It's National Poetry Month! Many of us will be seeing a lot of poems, either famous or written in the previous ten minutes, posted on blogs and Facebook for the month. A lot of people will write a poem a day. I haven't written poetry since my first year of graduate school, and I haven't felt the urge to do so since. But I do have the incredible urge to write nonfiction. Being on sabbatical means I am supposed to be writing, so I have a plan for the month that may not celebrate poetry but will get me writing.
I have a lot of writing books, some focused on poetry, some on nonfiction, but many just on writing/journaling in general. They are filled with exercises of all types. So, each day of April, I will pull a book off the shelf, flip to a random page, and write in response to that exercise. This is in addition to the actual nonfiction writing I have already planned to do this month, which is revising some essays and getting them ready to go out to journals. And I will be doing these exercises with the larger context of the essays I'm writing (all about my undergraduate years) in mind, allowing them to push me in new directions and explore something I had not already explored.
Today, I had to write an ode to something ordinary. I set my timer for twenty minutes and ended up writing well over a page. No, I don't plan on posting what I'm writing. I have learned that my first drafts are pretty much all telling, and I have to transform that into showing--into a narrative--during revision. And a big point of doing this is to write without fear, without the editor in my mind getting any attention. That means, for now, writing alone. But I should end up with over thirty pages of random material by the end of the month. Hopefully.
And don't be surprised if I ask people for random numbers on Twitter or Facebook. I may ask for numbers between one and two hundred, turn to that page in a book, and do that exercise.
What are YOU writing this month?