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Poetry Writing: Common Mistakes

By Gary R. Hess. Category: Poetry

Everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes the mistakes are the same as everyone else makes. Of course, the more people that do it doesn't make it correct. If a man farts in a subway and then the man next to him does the same, that doesn't make the first fart any less gross.

I love writing poetry. I write it when I'm sad, in love, happy, or even just when I have a great story to tell. Of course, writing what I call poetry doesn't necessarily make it a great work of literature. Actually, if I didn't proof-read, edit, and then read the poem aloud it probably wouldn't even be considered a poem.

Everyone makes mistakes. It's almost impossible not to. Actually, I'd argue that it is impossible to not make mistakes. The only thing we can do is to practice and not make the same mistakes we've made in the past over and over then minimize our mistakes in the future. With practice, we're able to catch which ones we commonly make and fix them before we put it on paper. In the long-term, those mistakes disappear completely.

Here is a list of common mistakes amateur poets commonly make:

  1. Not planning.
    Some people will write to write and not have an overall theme established before beginning. Always brainstorm and have a basic outline in mind before starting.
  2. Lacking rhythm.
    Some young poets believe breaking up their prose into lines makes up for the lack of rhythm. It doesn't. Try to keep meter in mind when writing.
  3. Forcing rhymes.
    Not all poems need to rhyme. If it doesn't make sense, don't rhyme!
  4. Not reading aloud.
    Even if your poem isn't meant to be read aloud, do it anyway. It'll help with structure, rhythm, and even help you pick up on words which simply don't fit.
  5. Not editing.
    No poem is perfect the first time around. Edit it! You'll catch a ton of silly mistakes this way. Actually, reading your poem aloud is a great place to start when editing. And, if you ever wish others to read your writing, editing the poem first will help save you some face.

If these mistakes aren't ones you make yourself, then you are already ahead of the majority of amateur poets. Nonetheless, you most likely still make some mistakes. Identify your mistakes and practice identifying them before you write the mistakes on paper. They will soon completely disappear and improve your writing.