The 11 Mistakes Beginners Make When Writing Poetry

11+ Mistakes Beginners Make When Writing Poetry

As a poet, I have seen it time and again: beginning poets get stuck in the same patterns that they hear from every other writer, and they write about what everyone else is writing about. 

However, there are many more elements to poetry than just rhyme and rhythm. To become a better poet, you must break out of these 10 common mistakes that beginner poets frequently make.

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While it is true that the most beautiful poems seem effortless and natural, they actually require a lot of thought and revision to come together. In fact, there are several common mistakes that many writers make when starting out with their first poem. If you want to avoid these mistakes yourself, check out the list below!

What Mistakes Do Beginners Make When Writing Poetry?

Having No Purpose For Your Poem.

Write about what you know, not what you think others want to hear. If there’s no purpose behind your words, why should anyone bother reading them? To write great poetry that the world will love and appreciate, make sure it has a strong motivation or theme at its core.

Excessive Use Of Big Words.

Poetry is not the place for big words. It’s a common beginner mistake to use complex vocabulary and obscure references to make your poems appear more intelligent, but this will not impress anyone! In fact, it will likely confuse people who don’t know what you’re talking about.

Keep your writing simple and easy to read.

Abusing Figures of Speech.

Figures of speech are a powerful tool in the poet’s arsenal, and they can help paint a picture, evoke emotion, and convey meaning. However, they’re also relatively easy to abuse when misused or over-utilized.

If you are not careful, the reader will only see the figures of speech instead of absorbing what you meant for them to represent in your writing. Some figures will work better than others, depending on your writing and who your audience is.

Plagiarism.

It seems obvious, but many beginner writers are unaware of the consequences plagiarism can have.

If you’re not writing about original concepts or ideas, your work will likely be perceived as unoriginal and common by default! Avoiding common topics is one way to avoid being accused of plagiarising someone else’s work.

You should also avoid common phrases, words, and styles to avoid plagiarism. There are few things more embarrassing than being called out for plagiarizing someone else’s work!

Rambling Off-topic.

The best poems are always ones that can be read in one breath. If you want to write a poem, make sure it is brief and articulate. No rambling off-topic! Writing in short fragments can help keep your writing clear, concise, and to the point! 

It can be all too easy to start talking about something completely unrelated in the middle of an otherwise beautiful poem. If you want people to take notice of your poetry, make sure that it stays focused and on topic.

Trying To Sound Too Poetic.

There’s nothing more common than people trying to sound poetic when they don’t know what they’re doing. The truth is, it can be very difficult to write poetry that flows naturally and sounds good the way it was meant to be heard.

Most of us are not born with this talent, so we must work hard at achieving a natural sound. If you find that your poetry sounds forced or unnatural, try reading it out loud to yourself and revise the sections where things sound awkward.

Unruly Pattern-breaking.

 One thing that I’ve noticed about poems is that they often follow patterns. Whether it’s rhythm or rhyme scheme, poets are bound by structure. 

But sometimes, there are exceptions, which can make for compelling reading material – if done right! Unruly pattern-breaking should only be used when appropriate, though.

Unruly pattern-breaking is often used in poetry to create a sense of surprise. This type of writing can be enjoyable, but it should not be the sole focus of your poem. If you break your pattern too much, it will lose its meaning and become meaningless gibberish, which doesn’t help anyone!

Excessive Rhyming in Poems.

Rhyming in poems is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, rhyming can add to the overall beauty and make it more appealing and memorable. However, on the other hand, too much rhyme can make your poem sound cheesy or childish when taken out of context.

If you are writing for an audience that loves poetry or want your work to stand out from the crowd, it’s best to avoid excessive rhyming altogether. If your rhyming is too familiar, then it will likely fall on deaf ears. Nobody wants to read a poem that has been written just for the sake of adding rhymes into sentences!

Avoid Defective Scansion.

One of the most common mistakes made in rhyming poetry is not adhering to credible scansion or meter. Scansion is the method of analyzing and visually representing a line’s meter or pattern. 

In classical poetry, many types vary by their quantitative base on syllable lengths, such as trochaic (longer than short), anapestic (two equal segments with one longer) and dactylic rhythms, which involve three repetitive feet at different rates. 

Poetry is a highly structured form of writing that requires precision and correctness to be successful! Unless of course, you prefer free verse.

Making Up Words or Creating Neologisms.

Pragmatically, it is better to avoid using neologisms and made-up words in poems, and it may make your poetry less accessible and more challenging to understand. 

Attempting to create a poem with words that do not exist is like counting the number of sand grains on a beach: it can be done, but there is no point.

Impatience To Edit Before Publishing.

Don’t be too hasty to publish your poetry work. Proofread it, edit it and revise until you’re satisfied with the quality of what’s written down on paper. It doesn’t matter if the process takes up a week or even years – just make sure that when you post something online for others to read, it is as perfect as possible.

Luckily, We’ve put together a fantastic comprehensive poetry editing guide that will help you correct the most common mistakes in a fraction of the time.

Conclusion

To recap, we’ve covered the 10 mistakes beginners make when writing poetry. We hope this list has been helpful and that you will avoid these pitfalls in your own work. 

Lastly, it is essential to remember that poetry is subjective and what works for one person may not work for another. Trust your instinct when reading/writing poetry, but don’t be afraid to change things up if you feel like it doesn’t fit!

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