HOW TO WRITE 30 POEMS IN ONE NIGHT
If you are about to read this (maybe you have taken in too much caffeine), I just want you to know that I don’t recommend you doing this. This is unhealthy. Writing 30 poems in one night is not impossible but is going to drain and brain-fry you enough to maybe even make you reevaluate about your whole writing career.
The only reason I’m sharing this is because I did this before quadrice, and since then, I have been writing ten poems a day.
Here’s a little backstory
Here’s a little back story about what really happened—how I managed to write 30 poems, in different types and styles, in just one night—and no, I don’t drink coffee.
Last year, 2017, during our last grading in the first semester of 12th grade, in our Creative Writing class, our teacher assigned us to write 10 types of poems (a famous person bio-Poem, a personal auto-bio poem, a haiku, a five-sense poem, a sense of time poem, a senryu, a tanka, a limerick, a cinquain and an ode ) and gave us enough time to finish every single one before the due date. Now, being the business-minded, poem-obsessed being that I am, I said—only to my closest friends—I’d do the work for them for Php 250.00. They said it’s kind of expensive but it’s better paying that amount than murder every single brain cell they own (considering the fact that we were still experiencing a hangover from another intense output we had last week). So I had three clients that time.
A week later, as the due came nearer, more classmates came to me for help. I honestly wanted to help every bit of them but I knew how draining that task would be.
Now, I was the kind of student who arrives an hour or two late in school, never passes her homework on time, never reviewing for small quizzes nor examinations but still manages to get good grades. Besides that, I love writing and everyone in school who knows me knows that fact.
I was the one they come to for help during essay homework, check their grammars and spelling errors before they post something on Facebook, the one who they pointed at when a teacher looks for someone who can join a writing contest…you get the gist.
So it was no surprise that my classmates came to me at this time of crisis. Only this time, I wasn’t offering a free service. I wanted to try to get paid for my service. So I offered them the deal—I do the work, they pay me Php 250.00.
Here’s the thing though. I have twelve clients all in all. Twelve multiplied by ten would be 120 poems all in all. I divided the 120 poems by two and by two again. I got 30.
30 poems for me that time was a lot but I committed myself to writing 30 poems a night for four consecutive nights until I hit 120 poems so I can still have two weeks to edit them individually.
So I did write 30 poems in one night. Four times. That was insane.
Turns out it isn’t. I mean, it is but I lately discovered poets who did more than that. I even discovered this lovely poetess, Jen Campbell, who wrote 100 poems within 48 hours. That was insane.
30 poems in one day is conventional sometimes, especially for published poets. Ever heard of a 10000 word count milestone in one day? A 50000-word novel in one month? Three published books in one year? Yeah, not that insane, right?
So, I therefore conclude that writing 30 poems or even more than that in one night isn’t at all impossible. It’s doable, only, it requires a huge amount of patience, discipline and perseverance.
Now, we go to the actual steps
1. Prepare yourself mentally
Maybe this is the only step that will get you to hit that 30th poem. Maybe this is the only step in the whole tutorial. Maybe. Because it is essential. How do you even prepare yourself mentally to write 30 poems? I mean, you get it when you’re writing an essay or something. But 30 poems?
First off, let loose. Physically and mentally. Write with the end-goal in mind. Make your brain be aware that you’re going to be needing all the neurons it will offer. Be aware that you’re going to write thirty poems. And that’s a lot.
2. Prepare a list of prompts within the theme you’re writing
Usually, you don’t need this, because as a poet, you write because you have something to say, because you have something to express. You’re not going to be running out of inspiration because you picked up the pen knowing that you already have the inspiration in the first place.
So why do you need a list prompts? Well, that’s pretty simple. Because you’re writing thirty poems. Unless you really have a lot to say. Most of the time, you will run out of things to say.
Look for poetry books in your shelf. Maybe open an encyclopedia and look for a random topic. Maybe open the dictionary and incorporate the word you just learned. Maybe open a textbook in page 67 and creatively use the first phrase you found.
Writing prompts are created for this—for writers who have the strong desire to write but don’t know what topic they’re going to write about.
3. Give yourself a five to ten-minute break from writing
This is essential. Most of the time you’re drafting a novel or a poetry book, you’re going to pause and slam your head to the wall or curse. Ever wondered why this happens all the frigging time? It’s because it’s a part of the process. Eventually, your brain will need to rewire and take a rest. Just like how sleep is important in our daily lives, taking a break in writing is also a part of the writing.
4. Break the task down to smaller tasks
As simple as it is, within twenty minutes, write five poems, then take a break. After the break, resume writing another five poems. Maybe customize that a little bit so it could work on your schedule. Whatever you desire, you have to break down the thirty poems into bite-sized chunks so it is more doable and manageable.
5. Start writing
After you have established the break-down of your writing process, it is time for the actual writing. This is pretty hard to explain because it already is self-explanatory. With your twenty minutes now ticking, start writing.
I’m pretty confident you can hit that 30th poem, probably even quicker than I did. Just remind yourself of the steps, maybe add in your personal steps and you’ll do great!
T.L. Thornes is a writer residing in Ilocos Sur, Philippines. She was twelve when she started keeping drafts of her poems in composition notebooks. Since then, she has found an emotional outlet through writing. When she’s not writing, she can be found in the streets of her hometown, urbansketching, or in her room, writing songs and making art journals.
TRANSLATING FEELINGS INTO POEM Sometimes, this is easy. Sometimes, it's just impossible. I've been there, and since I've been writing multiple poems everyday since 7th grade, I get stuck in here for an unforgiving amount of time. And no, this isn't like getting stuck...