Kaspa writes: I have started keeping a journal of bad poetry. I don’t set out to write bad poetry (who does?) but calling it a journal of bad poetry has taken away the pressure of performing.
These poems aren’t for anyone to read. I try and write at least one every day. Sometimes I manage it. Sometimes I don’t.
These aren’t calculated poems. There is a lot of value in practicing forms and in searching hard for the right words. But that isn’t what my writing needs right now. What my writing needs is permission to be rubbish.
I open the book. It’s a slim unlined notebook that was left behind when one of our residents moved out. It’s full of welcoming empty pages. The page is slightly rough to touch, like recycled paper. I have a favourite pen that I use .There is something about the ritual of using the same pen and the same book that feels supportive.
I have numbered each of the poems. For no good reason, but it helps complete the ritual.
I open the book and I just write. A line appears, and then another one. I don’t worry too much about changing words that don’t fit, although I have once or twice. Mostly I just want to keep the flow of words going.
Some days it feels great and I think that I might not be writing bad poetry at all. Sometimes it feels like I am writing bad poetry. But writing bad poetry is better than not writing at all.
I started writing bad poetry after reading “Why you should aim for 100 rejections a year” on Lit Hub. Kim Lao writes:
“In the book Art & Fear, authors David Bales and Ted Orland describe a ceramics class in which half of the students were asked to focus only on producing a high quantity of work while the other half was tasked with producing work of high quality. For a grade at the end of the term, the “quantity” group’s pottery would be weighed, and fifty pounds of pots would automatically get an A, whereas the “quality” group only needed to turn in one—albeit perfect—piece. Surprisingly, the works of highest quality came from the group being graded on quantity, because they had continually practiced, churned out tons of work, and learned from their mistakes. The other half of the class spent most of the semester paralyzed by theorizing about perfection, which sounded disconcertingly familiar to me”
My own project was nearly disrupted when I saw a call for submissions recently, and started to imagine writing something to send in. The writer’s block began to loom. I dismissed the idea of submitting and went back to writing bad poetry.
Maybe next year I’ll start collecting rejections too.
Write lots and write often.