Updated: Nov 18, 2020
I want to write a poem, but struggle with words and formats.
I want to learn to write poetry, but cannot find the right resources.
Can I write a poem online, with tools and keywords?
I am keen to be a participant on poetry writing websites, in free online poetry writing competitions but cannot decide which are the good, worthwhile ones.
I write regularly, but want to write a poetry book, or get a poem published in reputed anthologies?
Help is at hand if you fall in any of the above categories. I’ve risen from getting poems published in college house magazines to being a published author on Amazon.
You can find my books on varied themes here
And it has not been difficult. One just needs to give time and be in the right networks.
1. HOW TO START A BLOG
It is not difficult, and gives you a web presence. It provides a forum, from where you can share links, interact with readers and writers, find writing prompts and participate in online competitions.
Log on to Wordpress or Blogspot, and the site will give you directions to create a profile, and start a blog.
Proceed in the following manner.
1. Start posting your pieces, so that a visitor on the blog gets some reference points to know you and your writing style.
2. Follow other sites in the same genre and leave good comments. You may provide a link o your site or a particular poem. There is no harm in asking for a follow back. But do not spam or pressurise too much. Poets are sensitive souls :)
3. Look around for writing prompts and writing challenges. Prompts are found more on Wordpress than other sites. It will be your single big step to enter the world of writing poetry.
You find ready prompts to cultivate a habit of writing every day.
You gain entry into communities, which help in enhancing your web presence.
You enrich yourself by reading other takes on the same prompt. It demonstrates the numerous ways of interpreting a word or picture or situation, and how different characters can behave in the same ecosystem.
Find a link to my personal blog here
Twitter and Facebook groups are social media platforms, where one can find communities and followers. It becomes a place to experiment, and know what rocks the market.
LinkedIn has a few Poetry groups too. Some can help you in refining your poetry writing skills with constructive feedback, some are looking for contributors to anthologies and some fish for participants in poetry writing competitions.
One can put up picture posts or short videos on Instagram to popularise your poetry.
2. HOW TO WRITE SYLLABIC POETRY
Syllabic poetry is structured poetry with a certain number of words, syllables and lines.
The commonest form are
A haiku is a micro-poem with 3 lines of 5-7-5 syllables. It is usually written to describe elements of nature. It should contain a nature word, a cutting word (gist of the poem). In some cases, it should read like a poem both ways.
We will discuss each form in a separate article.
The meaning of a syllable given in the Oxford dictionary is
a unit of pronunciation having one vowel sound, with or without surrounding consonants, forming the whole or a part of a word;
For example, imagination is one word, but five syllables
I - ma- gi- na - tion
3. HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT ONLINE SITES TO AID WRITING POETRY
Sites to count syllables
Check the following sites to count syllables.
Know that practice makes perfect.
Sites to find the right words
A technique to know if your poem will get the right responses, is to read it aloud.
Repetition of the same words does not sound so good.
The sites to find different words to describe a feeling are
Sites to check grammatical perfection
4. HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT ONLINE POETRY COMPETITIONS
Poetry competitions are meant to identify new talent. It sounds good, but there are more commercial aspects to it.
Paid competitions charge an entry fee, and have some prizes for winners. In my view, the only people who get rich are the organisers.
Look for free contests, and take care to read winning and other entries. It gives a perspective on what the market wants.
These sites give you details of free poetry writing competitions, which will run through 2021.
5. WHERE TO FIND THE ULTIMATE CHEAT SHEET ON WRITING POETRY
There are sites which help you in writing poetry, or better still, write a poem for you.
Let me give you the example of a good site first.
A pantoum is a poem which involves rhyming and repetition of lines in a certain pattern.
This is a site which helps you in formatting your pantoum. You start writing, and it populates the lines where repetition is required. Your pantoum is done when you stop adding stanzas.
It helps in giving the defined structure to your formatted poem.
There are online poem generating sites, where you can feed in your keywords and it generates a poem with the help of artificial intelligence.
There are many more easily found in a Google Search, but in my view, they lack personality which reflects in a poet’s authentic creation. A trained eye can easily distinguish between a generated poem and an authentic poem. So, it makes sense not to use these sites for poetry writing contests.
If you can generate a poem, and then tweak it to let your spirit and personality shine through, all the best to you.
6. HOW TO GET PUBLISHED
If one of the dreams of your life is to get a poem published in an anthology, there are many compilers and publishers looking for you.
Most of the proposals would go in the following manner.
Pay entry fees.
Submit a profile and your work in the required format.
Some will ask for unpublished poems, and some may accept poems published on online platforms or social media.
You get a certain number of free copies.
Some publishers may make it compulsory for you to buy a certain number of copies.
If you can see through the game, they make money by selling books to you and your network. Contributors become salespersons for the book.
Publishing on Amazon is not difficult. It involves a number of steps which will be discussed in a separate piece.. It is selling which is difficult, and there are author coaches who help you in selling and generating publicity for a book.
If you have used social media as mentioned above, the platforms also become your sales channels. But the number of likes and congratulatory comments may not always match actual sales of the book. Set your expectations right. Visibility matters more to a beginner than sales and royalties.
7. HOW TO SHARE YOUR WORK
If you write on paper, and your handwriting is presentable, pictures of the page can be shared.
Learn to make picture posts on Canva, Powerpoint or any picture creation app. Short poems are more readable. Sign it with your name indicating copyright in a manner
Reena Saxena (c)2020
Pictures provide protection, as they get shared with your name on it.
Regular posts on social media can be plagiarised easily without giving due credits.
Posts written on your personal blog carry a copyright, and are not likely to be easily lifted.
You many mention the theme or the first few lines, and then share a link to your blog on social media. But LinkedIn and Facebook algorithms discourage circulation of links, as they do not want traffic to be diverted outside the platform. Twitter is a good place to share links. Monitor the number of clicks, as against the impressions on the tweet.
Here’s wishing you all the best on your poetic journey…