18 Tips to Help You Write Better Poetry

How to write better poetryEvery poet strives to be better. I’m no different. I continue to read poetry, refresh myself in the elements, and read tips from great authors as much as possible. During my free-time, I gathered some of the best tips I could find in poetry journals, magazines, and around the web over several years.

So here they are, the eighteen best tips I could find in order to help you write better poetry.

How to Write Better Poetry

  1. Your poem should have a goal

    It can be to persuade, promote, discuss, or entertain. It’s up to you. You simply need to keep the goal in mind when you write your poem. Too many times poets start to write without having a goal. Don’t let this be you.

  2. Write about everyday objects/events

    Your audience needs to be able to put themselves in the author’s shoes, and they can’t do that if they haven’t experienced it. Write about something they can relate to.

  3. Brainstorm ideas

    This is for the plot, theme, vocabulary, elements, and virtually everything else. Come up with things to say about your topic. Write them down, expand on them, and continue writing. I find mind maps help quite well in this regard.

  4. Find the right time to write

    When are you the most creative? Some people get their best ideas in the morning others at night and some people even in the afternoon. Find your time and keep at it.

  5. Write about what matters to you

    What are you passionate about? Write about it. It can be anything as long as your audience can relate to it.

  6. Use poetic elements

    Use dictation, assonance, alliterations, rhymes, metaphors, and similes. Using poetic elements gives extra emotion to the audience and can help create a rhythm. These are two of the most important aspects of all poems.

  7. Communicate your theme

    Your theme is your idea and subject. Be sure to communicate it to your audience. Use your audience’s senses! Don’t stick to only sight. Be sure to use taste, feel, smell, and sound.

  8. Use your emotions

    Use happiness, sadness, and whatever other emotion you have about your subject to your advantage. Your audience will love you for it.

  9. Minimize sentimentality

    Too much sentimentality makes readers barf. Minimize it and use concrete words to describe emotions. Using abstract words are meaningless.

  10. Avoid clichés

    Using common expressions doesn’t do your poem justice. Be creative. Clichés include common plots. Think of something new.

  11. Use imagery

    By this, you are letting your reader use all of their senses. The reader can then be encapsulated in our writing. This one goes back to communicating your theme! They are highly related. Deal with it.

  12. Rhyme with caution

    Not every poem needs to rhyme, but if you are rhyming, do it cautiously and don’t force the poem into an unintended direction. Just don’t force it.

  13. Use concrete words, not abstract ideas

    What is beauty? It’s different for all of us. Describe it using similes, metaphors and all of the five senses.

  14. Fight writer’s block

    If you can’t write, take a walk through the park, relax, and free your mind. I find meditation works quite well, too.

  15. Let your poetry be interpreted

    Don’t be too blunt about your subject. Don’t scream your metaphor from the rooftop. Let your readers create their own interpretations.

  16. Read your poetry aloud.

    Reading your poetry aloud makes sure that it doesn’t sound fake and flows the way you wish. Let that rhythm shine!

  17. Read a lot

    Read as much as you can, both prose and poetry–especially the style of the verse you wish to write. The more you are exposed to it, the more you will understand it, and the more your words will freely flow out your pen.

  18. Revise

    Continue to revise your work constantly. Don’t settle for something you know can be better. And believe me, it can be better!

There you have it! 18 poetry tips to help you write better poetry. I hope you learned something.

Gary R. Hess

Gary was born and raised on a small farm in rural Kansas. Today, he is teaching various nationalities English in Southeast Asia. Get his newest poetry eBook here.