The nine stages of trying to write poetry

If you’re anything like me, you’ll understand deeply that the poetry struggle is real. It’s a galactic behemoth, and we but teeny, tiny atoms trying to navigate its interstellar medium:

1. You’ve read a beautiful poem that sings to your soul in such a way that you feel inspired to write your own. It was only three lines long, it can’t be that hard, can it?

confident cat

2. What the actual f— is a haiku!!??


3. You’ve finally completed the first line, but you’re so absolutely buggered by your herculean effort that you’ve descended into a pool of infinite blackness and despair


4. But you give it another go and just a few minutes later you’re done. And wow, your poem is AMAZING!!! Like seriously, dude, you should have been writing poems all along!!

cat glasses

5. Except, your poem is just not complicated enough, so you jump over to thesaurus.comto scoop up some meandering and unnecessary adjectives


6. But now you can’t even understand what the hell you’ve written and it’s all so confusing and a mess and you don’t know what to do and why the hell is life so damn complicated and all you want to do is eat the bloody thing

cta eating paper

7. You’re on the hunt for hope, so you give your poem to a friend to read, but all they can do is laugh. You secretly begin plotting their demise

cat plotting

8. The next day you stare at your poem FOR HOURS AND HOURS trying to figure out how to make it a tribute to the new golden age of modern poetry and thus win the Nobel prize in literature. But you can’t, because it sucks

Intense cat

9. A few years later, completely out of the blue and without any effort at all, a perfect poem magically pops up in your head. A poem so beautiful that it sings to your heart.

waiting cat

114 thoughts

  1. Oh yay! I love this. The first time attempted a haiku, the whole syllable count was a mess. I could almost imagine myself in every stage described 😀 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this! So funny. 🙂 I feel this way about writing my first novel. One moment I love it, and the next, I absolutely hate it. It’s such a weird feeling!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love it! As a poet I get all of these. Although my poetry never seems to be “done”. I worry because every version I write of each poem seems to be slightly different… although I guess that’s kind of neat in itself, suggests that the poem takes on a new life?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the idea that poems, in the same manner as a character in a story, can take on a new life. Often, when I write, I feel like I don’t have any power over where the story will go, that the characters have ultimate control over their own destiny. Sometimes I’ll sit back and think, ‘what the hell is going on here?’ Every time I sit down to write, an unknown adventure awaits!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahah thanks!! 🙂 How much fun are the cat GIFs? Totally changed the way I blog LOL. On that, I’m at risk at being taken less seriously by those ‘literary types’, but I don’t mind at all, it’s so much fun 🙂


    1. Oh me too! I’ve just never been able to fully grasp it either. I remember at school some people were naturals – others like me were sorely lacking in poetical talent! I never quite make it to #9 !!


      1. They offer modules on it within my Uni course but I try to steer clear of them as I’ve not got a clue how theyre constructed haha.
        Seems a bit late for me to study it as well as I’m retaking my second year now haha


  4. I think we need to read more poetry just like we need to read more prose. It’s pouring out your emotion in a way that connects to others. Love the nine step creative process – with cat GIFs. That GIF at #9 just cracks me up.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. oh my gosh, thank you for the gif love. 😂
    I love poetry, and writing it, but you absolutely nailed the angst involved sometimes. – Captain Obvious (or mostly known as Vanessa (another Aussie))
    Thank you for the belly laugh!
    And thanks to the Nerdy Lion, I found your site.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I never could get behind poetry. It is too much work for me! Even with an entire world’s worth of cats and cat related .gifs, I doubt I could power through even the first line!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hello ,

    I saw your tweet about animals and thought I will check your website. I like it!

    I love pets. I have two beautiful thai cats called Tammy(female) and Yommo(male). Yommo is 1 year older than Tommy. He acts like a bigger brother for her. 🙂
    I have even created an Instagram account for them ( ) and probably soon they will have more followers than me (kinda funny).

    I have subscribed to your newsletter. 🙂

    Keep up the good work on your blog.


    Liked by 1 person

  8. So true. Love the fact that I’m not the only one who waits in anticipation for a comment from a friend but then…its like they don’t get it. So true that out of the blue a poem enters your spirit and boom awesomeness just like that. It’s a gift.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I live in fear that when a friend reads my poems they’ll be too polite to tell me if they’re awful. The possibility of turning into a delusional poetic x-factor contestant.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. The best part about this all is revisiting that first poem to make it not terrible and realizing that you have no idea what you were trying to write about in the first place.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. the first 7 stages for me entail remembering that great inspirtational thought that I had and then forgot when I grabbed a pencil. The 8th is loosening the hell up. Nice post

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Must be all the Dr. Seuss I read as a child, but to me, a poem must rhyme. Sitting in Nome, I wrote a poem, where I entome, my wish to be home. (Ignore the poetic munging of entomb – entome is actually a word – but a strange one. It “should” mean to inscribe words in a tome, but it actually means…)
    Here’s a challenge, write a poem using only cat picture for words…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I can relate to all of this 😂, the best advice I was given was to trust your voice even when you feel all kinds of emotion such fear and doubt. This was an amazing piece I really enjoyed this.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. love this!! lovely to hear from others who appreciate the struggle :p sometimes writing poetry “flows” for me, but when I took a poetry class and had assignments, my poetry was SO BAD. Thanks for sharing about your writing process and keeping it real.

    Liked by 2 people

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