Poetic Procrastination by Dominic Walker
This article, written by my friend Dom, was originally published in issue 2 of the Procrastination Paper: Creativity, from February 2019. I am endlessly impressed by poets, and I wanted to celebrate them here in the hope it'll inspire some more people to put pen to paper...
Poetry, what is it good for?
Everything it turns out. At least it has proven to be good for my life. Poetry has been a scented balm amidst a world of chaos. Simply put: when I'm not writing, I'm not happy. Poetry is the quick fix that my soul is so often desperately crying out for.
This time last year I embarked on a challenge to write one hundred poems in one hundred days. I completed this within the restrictive time frame I had set myself and managed to eke out a poem a day. Honestly most of them were quite bad and will never see the light of day, but these poetic scribblings successfully have the effect of dusting off the literary cobwebs. If the novel is a piece of architecture, then poetry, I've always felt, is more like building blocks. We learn to craft a brick and then we use those bricks to make our buildings, but it always starts with the brick.
For me the best form of procrastination results in poetry. When there's something greater to be written or accomplished I find myself jotting ideas and short Rupi Kaur-esque poems will fall out of me when I should be writing pieces of greater length. It's procrastination at its most productive.
If you're thinking of writing poetry here's some advice: winter is not a fertile season for writing. There's something about the cold, short days and darkness which is not conducive to the romanticism of a poem. I do however find it the perfect time to edit and if you're just starting out bear this in mind and forgive yourself if you find by November your creative juices aren't flowing.
A blog is a great idea as long as you keep your expectations low and don't become too precious about your output. I always find once I publish something on my blog it takes on a new life and I immediately look at it through strangers' eyes. Fortunately, I have no trouble nowadays rewriting a piece once I've shared it and this has brought new life to my writing.
Another helpful asset in my assault on the mighty forces of procrastination is my poetry club. Nothing gets my writing together like knowing I have to share my work with six or so other poets who all bring their A-game to the poetry table. I highly recommend forming a club if you can.
Whatever you do... write. You don't have to share everything or even anything you create, that's where taste comes in. Your personal taste is your quality control, if you're a fan of your own writing there will be an audience for it. It's like photography, no great photographer strikes gold every time they click 'shoot', you take a few pictures and choose the best ones.
One thing I promise you is this: if you're a writer (you'll know if you are) you'll recognise poetry is essential for the soul.