I recently submitted two poems to a magazine (which will remain unnamed due to possible legal ramifications). When I clicked on the 'Next' icon to take me to the 'Submit' page, a wall of words, highlighted in red, filled up my screen. At the time, it appeared to say something to the effect: "YOU'RE AN IDIOT IF YOU THINK YOU CAN MAKE A LIVING WRITING POETRY!!! Do you still want to continue with your SUBMISSION?"
I was literally shocked. Not as much by the apparent content of the message, but more by my screen turning red. My first thought was, 'I've been brutally attacked by a computer virus'. I quickly realized it was the Magazine's way of conveying a friendly warning message. I only imagined, to them, I was a virus. That's how paranoid writers can get sometimes.
In hindsight, I obviously overreacted. They really weren't calling me an idiot. And you have to admit, they were offering sound advice – writing poetry for a living isn't the best career choice.
However, writing poetry as a form of artistic expression is a great life choice. The therapeutic value alone is priceless.
If you write poetry every day in your personal journal, and never show it to anyone, it can be psychologically and emotionally beneficial to your well being.
If you decide to share your poems with family, friends or other poets, you can gain much needed support, encouragement, and a deeper sense of belonging.
You can also take it one step further and seek publication. There are risks and rewards involved at this level of competition. If you're writing for the sake of fame and fortune, you may be in store for some serious heartaches and headaches. There is money to be made writing poetry. And the possibility of gaining a palpable degree of recognition definitely exists. Yet, how many times do you hear the phrase: 'Billionaire Poet'.
I'm not trying to discourage anyone from writing poetry. Far from it! This is just a reality checkpoint on the artistic endeavor highway that leads to the land of monetizing your intellectual property.
My Mantra is: Write poetry every chance you get.
I started writing songs as a freshman in High School. But it took me until I was forty before I had the courage to move to Nashville to become a professional songwriter. Ten years later, I finally found my niche writing music for Reality TV Shows.
Now, there's no contest, Hollywood pays better than Poetry Magazines. And though I'm hopelessly addicted to writing songs, I can say, unequivocally, writing a poem is an incomparable, transcendental experience, I really can't live without. During that decade of disappointment after discouragement, trying to 'Make It' in Nashville, it was writing poetry that gave me a safe place to heal, recuperate, and persevere. Poetry became my Miracle Drug.
Some of the best reasons to write poetry are because you love it, because you have something to say, because you love telling stories, because it's cathartic, because you like the way your words look on paper, because your poem might Inspire someone, because it's a slice of life you can call your own, because you love that warm electric feeling that accompanies your passion.
Whatever your reasons are, I strongly recommend writing poetry. Use it as a vehicle to transport yourself beyond space and time, to transcend the limits of common sense and pure reason.
Say something in a way that no one else on Earth has ever said. Impress yourself with your individuality. Be part of a community that predates Homer.
Let poetry be an artistic expression of the true you. Write for all your right reasons, and when the compliments come pouring in, accept them with pride; and if someone offers you money for your work of art, enjoy that sweet ride.
Make writing poetry an integral part of your daily life and you will be richly rewarded. That's why you can always find me sitting in the Poet Tree.
Do you have something say about poetry? An essay on being a poet, tips for poets, or poetry you love? TrishHopkinson.com is now accepting pitches for guest blog posts.
Michael Bernard Panasuk is a songwriter, musician, poet and creative philosopher with TV credits that include Pawn Stars, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Say Yes to the Dress, Mob Wives, and Parking Wars. He has written numerous articles for Music Industry Magazines, including Guitar World. His Poetry has been Published in lit mags, newspapers and local press around the country. Panasuk has also earned a Masters Degree in Psychology, followed by a lifelong study of human behavior. But he instinctively gravitates towards that indescribable feeling of universal expression that accompanies the creation of a poem. Michael’s creations can be found online by searching ‘Michael Panasuk music‘.