The First Month of 100 Days of Poetry

It’s more than thirty days into The 100 Day Project, where I decided I would write 100 Days of Poems on Instagram.

I’m already a little behind – by about four days – and I’m trying my best to catch up. The best thing so far about doing a project like this is pushing through the resistance and the creeping sense of boredom that shows up around this time – and managing to publish something, even if it isn’t anywhere near as good as you want it to be. In the end, this project, for me, isn’t about perfection, or publishing words that I’m happy with, but about challenging myself to be braver, sharing vulnerability. Most writers know what it’s like to share something and be afraid of sharing it. Even when it’s fiction, when it’s ‘made up’, to some extent we are still sharing something that came from us. We can grow thick skins and be prepared to have criticism and even insults (and rejection), but there is always that fear that the work we show isn’t good enough.

Poetry has always been something that I only write in notebooks, to express something, to heal and work through feelings and memories. In my teenage years, I used to post bad poetry and lyrics on boards in the now defunct Bolt.com social media site, and would get comments and constructive criticism. I was confident enough to keep doing that even though some of what I wrote exposed aspects of myself that we tend not to share as adults, unless we are used to writing about issues that display vulnerability. At some point, I stopped writing and sharing poems and lyrics – in fact I had a long stretch of my late teens and early twenties when I didn’t write for myself, but instead focused on writing essays for school and university. I picked up writing again only when I started a blog, back in 2005. Only then did I tentatively start writing poetry again in my handwritten journals.

So as a form of writing, poetry has traditionally been a conduit for emotion for me. Struggling with showing that particular vulnerability to others is why it took me so long to consider sharing it, or writing it, to an audience. The first time I shared a poem here recently was last year, when I started to share ‘Late Night Poetry’. There is something about reading and writing poetry at night, when emotion comes to the surface and you are processing the thoughts and moments of the day. In this respect, my poetry writing has been challenged – I’m writing poems more often in the daytime. I’m not sure what effect this has had on my poems just yet. Some of them are fictional – I’ve dipped my toes into writing about imaginary situations and people (or creatures) – and some are more about human beings and ideas about the world. In this way, I’ve tried to challenge myself to step away from using poetry as just a path to explore my own emotions.

There is still that fear when sharing poetry though, simply because the poems I write lack the formal structure of traditional poetry, and often are ‘prose’ poems without any internal or visible rhyme schemes. Poetry still has this aura of difficulty and inaccessibility, a form of writing that takes years to master, and which readers have to ‘decode’ to understand. I enjoy all kinds of poetry, traditional to modern, and appreciate that the kind of poetry I write is not going to be enjoyed by everybody. I’m also teaching myself the rules and structures of traditional and modern poetry, by reading Ordinary Genius by Kim Addonizio, and reading as much poetry as I can, using this project as a chance to learn something new. For poetry prompts, I’ve occasionally used The Daily Poet by Kelli Russell Agodon and Martha Silano.

The feedback so far has been positive, and I’ve enjoyed reading poems by other people in the Instagram poetry community. To start with, I took my own photos for background images, but found that this quickly became overly complicated and time-consuming, plus too much ‘noise’ and contrast in the photos I took meant that sometimes the text was only just visible. So I’ve fallen back on using Unsplash.com and attribution free websites for images I can edit and use for the backgrounds. It’s worked well so far and I can match the themes of the poems with the images. I’ve been using three things to edit photos and add text to the images – Color Story and PicLab on my iPhone, and PicMonkey on my laptop. PicLab works well for smaller poems with shorter lines, but can be a little frustrating trying to get the right size of text. PicMonkey works much better for moving around stanzas of poems to fit an image. I like the filters and tools in Color Story but VSCO would work just as well (or your favourite photo filter app).

So far, despite the difficulty in keeping disinterest and resistance at bay, I’m feeling that glow of achievement that comes with something challenging. Being able to see my own poems all together on the hashtag – #100DaysOfLWPoetry – helps to keep me focused and to see how I’ve progressed. The 100 Day Project community is amazing too – such a variety of projects and so supportive of each other. With things like this, the community is definitely one of the most important aspects, finding people who are doing similar things, or the complete opposite. I’m looking forward to the next 65 or so days!

‘Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.’ – Leonardo da Vinci.

53 Comments Add yours

  1. Jessie says:

    I’ve been enjoying your poems, and every time I read one I think “Wow, she’s doing this for a 100 days- that’s amazing and brave and awesome!” 🙂

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Liz Ward says:

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying them, and that means a lot – I don’t always feel brave but I’m trying to be! 😊

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Jessie says:

        You are doing a great job of being brave. Maybe it’s a fake it till you make it situation but from here it looks brave! ❤

        Liked by 3 people

  2. You should totally publish a book of poems called ‘Late Night Poetry.’ 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Aphadolie says:

    Congratulations from France

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Such an inspiration your 100 Days of Poetry, congratulations! I am following your blog to keep readig your beautiful poems.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. sangbad says:

    If I want can I join now?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Liz Ward says:

      You can start at any point any time of the year! 😊

      Liked by 3 people

      1. sangbad says:

        Okay…thank you…

        Liked by 3 people

  6. attmexpress says:

    This is really amazing!

