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.