So a few years ago I read a free online book that was named writing to find yourself by Allison Vesterfelt, it then was a free download on Noisetrade. The book challenges to just write if you at some point want to have something written. One of the ways to get used to writing is according to her to write ‘morning papers’ just every morning write for an hour, about anything. I’ve tried different forms of this- for instance just write 2 pages per day in my journal, or indeed writing for an hour every day (first half hours is hard, after that, much easier). This month, however, for the sake of ‘poetry writing month’ in the US, I’ve joined a group ‘Fight Evil with Poetry’ facilitated by the amazing musician and spoken word artist Micah Bourne. I’m now at the 22nd day- one day ‘faster’ then the rest of the group mostly in the US, and it has been a good practice.
The challenge works in such a way that every day there is a prompt for the poem of the day, and these prompt range from ‘write about your favorite food’ to ‘write about something that hurt you from the perspective of someone who hurt you’- not the lightest of topics. It has been interesting for me since I usually write from emotion, or because there is some kind of inspiration or happening at the time that I am writing, and I rarely make time to write poetry about a particular topic. Similarly, I almost exclusively write ‘when the muse strikes me’- I have periods that I write a lot and periods that I write nothing at all. The challenge to write a poem a day has certainly helped me to write more consistently, and also to actually explore the less explosive or clear emotions and thoughts. By being ‘forced’ to write about emotionally challenging subjects It actually helped me to put some ideas and feelings I have known about for a long time on paper.
Of course, the great thing about doing this particular kind of challenge is that I am not alone in doing it. Others do the same challenge and because it is a reasonable ‘anonymous’ group, the most delicate subjects are discussed and explored. What is also very interesting is to see the different interpretations of different writers on a theme. Sometimes these interpretations are similar to mine, other times not at all. To recognize your own feelings in words of others, or to learn to be more open-minded or empathetic towards people that have such different lives, is very precious to me. At the same time, writing about different topics because ‘I have to’, have also allowed for beautiful conversations with friends and family. And have helped me share new found words, that help understand each other better. That to me, connecting with others, is truly writing to find yourself.