Prerequisites to Writing Poetry that Will Sell

There are essential must-haves you must posses in your character if you are serious about writing poetry that will sell.

You absolutely must hate clich�©s.

What’s a clichÃ?©? Short but sweet. (That’s a clichÃ?©.) Last but not least. (There’s another one.) A drop in the bucket. (You get the idea.) In other words, a common, overused expression must by all means be avoided. New, fresh ways of expressing language is the poet’s best weapon.

Do you love your dictionary as much as your best pal?

If you’ve been told to read your dictionary-do it. This will get you out of ruts and keep your mind thinking of new words and ways to use them. Try putting random words from your dictionary into sentences that make sense. Eat with it, sleep with it, and never stop using it. It’s a book you will respect. Especially when you start getting paid.

Hold fast to concrete specifics.

Is the sunset unchanging and glorious or is it a brilliant red enveloped in a ring of orange sun? Which can you see? Unchanging and glorious are nice words, but the brain “sees” a brilliant red enveloped in a ring of orange sun. Without concrete specifics, poetry is dead. Use your descriptive words and paint the page all the way out to the edge.

Read, read, read. Write, write, write-EVERY DAY.

You can’t pull out of you what you haven’t put into you. If you write poetry, then read poetry. And then read everything else as well. But mostly read poetry. You will read many more poems than you will write and your writing will be much better because of it.

Workshop, workshop, then workshop again.

Nothing is more valuable to your writing than having other people offer you constructive criticism and productive critique. And it works the other way around. Workshop with other people’s writing and offer your own suggestions. The insight is fruitful and you will all thank each other for it. If you are not in school, it may be difficult to find a workshop group. You may have to start your own or find one on the Internet. It’s worth the search.

Be willing to shake your poem to see what falls out.

This goes hand in hand with workshopping. Do you have too many connecting words like “and” to work with? Or is your poem littered with “the” to the point of annoyance? Hold your paper up, shake it, and see what unnecessary words-big or small-fall out onto the floor. Then leave them there and keep creating your poem.

Accept the fact that your poem will never truly be finished.

If you are a short story writer, this may seem crazy. Unlike a short story, a poem is a work in progress which does not always have a defined beginning or ending. When you’re done with it, you simply put it down and know that you can pick it up later and always improve upon it. After it has been edited and refined, it can be refined some more. YOU are the one who decides when to put it down and leave it that way. If you choose to pick it up later, so be it. But when you are ready to submit for publication, you must be ready to say that you are willing to surrender it completed-for now.

The serious poet will read, write and constantly seek out new ways of expressing the written word. Quantity of work can equal quality poetry that sells.

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