"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Rhythm is Gonna Get You! How writers can use Poetry to hone their craft...

“The rhythm is gonna’ get you!”---Gloria Estefan

Would you like to be a better “performer” on page? To have your words “wow” today’s reader? Do you have difficulty with structure and flow? Or perhaps your goal is to be brief but substantive in your expression.

If so, you might be surprised to discover that there is much that poetry offers to writers of all genres seeking to enhance writing skills and
become more profitable. And I should know.

Long before I earned a living at doling out advice to the lovelorn, penning profile pieces, or blogging, I published poetry. Lots of it. Some good---some not so much.
Still, this “former life” and creative license has often caused editors to comment positively on my flow, smooth transitions and facility with words. Appealing like “music to their ears.”

Which ultimately translates into greater interest, a greater acceptance rate and greater pay.
If you too want your work to stand out, require less revision, and say more with fewer words, here are a few tips and poetic techniques to enhance your efforts and your bottom line.

1. Keep it short and sweet. Word economy is crucial in poetry. Crafting couplets, quatrains and Haikus requires a specific amount of lines, and sometimes even syllables. You’ll find that adhering to structured formats will help you to maintain editors’ word counts and submission guidelines for projects like anthologies and interviews.
Need a quick refresher on poetic techniques and definitions?
Check out: www.poemofquotes.com/ and experiment. You’ll also find that poetry proficiency lends itself to writing for greeting card markets as well.

2. Read your work aloud. To render a specific feel, sound and impact, poets often read their words aloud to perfectly polish their pieces. You should too. It’s the best way to detect typos, awkward phrasing, and poor structure.

3. Make use of metaphors. A Metaphor is a figure of speech that implies a connection between two unlike things. For example, life is often compared to a journey, or to a road, or to a lesson. Metaphors do to writing what spices add to cooking: they enhance the overall experience and add a little “flavor“.

4. Exercise your creative license. Poets are known for distinguishing themselves by daring to be different. e.e. cummings was noted for using lower-cased letters and breaking capitalization rules, for instance. Though you should observe most rules for formal writing, there are a few that can be broken to your benefit. I sometimes use fragments, or end sentences with prepositions, when doing so makes sense and suits my creative purpose. Word!

5. Establish symmetry by varying sentence length. Sentences that are too short throughout your piece come off as choppy. Long ones can cause the reader to over labor and become lost. Use a combination of both for greater success in your word choices.

Follow these five tips and you’ll give your work a more competitive edge and increase your earnings. Charles Baudelaire perhaps said it best, “Always be a poet, even in prose.”

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  1. Jennifer,

    What great advice.

    I have to agree with the "reading your work out loud". It's amazing how reading your work can help you catch loads of mistakes.

    Thanks for offering these great tips!

    Women Entrepreneurs HQ Show!

  2. Hi Krizia,

    Welcome, welcome! How wonderful to have you here. I believe this is your first time visiting, (or at least commenting). :-)

    I'm glad you found these tips useful. Thanks so much for starting the conversation.

  3. Love this advice! I like to call this "cross- training" - as far as using something like poetry to enhance other areas of writing. It really does add so much to everything we write.

    One of my faves among this list is the advice to read work aloud. The ear hears what the eye may miss.

    Great post, thanks, Jen!
    Have a good Sunday,

  4. Jennifer Brown BanksJune 5, 2011 at 11:33 AM

    Hmm...I love that reference. That actually would have been a good title, "Cross Training." Now why didn't I think of that? :-) Thanks Karen! I value your input. Enjoy your day.

  5. Jennifer Brown BanksJune 6, 2011 at 9:20 AM

    Glad you liked it, Wendy. :-)

  6. Great advice! I think the term "Cros-Training" is perfect for this subject post! I write thoughts in my head and some call it poetry. I don't always but it does help me perfect my craft.

  7. I am so glad you suggested "reading out loud." I read my writing out loud all the time -- but I am often afraid that someone will hear me and think that I have gone completely batty. Thanks so much for validating the read-aloud strategy.

    For me, it's the only way I can make sure I have the right "rhythm" in my writing. (I even read aloud really boring writing, like pieces on securities law, because it helps me to make sure that the writing flows.)

    Hope you had a terrific and relaxing Memorial Day weekend.

  8. Jennifer Brown BanksJune 7, 2011 at 3:44 AM

    Way to go, Yvonne. Keep @ it! Thanks for your input. :-)

  9. Jennifer Brown BanksJune 7, 2011 at 3:48 AM

    Hi there, Nihara,

    Yep--reading aloud can make all the difference. Good to hear from you today. And my holiday was wonderful. :-)

    Thanks a bunch for your thoughts.

  10. As always, great and useful advice. Thank you for your generous spirit and wanting your fellow writers to experience success.

  11. Jennifer Brown BanksJune 7, 2011 at 1:52 PM

    How very sweet, thanks Barb! I should be sending off a package to you next week when I can get to the post office. :-)