Being a good student isn’t always a good thing

I’m a nerd—an English nerd to be precise. I love to read, annotate and I love class discussions. I’m pretty much a model student in my English class, which, oddly enough, is the reason why I have this problem.

We recently started our poetry unit in which my teacher’s been going over meter, masculine/feminine rhymes, and other terms relating to poetry. Everything was fine and dandy; my original apprehension disappeared when I realized that we weren’t going to be critiquing poems, and I began enjoying the lessons and even looking forward to them.

However, that is until I tried to use these new techniques to improve my poetry. I just sat there, scratching out words, ideas, stanzas, and then everything. In the end, I came to the conclusion that I can’t write, or at least not at the moment, because all of my creativity is being sucked up by the terms and tools we were given in class.

For instance, I’ll write a line down and then think to myself “No, the meter’s all wrong, and I don’t want a feminine rhyme here” or “Should I put more sibilant sounds here to add to the meaning of my poem?” It’s as if I’m editing the poem before I’ve even written it and that all of the lessons and lectures that I gobbled down so eagerly has started making me second guess myself even when I’m in the middle of a line. I’ll start writing with a clear vision and by the end of it, I’ll have nothing but a million scratch marks that are all I can show for my hours worth of work.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love learning about poetry in class, but my love of learning is seriously impeding my love of writing poetry. I miss writing poetry passionately and only then going back to edit it, and I miss that cathartic feeling of getting all of my emotions out on paper without even thinking about it.

I guess I’m going to have to take a break from writing poems for a while. That way, I can wait for these lessons sink in, and once that has happened, hopefully I can start writing without second guessing myself.

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9 thoughts on “Being a good student isn’t always a good thing

  1. I know exactly how you feel, and often felt the same with all the different kinds of creative writing classes I did at uni. I found once the classes were over each semester, then I could sit down and put it all into practice easier. It’ll come back, don’t worry too much, just give yourself a little break like you say. 🙂

  2. In a way it’s good–I think it is good to question yourself as an artist, even in the middle of your process. But if doing that is persistently getting in the way of your process, then take a break and let everything infuse for a bit.

    • That’s true, it’s not good to remain static as an artist/writer, but it is just really annoying to fill three pages with scratch marks. I think I will let everything infuse for a bit (btw, that is a fabulous word and I wish I heard it more often)

  3. I think a good practice would be to read a lot of poetry and think critically about the ones you like. What appeals to you? Is it the sound of the words as they bounce off each other? Is it the feel of them in your mouth, or the way the rhythm twitches your muscles? Once you know what you like, it’s easier to fine tune your own poetry.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, by the way!

    • That’s a good idea, thanks! I really love it when the vowels all slip from my mouth and kind of have a life of their own. I know it doesn’t make much sense, but it’s the reason why I love the poem “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” by Shakespeare. I’ll try implementing that in my poetry, so thanks once again!

  4. This is exactly why I haven’t finished writing anything since I went to college! (I’ve just graduated with a degree in Creative Writing… go figure).

    So glad I’m not the only one… I just hope there’s a cure! 😀

    • Haha I think just forgetting about everything you learned seems to be the only cure. That’s what I did, and then I realized that the lessons did in fact help me if I didn’t focus on them while writing. Hope this helps! If not, I guess just read more? Although that normally makes me feel worse about my writing and not as inspired 🙂

  5. well, that was a remarkable job of writing about why you are not able to write poetry that meets with set standards and metres and what not 🙂 miss your thoughts. is school so demanding that the blog is left to languish?

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