Can You Speed-Write Poetry?

Discussing goals with my local writing group on Sunday, I mentioned that I would need to write 42 poems in 9 days (approximately 5 a day) to reach my goal for July. That statement was met with the question “how?” (Well, not exactly, but that was the gist of it – I’ve paraphrased for clarity.)

My answer is this: exactly the same way that you speed-write a novel – knowing that it is an imperfect draft but that the seeds of a great work are there.

When I’m speed-writing these poems, I’m not intending for them to be the final, finished, published work. I am getting down the kernels of the truths I’m trying to write. And once the month is over, I’ll tweak them and polish them. I’ll give them to my CP to read over and feed back on, and I’ll work on something else while I wait for that feedback. We’ll tweak and polish them together.

And then I’ll polish them a little bit more, because that’s what you do.

Some of them are close to what I want already, and won’t need much work. Some of them are so far away that I can’t see what I want with a telescope – but somewhere inside them is something I wanted to say, and that is what I’m doing when I’m penning 100 poems in a month. Well, 80 – I had about 20 before the month began.

It’s not about perfect. It’s about done.

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