Writing Poetry vs. Writing Novels: My Experiences

Posted May 20, 2017 by Ely in Writing / 1 Comment

A few months back I fell in love with reading and listening to poetry. One day, I decided to try writing it. I’d tried poetry once before and been terrible at it, but I wanted to give it another chance. I felt like I understood both myself and poetry better now.

At the time, Michelle had just started her 365-day challenge and I thought it was a good time to jump in. I’m not a writing challenge kind of writer, at least not ones that require writing every day. I’m one of those writers that works in extremes—either I write five poems in one day or I don’t write at all. I work the same in novels—I can write 10,000 words one day and then not touch my novel for another three months. It’s annoying, but it’s how I work.

I’ve written about 30 poems now. Some are really good, others are pretty terrible but I wrote them. I put pen to paper when I was struggling to get words out for my novels. I felt like a writer again.

I wanted to talk about the differences in writing poetry and novels in my experience. I feel like I almost have a different poet hat that I put on when I open up my poetry notebook. For example, I like detail in my novels—to the point where I add too much. But in my poetry, I love being able to say everything in much fewer words.

I’ve spoken to Mich about this particular difference. That is, the difference in tone and emotion. For my novels, I take an experience or a piece of my personality and change it to fit the story or character. My novels are personal but distant enough that I can write them without fear. Poetry is scary. I’m drawing inspiration from my feelings and then exploring them as myself. There’s nothing for me to hide behind and that is terrifying.

That being said, I can explore things that don’t fit into my novels. I’ve written poems about my friendship with Mich and how much that means to me. I’ve writen about body images issues, mental illness, my relationship, feminism and the grief I feel for my mum. It’s given me a way to talk about my disability in a way that I never have before.

It’s given me creative freedom.

I want to be able to share my poetry here one day. I don’t know when that will be, but I hope you can enjoy it. Do any of you write novels and poetry? Or another writing combo? Let me know in the comments.

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One response to “Writing Poetry vs. Writing Novels: My Experiences

  1. I write like that too. I can go weeks without writing a word, and then one weekend I’ll bust out like 20k words. I’ve never really tried writing poetry though, mainly because it’s not something I normally read. I think poetry is so beautiful though, and like you said, the way it captures feelings can be kind of terrifying to write, but so beautiful in the end.

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