The Blog of John Hewitt

Use an inspiration tool

The Search for Inspiration


Sometimes I get stuck for ideas to write about. It is easy to get stuck in a rut as a poet. Staring at a blank page or a blank screen can be intimidating. Here are a few ways, presented in the tried and true list style, which can help you get started.

Call a friend and talk about old times
Collaborate with another poet
Give yourself a deadline
Give yourself permission to write badly
Go someplace new
Interview yourself
Just start writing anything that comes to mind as fast as you can
Listen to your favorite music
Look at old photographs
Read a magazine or a newspaper
Read someone else’s poetry
Read your own poetry
Review your old work
Start with a title
Take a swim, bath or a shower
Take a walk
Try another medium such as drawing or painting
Try something new

Today’s Poetry Assignment

Use one of the methods from the list above as inspiration for your poem. If you post your poem, be sure to write down which method you chose.

Today’s Poetry Assignment

If you truly want to get the poetry world all riled up, write a book of prose poems. If you don’t believe me, just read some of the reviews of Karen Volkman’s work. Better yet, go read the work yourself and see if YOU get riled up. What do you do to follow up your prose poems… sonnets!

Interview with Karen Volkman
Karen Volkman: Poetry’s Latest Punchline
Karen Volkman – Vacancy’s Ambassador