Poem-a-Day Retrospective

Another April has come and gone, and so has the Poem-a-Day Challenge. This is the second year in a row that I have participated in Writer’s Digest‘s challenge, and for the second year in a row, I have succeeded in writing 30 poems in 30 days. Here and there I missed a day, but all misses were made up before the challenge ended.

The PAD challenge prompts the habit of daily writing. I find it much easier to complete this challenge than the November NaNoWriMo challenge; I am not sure why this is. With the NaNoWriMo challenge, you build on one idea, expanding and clarifying it. That would seem, on the face of it, easier than creating something entirely new each day. Yet, for me, it has not been. I have not successfully completed a NaNoWriMo, but the PAD challenge, I have accepted and met these past two years.

Each day facing a new prompt can be daunting. There were days when I mulled over the prompt all day, trying to get a handle on where to go with it. There were definitely days when I was not 100% happy with the resulting poem. Yet, there were days when I finished and was truly proud of my poem. Interestingly, my feelings about a particular poem were not always in line with its play on the blog (and Facebook). What I do know is that I will revisit these poems in the future. The habit of writing one a day and the necessity of publishing it to the blog (and the challenge site) immediately results in the occasional publishing of drafts. Some of these situations and ideas will be revisited.

Now the challenge is to keep the momentum of April moving forward. I may not, okay I will not, be able to sustain a poem a day for the rest of the year, but I need to keep the writing going. I do wonder how Emily Dickinson managed it. She wrote approximately 1,800 poems in her lifetime, some years averaging a poem a day for the whole year. That is an incredible output.

I don’t claim to be as insightful or prolific as Emily Dickinson, but I did find the process of writing poetry engendered more poetry writing. As the month moved on, I found my thinking stimulated, my creativity sparked. That doesn’t mean that some of the later poems weren’t difficult to get started  (or finished), but it does mean that my mind was ready to meet the challenge. I look forward to more writing of all types this year–and to the PAD challenge again next year. I hope you’ll join me!


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