• Sithara Palavar

Writing 101



Something I hear a lot is that people are afraid to start writing because they think they're going to mess up or do it wrong, and quite a few people have asked me how I write, how I know what words to put where and just how do I know what I'm doing. So this is a beginners guide to writing!


The first thing I would like to note is that there is no such thing as writing something wrong, if you took the time to convey some type of emotion then you're definitely doing it right. Your structure and style all depend on how you want to convey what you're writing. The structure of your poems depends on the length of your lines, how you seperate your stanzas and how consistent your poem is. These elements help portray your emotions to the reader.


To elaborate, short lines read faster conveying feelings of fear, panic or anger. Contrastingly, long lines convey feelings of serenity and thoughtfulness. For example:


Breathless,

Afraid,

Heart racing.


But then -

I looked into his eyes

And the world slowed down

For a moment -

Everything was okay


The above poem can also be used to reference how you separate your stanzas, each stanza represents a new concept or thought process. It's also important to note the use of commas and dashes, in the first stanza they were used to provide a longer pause between the words compared to the second stanza where the extra pause felt unnecessary to the flow of the poem.


And that brings us to our final element: consistency. This is shown in the form of repetition, it's not a requirement of course but some people prefer to use it as a means of emphasising a point. For example:


The sunset looked beautiful

But I hardly noticed

'Cause all I could see

Was her walking away


The crashing waves were so soothing

But I hardly noticed

Over the sound

Of her retreating footsteps


In the above example there is both the repetition of a concept and the repetition of the line "but I hardly noticed" and they were used hand in hand to illustrate the picture of someone leaving and the heartache they left behind.


There are several different writing styles, some people prefer to rhyme as it helps the reader remember the words easily, other people don't. Some people prefer to write short, straightforward poems and others prefer to long winded ones. I'd suggest, if you're new to writing, play around with all the different types and see what sticks.


And with that I'd like to leave you guys with one final thought, I read this as part of a twitter thread by Trista Mateer and it really stuck with me: "there’s no such thing as ‘Real Poetry’ and our attempts to define it are limiting and often biased” and I think that's a great piece of advice for anyone starting out.


If you guys find this helpful and it inspires you to write something please tag @iampoetrymagazine in your work, we'd love to read it. Happy writing!