Be Inspired with the Poetry Journal Project: A Printable Journal of Writing Prompts
Most of my poetry has been written during difficult times in my life. Something about the form, the brevity of it, mixes well with pain. It’s as if all the words I want to say can’t contain the enormity of feeling, so I cut the words away like a sculptor cutting away stone, like a surgeon cutting out a tumor, and I end with a poem. Or maybe angst breeds inspiration.
Whatever the cause, because my poems are often written in shadowy times, most of my poems are a wee bit … dark. When time came to collect poems for my first book, I had far more angsty verse than uplifting. I had great fun, as I C O N D E N S E D my poetic life into a few dozen poems, also sweetening that life.
Because the life of a mother of six, writer, wife is sweet. It’s hard, exhausting, true, but it’s also filled with joys. As I infused the book with joy, I began by journaling, and a few of those entries I wiped and polished until they became poems.
About the Poetry Journal Project
I began the Poetry Journal Project to challenge all of us—those who consider themselves poets and those who have never written a thing outside of school—to write what we need at our specific place in life. Do you need to focus on bliss and wonder, like I did? Do you need to processes a difficult experience, or a broken relationship? Poetry can lift; it can heal. I’ve seen it happen. I’ve experienced it.
With the official release date of my first book of poetry and photographs quickly approaching (five days!), I’m thinking worlds of words. So many words. One of my favorite books of poetry and instruction is In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet’s Portable Workbook*. In fact, one of the poems in Sweetened Condensed was written from an exercise in that book. Which got me thinking …
everyone should write poetry!
But not everyone has time or inclination to work through a whole book.
So I created a short, printable poetry journal. You could do one prompt a day for about a week, or one every few days or a week or spread over a month. Anyone can use this journal, even if you don’t normally write poetry. Or write as a group! Book groups, writing classes, personal exploration—this journal is for you! The journal references my book, Sweetened Condensed, though you can still do the exercises without your own copy of the book. And if you’d rather not purchase Sweetened Condensed for your own collection, take a moment and request it from your local library.
I would love for you to create right along with me. Beginning on the official release date, October 10th, I will write a poem daily for a week. I’ll share it on IG, tagging #poetryjournalproject. Will you join me?
Whether you’re going through shadowy times or are basking in light, poetry captures emotion like nothing else can. My mother always told me, “You only remember the bad things.” There’s a point of truth—I tend to commemorate those darker things, and I’m often wary of happiness (well, now she says I don’t even remember the bad things—apparently it’s a new illness called Projected Amnesia?), but let’s commemorate all that life gives us, and do so together!
You can download the free printable journal right here or use prompts of your own choosing. Share in comments or on social media, and be sure to tag #poetryjournalproject. Happy writing!