AVBOB Poetry Project | Why Poetry Competitions Might Be Just the Tonic for Your Writer’s Block | AVBOB Poetry

Why Poetry Competitions Might Be Just the Tonic for Your Writer’s Block

Every writer, both professional and amateur, experiences a creative slowdown once in a while. During this time, it is not only the lack of motivation to write that becomes apparent but a feeling as though no ideas are even springing forth from those brainstorming sessions. Nothing seems good enough. Nothing seems worthy enough to even pen down. For budding wordsmiths and prolific authors alike, writer’s block hits like a tidal wave and lasts long enough to cause frustration. How, then, does one combat this creative fatigue and get up out of that slump? The answer may lie in poetry competitions.

Why Does Writer’s Block Occur?

Some may feel the term is merely an excuse; others see it as an indication one needs to take a professional break. What if, however, taking a creative vacation is an impossibility? What if those self-set or external deadlines are looming and the work must be done? Your first step is to determine precisely what is causing this work paralysis and then target the issue head-on. Below is a list of a few (but certainly not all) of the reasons you may be experiencing a psychological hindrance when it comes to picking up that pen:

  • You’re tired: It is essential to realise that continual creative output is exhausting and nobody can pour from an empty well.
  • Perfectionism: If competing with other writers or public opinion is keeping you from drafting that poem, you might be struggling with the perfection monster.
  • External circumstances: Difficulty with relationships, finances, and even your mental and physical wellbeing can also disrupt creative performance.
  • Distractions: Some responsibilities we cannot avoid, such as duties at home. Too many distractions, however, could be a genuine cause of writer’s block.

Writing More Freely

How would entering a few poetry competitions help with burnout, fear of failure, or any of the other reasons mentioned above? First off, poetry competitions do not have as many restrictions as a research piece, blog article, or journalistic report. This freedom may be refreshing to writers who often have too many boundaries placed upon their preferred style. Letting loose creatively may just spark inspiration for that next composition.

Some Rules Are Helpful

Poetry competitions offer a few guidelines and even some structure to which writers must adhere. While the aim is never to box in your imagination, it may help to give it some clear direction.

Experiment with Your Writing Style

If you want to get your writing groove back but don’t yet feel ready to enter any poetry competitions, take some time to explore new themes, new writing styles, try out new voices. Experiment with tone of voice, or tackle fixed forms like the sonnet, villanelle or sestina. Stepping out of your comfort zone may get the creative juices flowing. Bring back the playfulness of poetry. Experimenting like this with style, or form takes away the pressure to impress or fear of failure. This change in intention may help you let go of any perfectionism or perceived need to perform.

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