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Here’s What You Should Know About NaPoWriMo

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

April is here and poets all around are busy writing a poem every single day. Is it some sort of cult-ish behaviour? Well, close enough. It’s NaPoWriMo! Or to elaborate, it is National Poetry Writing Month. This is a challenge where poets, amateur and professional, write poems every day based on different prompts for each day.

But how did it get started? What is the history behind this worldwide phenomenon?

Well, it started when Maureen Thorson, a poet from Washington, DC, decided to start writing a poem every day in the month of April in 2003 on her blog. As other poets participated along with her, it did not take much time before more and more people started being a part of NaPoWriMo. Today, many big projects like The Poetry Cover support this project. Not only that but many college literary societies also take part in NaPoWriMo, like Lady Shri Ram College for Women’s Expressions and Sri Venkateswara College’s Petrichor.

The beauty of NaPoWriMo lies in its challenging aura, its promise of consistency and, most importantly, the space it creates for writers, poets and dreamers.

1, 2, 3- Get Writing!

By participating in NaPoWriMo, you are committing to creating art every day. A lot of poets usually let themselves get stuck in the web of procrastination. With its refreshing prompts (and the burst of online support), NaPoWriMo ensures that the ink doesn’t dry from our pens. 

These prompts can be as specific as “narrate a tale from your childhood” or as vague as “rose”. The magic of poetry lies in the eyes of those who interpret it- whether a reader or the poet themselves. There is also the added opportunity of trying newer themes, genres, and styles of writing poetry. It is really the best challenge for all poets out there that allows them to get out of their comfort zone while still having a time of their lives.

You are safe here.

Poetry and all other forms of art are important instruments of what Horace called dulce and utile i.e. to delight and instruct. You are moved by it and it makes the gears in your head move as well. NaPoWriMo is, therefore, a safe space for everyone for not only their own catharsis through writing but it also allows people to experiment with new forms of poetry. 

One gets to review other poets’ works while also showcasing (and simultaneously honing) their own writing skills. Both professional and amateur poets take part in NaPoWriMo which makes it a democratic space with a wide range of opinions, views, backgrounds, etc.

But everyone should remember that any such challenge where you need to invest daily can become taxing. That is where the buffer days come in handy. NaPoWriMo allows the participants to have 3 buffer days where they can just take a break from poetry. These days are used at the participant’s discretion. However, if you still feel that committing yourself to write a poem every day can be a little too much for you, here are some ways to help you prep for NaPoWriMo:

  • Understand that there are no wins or losses in this challenge. All you need to do is write a poem- even a crappy poem or a poem that is not your best work will do.
  • If you feel stuck, take a break from writing and try reading instead. It will fill you with more creative ideas.
  • Being observant is key when facing a poetry challenge. There are so many ideas around you- all you need to do is open your eyes.
  • Take a break. Make efficient use of your buffer days. You are allowed to pause but do not quit. 
  • Celebrate your victories. When you write a poem, you must realise that creating a piece of art adds to the beauty of the world.
  • Maintain a journal. This can be a traditional ledger or you can simply save all your poems and ideas in an online document. You might think your poetry is subpar but your journal is a treasure trove you will be glad you saved.

Get ready to unleash the artist within you! NaPoWriMo is here for you to make you a better writer, a better artist and a better introspective soul. Just remember, failure isn’t real when it comes to poetry.

Happy Writing!

Yashica

Delhi South '22

Yashica (she/her) is an undergraduate based in Delhi, India. A student of Lady Shri Ram College for Women, she is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature. Her poetry has been published by Sapphic Writers, The Red Megaphone, AsianZine, and The Write Order. She is also the coordinator of the creative writing society of her college. While she briefly worked as a content writer, she usually finds herself writing about the grotesque realities of the human psyche and society. Her work ranges from horror fiction to confessional poetry. She also writes about Dalit issues and her experiences as a member of the queer community.
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