    Liked by 4 people

  7. I loved your poem, it was so good!!!

    Liked by 5 people

  8. Mela says:

    Impressive! I had always hated poetry, but only recently rediscovered it. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 5 people

  9. sophia7gr says:

    This is so interesting!

    Liked by 4 people

  10. It took me some years to appreciate poetry – kind of an extension of lyrics. Yours are always really original and have some serious depth to them. Great post!

    Liked by 5 people

  11. anshisaxena says:

    Awesomely beautiful!

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Newak says:

    It is really amazing. Keep it up 👍.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. As a writer myself, I can understand how terrifying it is to show your work to anyone. I have written all my life, and about a year ago I became very serious with my short story writing. I recently started a blog showcasing some poetry, flash fiction, and book reviews. It has been a very nerve racking situation, especially when you don’t get much feedback early on. I see that you have grown as a writer and I’m glad something such as a 100-day-challenge can help you out. Keep up the great work!

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Mr. Cool says:

    Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is a speaking picture.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. aquibview says:

    I can reflect so much. Out of this

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Awsome read..loved it..id like to learn a lot frm u

    Liked by 2 people

  17. jerennazuto says:

    It’s a great initiative, I too have been doing this for about 10 days now, It gives me a sense of purpose and make me get through everyday with a bit more happier than usual.
    Itsallaboutnothingg.wordpress.com, check for my journey of poems!

    Liked by 3 people

  18. I think I can link myself to your words. Though I do wish I had the will to maintain the consistency. I love to write but the subject matter is what keeps me at a constant doubt

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’m the same. I enjoy a good prompt to set me on the right path.

      https://wordpress.com/post/chrisdavidwhite.com/791

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I understand. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  19. I really liked the concept. For me, writing depends on my mood and expression for a particular moment. I can write only when it comes to me. How are you managing to write every single day, continuously? Do you create an environment so or you are just writing for the sake of completing it the period of 100 days?

    P.S. I loved your work. I think some of your genre is quite similar to mine. Do tell me if it is so.
    My blog: https://aturquoiseleaf.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 2 people

  20. hi, i really like your poetry and i enjoy reading your poems. They really have a truth to tell and in such an powerfull way. I just recently started a blog, with no experience, so i was hoping maybe you could check it out, give me some pointers or something as i also write poetry. I would be gratefull.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Oh wow what an awesome challenge to give yourself! I’ll definitely be keeping myself updated!

    xx

    https://colourpotblog.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 3 people

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  23. Absolutely beautiful to read!

    Juliette | https://namastaytraveling.com

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Steph says:

    That second poem is beautiful. It really speaks to me, and being a prose gal, so little poetry ever does.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. just stared my own blog to share my words, i am still afraid but i am trying!

    Liked by 2 people

  26. University life ended my “Poem a Day” challenge unfortunately. But best of luck with the remainder! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  27. This post – even with it being a review of your first month was great. Sharing your feelings and your journey with poetry, and talking about what worked for you; it just reminded me about some of the thing I’ve felt and even showed me areas where I can explore and experiment with what I write. And then dropping your poetry throughout the post. Great stuff

    Liked by 2 people

  28. What a beautifully honest post. I couldn’t agree more that sharing your creativity with the world can be a challenging step and leave you feeling vulnerable. But it can also be an uplifting experience. I’ve never thought about the different qualities of writing during the night as opposed to during the day. How fascinating! And the name Late Night Poetry is a stroke of genius 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Its fab……too fantastic

    Liked by 2 people

  30. You’ve got this. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  31. mypsalm says:

    Oh! I just started back to writing poetry! I’ve only published it as guest blogging…to scared I think to put it on my own blog 😳 Thanks for Sharing and I’ll check it out!

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Wow, so happy for you 😊

    Like

  33. Wow this is incredible! I also try to write and post a poem everyday and the process can be both intimidating and phenomenally rewarding; but having the goal to publish a poem daily really forces me to keep my eyes open and consider everyday happenings in unique perspectives. I’m sure you’ve experienced this as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  34. “inside we are still building the sandcastle of our selves…” yup, want a lovely line – ringing true so much for me right now! I’m glad you’re writing, cant wait to read more!

    Liked by 2 people

  35. hamidshakil063 says:

    It’s good

    Like

  36. jaruserbmoht says:

    I can totally relate to that. Keep writing

    Liked by 1 person

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