tired of poetry

writing has been difficult lately. 

earlier this fall my writing was going well; i got a lot of work done on my manuscript, wrote new poems i’m happy with, published in places i was excited to publish with.

then november came and december, and i’ve not written but two lackluster poems in this time and sent out my work hardly at all. writing has been on the backburner, and its been difficult to muster up the passion necessary to get back to it.

this past week i’ve started reading poetry regularly again, in hopes that it will spark something, but i feel like i’ve just been slogging through it. reading literary magazines i’ve started to feel like my aesthetic is irrelevant. all these modern trendy poems.  i don’t think my poetry is really “cool” enough. well and news like graywolf press, which i respect(ed?), publishing james franco’s poetry collection just makes me feel like what is the point?

so after hitting such a high point this fall, i feel disillusioned, without inspiration, and tired. i’m not sure if this is something i should just push through–keep reading, keep writing–maybe return to reading through some of my old favorites or try some writing exercises or a writing challenge?–or if i should take the opposite route, take a break from writing, and if so, how long? a week, a month, a couple of months? and of course there’s that little voice in the back of my mind that says wouldn’t it just be easier to Not be a writer?

have any of you faced these feelings with your writing, and if so, what did you do or what would you advise?

6 thoughts on “tired of poetry”

  1. This is Exactly how I've felt for the past two years. I feel like I write in a way that isn't necessarily accepted in literary journal/academic press circles but that I'm definitely not a commercial writer, either. I actually said that same thing to Tyson: “What if I just weren't a writer? What if I just stopped? Wouldn't it make my life easier if I didn't have this burden that I've created for myself?” It's stressful to worry about failing at your goals as a writer so, for me, it's very tempting to just want to stop. I think I've had to readjust what my expectations are as a writer for sure. I also think taking a sabbatical isn't a bad thing. You know as well as anybody I've barely written since Milo was born. Maybe five poems? A few scenes of fiction? Writing exercises are always good for me, personally. I'd be happy to do a NaPoWriMo with you if you like! Maybe Sarah or Ashley would join us, too. We could even just do it for a week if that'd be easier with your school schedule (like the first week of January, maybe). Or we could wait until your summer vacation.


  2. I'm in the same boat of having trouble writing and feeling easily disillusioned with how hard the business of writing and getting published can be. Even though I haven't written much, I'm trying to be proactive about it, so I submitted /all/ of my unpublished poems out yesterday to various journals. It felt really good just to do that for myself. I'm also hoping that I'll be happily writing by the time I get some of the rejections so they won't hit me as hard.

    You're doing the important thing, talking about it, reaching out. We're writers, to our very core. We can't really just give it up, but sometimes we have to brave through the tough spots. It isn't always roses…


  3. I kind of think maybe you should take a little break, even if just for a week. Perhaps it will be just enough for you to really miss it and return with renewed fervor.


  4. thank you for the encouragement and advice! i've been taking the holidays off and plan to return to writing in january–i think a little break and time with family will do me good =)


  5. I vote for a break. Sometimes we all need one. Also, just to point out (hoping I don't sound old fashioned and meddlesome) that you have a lot going on in your life right now — a lot of things that can make a person extra-tired! When my kids were tiny, there was *much* less writing going on, and much less feeling inspired, too, just from being tired. Be gentle with yourself — your poems will wait for you.


  6. i have decided to take a break and it has been wonderful–thank you for the encouragement, sometimes i expect myself to keep up with writers who don't have families and small babies (or keep up with my schedule prior to having small babies) adn it gets discouraging–i'm planning on giving myself some grace this year!



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