They’re typically written in verses (rather than paragraphs). They may include complete or incomplete sentences and often have a rhythm. But, they don’t have to rhyme.

2. Understand the purpose

Why are you writing this poem, what do you want to say? The purpose of your poem will determine what form or style you should use, how long or short it should be and the type of language you should use. Are you writing for yourself, for an assignment or for someone else?

3. Subjects

The subject is the focus of your poem, what your poem is about. So, choose a subject before you write. Common poetry subjects are: an emotion, a person, a place, a feeling, an object, an animal, a time etc.

4. Brainstorm

Start by writing down all the words that come to mind when you think of your subject. And imagine what other people or objects see or feel. Take a walk and experience every physical sense: touch, smell, sound, taste and vision. Watch people and animals, imagine their feelings and perspectives. All you have to do is start writing whatever comes to mind.

White Paper With Black Text

5. Poem format

The format of your poem is influenced by the subject and tone. There are many types of poems you can write. Poems don’t have to have rhymes and meter. Some of the easier types of poems are:

  • Acrostic: the first letter of the first word on each line spells out a word
  • Free verse: no rules, just write what comes to mind
  • Haiku: a short poem that uses a specific number of syllables per line
  • I Am: a poem that’s all about you, no rules attached
  • Narrative: it tells a story and includes ballads and epics
  • Rhyming couplets: the last word in each of two consecutive lines rhyme

6. Write a line

You have a purpose, subject, related words and a format. Now it’s time to write. Start off with one line. This could be a title, opening line or last line. Take a look at the line and see where you think it falls on the spectrum of your idea.

7. Write the rest

If you use the first line as your opening line, simply start adding lines after it. If it’s your ending line, you can work backwards or work towards that line. Don’t worry too much about perfect formatting, we’ll fix that later.

8. Editing

Put the first draft of your poem away for a day or two. Come back to it and see if you can make any improvements with a fresh pair of eyes. You could also let someone else read and critique it. And when you feel it’s done, it is.

Green and Black Typewriter on Brown Wooden Table

9. Extra tips

  • Write with feeling: what makes poems great is the feeling they give
  • Avoid clichés: clichés are sayings that have been overused
  • Use imagery: use concrete words that appeal to the senses
  • Use similes and metaphors: similes compare two things and usually use the word ‘like’ or ‘as.’ Metaphors do the same, but without using those two words

Love, Deem/Skye Lewis ❤

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30 thoughts on “Tips for beginners: how to write a poem

  1. I call mine – Mind mapping in rhyme:
    Writing down my thoughts in rhyme, I’ve found to be very therapeutic. It’s been enlightening finding out what I think. Like mind mapping, I never quite know where it’s going to take me.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh! thank you. It’s surprising how many answers one’s unconscious soul has to offer…when you follow each thread, inside your head, that leads you to them.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Precisely! As a writer, I can only agree with that! Your mind is the most wonderful source to find deeply hidden beauties that are ready to be shared with the world

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I agree – I think that we use the words and choose the answers that best reflect our temperaments, when mind-mapping. Thank you for your encouragement.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I made a mistake in asking you, because you wouldn’t know unless you saw what format/style I used. It’s the different types of poetry asked for that I need to learn more about. Thank you for your time. X

        Liked by 1 person

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