Last week, I heard about a contest where the organizers were looking for poem submissions. I debated whether to try my hand at it or not. After all, writing is writing, right?
Not in my books! I’m a novelist, I tell stories. I’m certainly not a poet. I know, poems tell stories too, but they’re written differently. While I realize the following are not always a must, things like imagery, rhymes, the amount of syllables in each line/stanza, they often play a role in poems. There’s a rhythm, or pattern. A novel isn’t written this way.
As a teenager I wrote poems – just for fun, I should add – but never paid attention to these factors except I always made sure lines 1 and 3 rhymed, as well as lines 2 and 4.
When I heard about this contest, I found myself wondering whether to enter because I really don’t know how to correctly write poems. The prizes are quite generous, making it more tempting, but adding another writing credit to my portfolio is just as – if not more – important.
So I turned to two fellow writers/friends for help and asked for their opinion. Greg told me to go for it. “After all,” he said, “you wrote two books.”
I couldn’t help but chuckle. This guy had more faith in me than I had in myself. I replied: “Because I write novels doesn’t mean I CAN write poems. It’s like thinking I can play guitar because I know how to play the piano. They’re two totally different instruments. The same goes for poems and novels.”
Knowing Sarah – another fellow writer – might be interested in this contest, I forwarded the information to her, telling her I wasn’t sure what to do. Using a play on word, she said: “Write about not being able to think about what to write about.” Then she added: “Seriously, poetry is not a challenge if you try it, and beauty is always in the eye of the beholder. Take that quote you shared as a jumping off point.”
Huh? What quote? Oh yeah… I’d shared on my Facebook wall something I’d read on Twitter. I don’t know who the author of this quote is but it went like this:
A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking,
because its faith is not in the branch,
but in her wings.
Believe in yourself ~ Author Unknown
Touché, Sarah. Thank you. I needed this push!
Alright! I’ve decided to do exactly that: believe in myself. I’m going to take a stab at this contest, and see what I can come up with. Greg later suggested I write something I’m passionate about. I have an idea and I’m going to try. What’s the worst that can happen? I won’t win? But I can’t win if I don’t try.
Talk to me! What do you write? Poetry? Novels? Short stories? All of the above? Is it all the same to you? Share your thoughts.