14 Writing Tips for Beginners from a Self-Taught Poet

Cover of 14 Writing Tips for Beginners from a Self-Taught Poet

I embarked on my poetic journey at the age of 17, during my high school years, devoid of any guide or manual to steer my course. Initially, my poetry mirrored my inexperience, often simplistic and naïvely crafted.

As time went on, I refined my craft through reading a lot of classic poetry and I learned about style, technique, themes, word order, while discovering new poetry favorites.  Now, standing on the threshold of a significant milestone with a published collection to my name, I can trace the arc of my growth clearly. 

If you are embarking on a poetry writing journey, here are 14 tips that helped me foster my writing practice and write more poetry: 


  1. Word Dictionary: Create a personal dictionary of interesting words (that you come across while reading) to use in your poems; this practice aids in selecting apt words that enhance your theme. 
  2. Pre-Writing Points: Before writing, jot down key points to organize your thoughts systematically. This helps me start building a well-structured poem. 
  3. Word choice and Word order: They are really significant for me. I specifically like to use disrupted syntax for my poems, as an unusual combination of words attracts the reader’s attention! 
  4. Figurative Devices: Compile a list of figurative devices, including rare ones like periphrasis and antithesis, and incorporate them judiciously into your work.
  5. Imagery and Descriptions: Focus on delineating vivid imagery to immerse your readers into the literary landscape you’re painting.
  6. Spontaneous Ideas: If any idea or metaphor comes to my mind at any time, I write it down immediately. Otherwise, I forget it later.
  7. Writing Tools and Journal: Utilize tools like Google Docs and maintain a personal journal to record insights and the backstory of your poems, offering readers a peek into your writing process.
  8. Writing from Experiences: Whether writing from personal or others’ experiences, ensure to have an authentic and well-understood perspective.
  9. Utilizing Writing Prompts: When stuck, seek inspiration from writing prompts available on platforms like Swim Press.
  10. Taking Breaks: If unable to progress, take a break and return with a fresh perspective to complete your piece.
  11. Self-Belief and Persistence: Embrace the imperfect beginnings and persevere in your writing journey. The singer-songwriter Olivia Rodrigo said, “If I were only to make things that were perfect, I would literally never make anything at all. … Just believe in yourself and keep trying because, I’ve written so many bad songs in my life and that’s how you get to the good ones.”
  12. Learning from Masters: Learn and occasionally mimic the styles of great poets, both historical and contemporary, to hone your skills.
  13. Re-Reading: Engage in re-reading of literary works to deeply understand and appreciate various styles, techniques, and forms.
  14. Outdoor Inspiration: Gain inspiration from the outdoors and when you cannot step out, from your daily surroundings.



Share this