How to Give Your Poetry Those Beautiful Descriptors and Personal Touches That Help Your Writing Come Alive!
Since I can’t seem to leave this poetry train after NaPoWriMo, I thought I’d talk about a writing technique I learned in college.
It’s a simple and fun writing activity to do when you feel like practicing conveying feelings much more vividly.
You also don’t have to only use this technique for poetry. Stick it in your stories, as well. Make all your writing vivid!
And remember, you don’t have to do any of this if you don’t wanna. If what you’re doing already works for you, then skip this post and I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks!
Basically, the idea is to find words that describe a feeling (either physical or emotional) without using that word.
Essentially, a metaphor.
For example, when I think of the emotion “anger,” the first words that come to mind are:
“fire, red, hot, spike ball in my stomach.”
Kinda generic descriptions, but they do say what that emotion can feel like without saying the word “angry.”
When you write like this, it gives everything a bit more life. Makes everything feel more vivid and alive. You’re conveying feelings in a way the reader can hold on to.
Part of why I like writing poetry is I get to describe my experiences and feelings in a way that feels alive. I can make it tangibles with a few carefully chosen words.
And that’s fun to me.
When I learned this in college, the example we used was words that describe “love.”
I remember one of the words I picked was “coke zero,” ’cause that’s what I liked, and my family would get it for me on occasion.
Now I’d probably say more generic words like, “time together, hugs, nighttime, compliments, car rides, warm, soft, laughter, peace, chatting.”
If you feel like it, take a second and write down words that mean “love” to you.
And that’s all there is to this exercise.
So when you write a poem, consider what you’re trying to convey without directly saying it. Not to say that you always have to do this, sometimes you wanna write more straightforward.
Maybe that’s your style of writing. That’s fun too!
This is just a writing exercise if you feel like playing around with words more.
Consider what you’re feeling, and what comes to mind. Think of the way you’re body is reacting, if that helps, like a dropping feeling in your stomach or tingling in your palms.
Maybe certain objects or weather make you feel different emotions.
Whatever it may be, describe it!
If you wanna try it, let’s all take a second here and do this exercise.
I’ve used a prompt generator to give me a random emotion, and I want you to take a few moments and describe that emotion without using the name of that emotion (e.g. don’t describe “anger” as “anger,” “angry,” “mad, etc.”).
Then (again, if you feel like it) write a poem based on those words and the emotion prompted.
I’ll be joining in, as well.
If you’d rather generate your own word, go ahead!
I just wanna get you writing and playing with words!
Anyway, yes, prompt.
The word is “curiosity.”
George (’cause Curious George kept popping up in my head)
There once was a cat named George.
He crept into a house,
exploring this home like a
Sniffing and sneaking,
he couldn’t help himself!
Hiding in this abode could
be something quite delectable.
According to his googling
and avid note-taking,
he may find a treat like no other.
Though he wasn’t quite what it could be.
All he knew was there might be food.
And he was going to find it.
My poem isn’t aggressively about curiosity, but enough so that I’m okay with it.
I had fun regardless!
And that’s it!
Since I’ve been writing poems a lot for NaPoWriMo, I’ve had this exercise on my mind and wanted to share.
I hadn’t thought about it in a long time, and it was fun to revisit.
I hope this was fun for you, too (whether it’s a new or old concept to you).
If you did the exercise, and you feel comfortable with it, leave your descriptors and/or poems in the comments below. I’d love to hear them!
Thanks for reading, and happy writing!