Break Out Your Quills for NaPoWriMo

Break Out Your Quills for NaPoWriMo

Today marks the beginning of National Poetry Writing Month, also known as NaPoWriMo. (It’s also simply National Poetry Month.) It’s a very simple concept that still maintains its elusiveness for many writers: you simply write a poem every day throughout the month of April to participate.

Many writers (me included) have attempted to write a poem every single day and failed. For me, it’s always mid-month, when I’m busy and think, “I can catch up tomorrow.” I always have great intentions at the beginning of anything I participate in, but the problem is that I participate in too many things! The results are a lot of half-finished projects, unfortunately.

So how can procrastinators, eager beavers who burn out, and other people like me conquer NaPoWriMo this month and really get on the ball? Here are a few ideas.

Make the commitment. You’re more likely to get it finished if you do it with a friend or group. I joined the NaPoWriMo group at where I’ll be able to tag my poems every day. Feel free to do that (it’s a great site!) or even simply call a friend and announce your intentions.

Plan your writing. Schedule it in like a dentist appointment! (But make it more fun—use another color of ink or something. I schedule “fun things” in green, myself.) Maybe you could squeeze in a quick poem before breakfast, while waiting to pick up your child from school, on your lunch break, or during commercial breaks while watching your favorite show.

Explore different forms. Sometimes this is all you need to get your creative juices going! Try a haiku, diamante, limerick, Italian or Elizabethan (Shakespearean) sonnet, whatever. Look up different forms and experiment.

Read some poetry. If you keep getting stuck, maybe your mind just needs to wax poetic more often! Check out a book by your favorite poet or try out a new one and get inspired. Try mimicking your favorite if you like; some teachers like to assign their students a single line from a famous poem as a prompt—either to use in the poem itself or as inspiration.

Fill your well. I always let myself peruse the Internet or my Google Reader because I’m “filling my well”—getting ideas, new experiences, and fresh fuel for my writing and art. The same goes for any trips taken, outside meanderings, and the like. The trick, of course, is to time yourself and set a limit so you don’t spend all day surfing the Net! Something else you can do is enter contests at Various users start their own contest and distribute points after they judge. Even if you end up not entering, you can get plenty of ideas from the prompts.