July 15, 2022

Writing a Poetry Book: How to Get Started

“How do I start writing a poetry book?” It’s something I’m asked all the time and honestly, the best thing you can do to get started is: write.

If you’re looking for How to Self-Publish a Poetry book then click here.

That’s really the secret: write. Write badly, write honestly, and write every damn day. The more you write the more poems you have and the better writer you become. Here are a few other things I suggest to get started writing your poetry book:

Tips for writing a poetry book

read old poetry: learn from the greats! This helped me learn what kind of poetry I am drawn to and what style of poetry I like to write. Just because everyone loves a specific poet doesn’t mean you have to write like them. One of my favorite compliments is when people tell me “I don’t normally like poetry, but I love yours.”

DON’T write after reading someone else’s work: this might seem a little counterproductive seeing as I just told you to read other poets’ work…but for the love-of-god, do NOT write after reading! Especially if you’re reading newer poetry. Take a few days to digest what you’ve read, let it move through you, and INSPIRE you. When you write directly after reading people often inadvertently copy the cadence and style of the poetry they just read.

Reading old poetry and NOT writing directly after you read will help you find your own style.

use imagery that speaks to you: a lot of poets use nature to convey what they want readers to feel, but if you’re not into nature and more into urban environments or fantastical elements then use that.

play with the senses in ways that you normally wouldn’t. Maybe write about what a sound tastes or feels like.

make a list of five words you want people to feel when they read your poetry. Back when I started writing poetry seriously to publish a couple of the words I wrote down were “raw” and “real” and they’re often used to describe my poetry in reviews.

create a writing routine


How to create a writing routine


Questions to ask yourself to create your writing routine:

  • when do I have free time?

  • when do I feel most creative or alert? Is it in the morning while drinking coffee (this is mine!) or in the afternoon or evening?

  • what length of time can I commit to writing? When you first start out you may not be able to sit for a whole hour and write. Start with ten minutes and add five to ten more each week.

  • realize that you’re not going to write something great every day and that’s okay.

  • remember that creating a routine doesn’t mean you can only write during that time, but it helps train your brain to write.

A writing routine can look like anything you want it to really. It’s simply about making time to write. Only have five minutes in the car? Great. Set a timer and get in the mindset that when you have that five minutes you’re going to write whatever comes to your head.

writing a poetry book: three colorful poetry books stacked on the arm of a couch

I hope this helps!

you can find my books here.