“I can’t write poetry”, is a default phrase I automatically use when it comes to writing poetry. It is an idea that I have carried around with me since childhood. Perhaps it’s because I often didn’t understand poetry when I was at school. Whilst my peers would decipher the lines of rhyme and obscure metaphors with ease, I struggled. So, throughout my schooling, I developed a prejudice about poetry and the idea that I just wasn’t any good at it.
Isn’t it funny how we carry these ideas around in our adulthood based on decisions we made as children? Whether it be art, writing or sport, these ideas we have become enmeshed in our psyche and become part of our belief system.
It is only in the last few years that I have become aware of how untrue this idea of mine is. I can write poetry and have done so on several occasions for events and festivals. I even wrote a poem for a eulogy, in remembrance of my cat. Yet, that old recording from childhood still plays its outdated tune and I still become nervous when I have a poem to write.
It would be so easy to stick to what I know, what I feel secure in when it comes to my writing, which is currently non-fiction writing. Yet, I suspect I would be the poorer for it. And, I am also discovering that what I interpret as nerves, is also excitement! I can feel it in the pit of my stomach now, fluttering in anticipation of trying something new.
If, like me, you have an idea about your ability to write, then perhaps it might be due to a childhood belief? For example, you might believe that you aren’t good at telling stories? Yet, if you give yourself the opportunity to come at your writing newly, you might be surprised by what you create.
Developing versatility as a writer is exciting – like a grand adventure where we can experiment, play, explore and have fun as we discover greater depths to ourselves as writers.
I am currently planning to write a radio script. I have never written one before so I am doing my research by reading about radio script writing and listening to radio dramas. I never imagine I would ever write a radio script, but now I have allowed my creative process its freedom, I have discovered a newfound freedom that comes with experimenting.
I feel rejuvenated, excited to explore the possibilities of my writing, of the stories I would like to tell and the genres I would like to play with.
It is so easy to write yourself into a corner, particularly if you become successful at writing in a particular genre, but it doesn’t have to be the only avenue you take. There are so many different roads to travel. And as Robert Frost discovered in his poem, The Road NotTaken, the road ‘less travelled by’ is full of hidden treasure and makes ‘all the difference’.