Skip to content

Poem a day writing exercise

This month I’m setting myself the ‘start a poem a day’ challenge. (Not ‘write’ a poem a day, as that presumes each one will be a finished first draft at least. I’ve found that starting a poem a day is a better exercise for me, as I feel freer and less pressured to get to a last line.)

Looking back on my computer I see I’ve done this four times before, the first time in 2012. A quick glance at the poems I wrote then tells me none of them came to fruition. But June 2013 was a good month, with six of the poems subsequently published (albeit over the following three years, so plenty of reworkings there!) And in January 2014 it looks like I ran out of steam after 5 days – but two of the five poems started then have since been published.

So far this month I’ve started nine poems, so I’m only two behind my ‘one a day’ goal. And I’ve bent the rules a bit, to include the working up of old drafts or ideas, so four of my nine fall into that category.

I’m enjoying the discipline, and for me it’s a good method for channelling ideas and getting them down before I forget them. I’m probably at the stage where I need to do some serious re-filing, as I haven’t sent anything out in a while and I’ve rather lost track of what I have that’s ready to send. I’ve got about ten grades of backburner. The system needs streamlining.

One very strange thing:  I came across a first draft of a poem that I had no memory of at all – it meant nothing to me, I couldn’t recall what triggered it or what I was wanting to say with it. I couldn’t even make sense of it, not even the title. Then I realised I’d only written it in November 2016 (I date all my drafts). So as it was so recent, why can’t I remember it? And is it worth working on, since I don’t even know why I wrote it? Bizarre. I’m almost tempted to bin it completely in case it’s not my work. Has this ever happened to you?

Published inBlogWriting


  1. Heather Walker Heather Walker

    Not with a poem but I came across the start of a story I couldn’t remember writing. In fact I thought it might be someone else’s I downloaded when I was doing an online course, one I was giving feedback on! Gradually it dawned on me that it was mine. I still haven’t finished it but I was rather pleased with what I’d written. Maybe I thought it was too good to me mine, ha, ha!

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      that was my concern… but I’ve now sent it out so what the hell 🙂

  2. Easy gig 😉 OK, not that easy – but I have been doing it every day since 05-11-15. It has made me more aware of small things coming into focus, occasional reviews of my past, and thoughts ever onwards. I hope it goes well.

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Thanks Mike… not sure I would do it for longer than a month at a time but hey, if it gets me producing more first drafts. Then again, I need time to work them up too…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Robin Houghton 2024