How to Make a Good Writing Day Even Better (or, How to Save a Bad One)

Wanna kick your writing day up a notch? A reading recommendation that just might make all the difference. |

After writing my last post, I've done a lot of thinking about observation. And how darned hard it is.

I mean, really: it's hard. 

There is so much CHATTER in our heads--are you getting that?

So much noise, and not a lot of room for those small moments of watching a scene, staring out a window, and letting a deeper sense of meaning and understanding bubble up.

Or, I don't know. Maybe y'all don't struggle with that. But I'm guessing I'm not alone.

Enter: My best-ever remedy for living in the moment.

Do yourself a HUGE favor and curl up with a copy of Billy Collins' poems. You won't be sorry. |

Have you read Billy Collins' poetry?

If so, you know where we're going with this. If not, you are in for such a treat. 

And if you've decided you hate poetry and are therefore exempt: well, I hear you. Really.

If poetry means fussy, pretentious verses full of obscure references, and you need a zillion footnotes and a master's degree to piece together some semblance of meaning--

Then I'm totally with you. I hate that kind of poetry. 

This isn't that.

Step inside a poem by Billy Collins and you see the world differently. 

After reading half a dozen, you'll start to develop this wonderful sensitivity. You'll pay better attention to what's around you.

Read half a volume, and you'll begin seeing poems everywhere you go. Really. Seriously. 

These poems help me live in the present. They unlock an ability to encounter the meaning in the moment.

They help me see what I didn't expect to see. Does that make sense?

If you're having a good writing streak, spend time in these poems to spur yourself on, to replenish your imagination, and to keep nourishing your mind.

And if you're having a crappy writing day (or week, or month), then take one of these books with a cup of tea and a long afternoon. Really. It's the best remedy I can recommend for you.

When I'm struggling with words and imagery and feeling tongue-tied, these poems are how I patch myself up. 

They win my heart back over to writing. They draw ideas out of me when I think I'm empty.

They just might do the same for you.

They're simple. Exquisite. And very powerful.

Give 'em a try. 

Thanks to the Internet, here are a few poems for you to taste:
the best-ever: a three-year-old boy recites "Litany" 
- "Nostalgia"
- "Another Reason Why I Don't Keep a Gun in the House"
- "Marginalia"