From Poetry to Fiction and Back Again


Who are my favourite poets? I tend to think in terms of specific poems that I like, instead of poets.

Here are two poems worth taking the time to enjoy: "Little Ache" by Li-Young Lee and "Failing and Flying" by Jack Gilbert. I was happy to find these on the net. I'm guilty of not always remembering who wrote what, and I thought I'd never find them again. 

In the poetry group I work with, we read poems that inspire us - before we begin writing. It's a great way to tap into your creativity.

Many of the poems I like are not by "famous" people. There's a myth going around that people in general don't read literary journals...but they have some of the best content. Edgy, innovative and surprising.

If reading a journal, I always read the poetry first. Mostly poetry seduces me away from fiction. I make more time to write poetry. So fiction is always taking second place. 

I have a few abandoned novels - or let's be honest - failed novels. "Why do authors abandon novels?" Apparently I'm not alone.

According to John Steinbeck there is no magic formula for writing: "John Steinbeck and Advice for Beginning Writers." I've heard writers say they just write and write and throw everything into their book that they care about. Once they have a first draft, then they see what they have and begin shaping from there. I subscribe to this type of approach.

I find setting aside an hour or two to write fiction in the evening, with the goal of writing about 1700 words, works for me. However, poetry can quickly take over and then I leave my prose cold for weeks. What kind of approach do you take? Do you have a writing ritual/routine? Here's a peek into some well-known writers' routines: "Daily Routines"