On Writing Poetry (by me)

I have not written many poems lately because I am currently reviewing poetry submissions for a new project called Blessed Creation: A Christian Poetry Collection. This publication will provide writers the opportunity to spotlight an aspect of God’s creation with their poetry. If interested, please visit the Call for Submissions page. In today’s blog, I want to share my process for writing poetry.

I usually start my poetry writing process with a memory. If I am not inspired by a memory, it could be a dream, a beloved animal or flower, an art piece, a sermon, or someone I saw on the street… Really the possibilities for inspiration are endless! From this inspiring idea, I develop and jot down one or two lines for the poem.

Next, I try to decide if what form the poem should take. (See http://www.shadowpoetry.com to learn more about poetry forms.) If my primary purpose is to communicate a concrete message, I will often choose free verse. Mangling a message to fit into a rhyming or syllable form simply will not do. However, I love expressing flexible ideas through rhyming poetry forms like a sonnet or rhyme royal. Rhyming poems can be fun, beautiful, and complex. I personally prefer to use near rhymes instead of obvious rhymes to make it sound more sophisticated. (Visit http://www.rhymezone.com to access near rhyme suggestions for your own poetry.) Syllable poetry forms like haiku and sijo are useful to capture the short attention span of new readers. (Visit http://www.wordcalc.com if you don’t like counting syllables by hand.) When no poetry form seems suitable, I simply invent my own poetry form! Creative people create. We can’t help it. Once the form is selected, I can add more lines to the poem until it is complete.

Once the poem is finished, I reflect on the message of the poem. For me, there is always a balance to be struck. I review and ask myself questions like:

  • Does the poem honor God?
  • Is it original?
  • Was I transparent and “for real” about my true emotions?
  • Would it be considered offensive or judgmental?
  • Does it reveal God’s heart for His people?
  • Is it too syrupy sweet?
  • Does it glorify sinful practices in any way?
  • Does it speak truth according to the Word of God?

If I don’t like my answers, it is time to rewrite the poem to ensure the integrity of my work as a Christian writer. In obedience to what God has called me to do, one thing is certain—I keep writing. My readers here on this site really encourage me to fulfill my calling as a writer. I could not continue day in and day out with your supportive likes and comments (which I can read although they do not publicly post). (If you seek an encouraging poetry community, you can find one at http://www.poetrysoup.com.)

That’s it! I hope the review of my writing process helps you in some way. If you landed here because of your interest in writing but do not consider yourself a Christian, please visit Draw Near’s About God page. Additionally, I am happy to read and reply to emails if you simply have questions or concerns about the Christian faith. (See the Contact page.) Maybe there is a more significant reason you landed on this page. Thanks for reading and God bless!

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Excuses (poem by me)

I was lounging in plain sight,
He appeared and said “Write!”
I said, “Paper is fresh out,”
Legal pads, college-lined, and rose-scented paper
suddenly delivered in fresh stacks all about,
Then He vanished in a foggy purple vapor.

Again I began lounging outright,
He reappeared and told me to “Write!”
I said, “Pen just ran out of ink,”
Ballpoints, gel pens with comfort grips,
feathered quills and inkwells came about in a blink,
Then He disappeared like the sun during an eclipse.

Once more He was there. “Write,” He said.
I replied, “I am afraid to see what’s in my head.”
He said, “Don’t be afraid, dear daughter.”
Then He produced a lake of still water.

Wearily, I looked inside.
Carefully, I wrote.
Tragically, I shrieked.
Frantically, I cried.
Then He held me,
And I was satisfied.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.” -Psalm 23:2

© 2015 Kim Bond

The world needs prayer. Be a part of the solution. Details https://drawneartochrist.com/call-for-submissions/

Call For Submissions

Unfortunately, Draw Near is not accepting new submissions at this time*. Check back often or connect with Draw Near on TwitterFacebook, or Google+ to be notified of new opportunities to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ with your writing talent.

A free ebook called Beseeching Grace: An International Prayer Collection is coming soon!Prayer for Malawi is just one of thirty heartfelt prayers written for thirty different countries around the world by a variety of Christian authors.

*Draw Near is still accepting submissions from authors who pledged to write for a country and have not filled their pledge. The deadline for these prayers is January 31. Submit completed prayers to k.bondofstl@yahoo.com. Thank you for your pledge to lead many readers in prayer for your selected country.

On Writing & Editing

This is a blog for Christian writers….writers who feel God’s call to write yet have been rejected….writers on the verge of giving up on a dream….writers who desperately want to know why editors, agents, and publishers keep rejecting their masterpieces. Don’t give up! There is hope.

While working as an editor for Draw Near’s latest forever free ebook Spiritual Citizens: A Christian Fiction Anthology (found HERE), I was able to pinpoint some strengths of good writing. I selected the inspiring stories for this anthology based on three primary criteria: message, clarity, and emotion.

1. Good writing conveys a message. The stories within Spiritual Citizens communicate a clear message to readers without necessarily spelling it out. The authors assumed their readers were intelligent enough to derive the message themselves.

2. Clarity is mandatory for all fiction. Skilled authors write detailed movements by every character. I must have rejected dozens of stories for Spiritual Citizens even though they seemed to have clever and unique plots because the action in the story was unclear.

3. Emotion plays a major role in every memorable piece of art. Excellent writing inspires some feeling. If an author writes well, the reader will be moved either by joy, sorrow, humor, fear, or some other emotion. Several of the stories in Spiritual Citizens literally moved me to tears with one of these emotions.

I am certainly not the best author in the world, but the knowledge gained from being an editor makes me a better writer. My hope is that it will help you refine your fiction as well so that one day an editor, agent, or publisher will recognize your talent for writing and put it on a lamp stand for all to see. Have a good day and God bless!

© 2015 Kim Bond

Draw Near exists to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ by providing free resources. Click here to learn more about God and here to access free Christian ebooks. Thanks for visiting. Stay blessed!