Relaxation is personal to everyone. Something that one person finds relaxing might be unappealing or even stressful to someone else. Fortunately, there is no such thing as the right or wrong way to relax.
For me, writing poetry is an activity that I find relaxing and therapeutic. In this blog post I will share with you my process for writing poetry along with ideas for you to discover new ways to relax through creative projects in your life.
My Creative Process when Writing Poems
When I think about writing poetry, I know that it comes very spontaneously. Writing poetry is not something I plan to do. I do not put it on my schedule. I cannot sit down and force myself to write.
Poetry comes at the most unexpected times. Sometimes I am inspired to write poems when I am in nature. Other times I am inspired to write when I am meditating. Poetry sometimes comes to me in times of sadness, or frustration. The emotions associated with life’s ups and downs – joys and sorrows - are often what triggers me to write my poems. Many of my poems are filled with self-reflective questions or an uncertainty about myself, my life, my relationships. My poetry is really a reflection of what is going on in my life at the time.
Because my poetry flows so freely, what you see in my poetry books is basically unedited. I do not have to go back and rewrite it or wordsmith it. There might be punctuation changes to make or small edits, but for the most part what you see is what sprang forth from my thoughts and emotions, from my brain and through my fingers.
Inspiration Behind the Titles of My Poetry Books
The titles of my poetry books have also come from inspirational moments. In 2003 I had just left my job and I took several days for a personal retreat in New Buffalo, Michigan. It was the end of January and there was a lot of snow. I hibernated for five days and sat in front of a fireplace. I had a view out a large picture window at an evergreen tree and enjoyed simply watching the snow fall. Several of the poems in my first book were written during that time. During those five days I wrote 18 poems, and the idea came to me that someday I would publish a book of my poetry and the title would be 'My Pen Sang.'
When I decided in 2017 that I was going to publish a book of my poetry, I was pulling poems together, deciding which ones to put into my book. But the title of the book changed.
I had attended a memorial service of a friend as I was finishing gathering the poems of my book. Her son said that she had written poetry and had some of her poetry published, which I had not known about her. When he described his mother as a “weaver of words,” I was completely moved by that phrase. As a quilter and someone who loves fabric, the word “weaver” took on a dual purpose. It felt like such a rich title to me. It brought in so many elements that I was really captured by it. I felt moved to use that as the title of my book. I waited a few weeks and asked my friend’s husband if I could have that be the title of my book. I have a memorial page in my book dedicated to my friend. After the title of the book was final, I sorted through the poems to include and the subtitle became Poems on Loving, Longing, Learning.
I used the title 'My Pen Sang' for my second book of poems that was recently published this year. The subtitle is Poems of Darkness and Light. I used the same cover image as Weaver of Words, but instead of using pinks and purples, this book cover uses blacks, grays, and white. Using the same image with different colors, with words woven into the cover of the book, was a fun way to connect the books to each other in a subtle way.
What Does Being Creative Look Like to You?
Many of you reading this post might also feel relaxed when writing. Others have no interest in writing and find it more stressful than relaxing. Being creative is only relaxing when you enjoy it. If you feel like you are not a naturally creative person, that is ok, too. It may be that you have not found a creative outlet that you enjoy. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to embrace creativity. and allow it to flow.
When you write for yourself, you can let the words flow without worrying about how they sound to someone else. Whether it is a journal, short-stories, poems, or a play, writing is an inexpensive way to express yourself that you can do without much planning. And if you decide to share your work with friends or the general public, there are a variety of tools to help you edit your work for grammar and spelling before you send it out into the world.
Just like writing, creating artwork can be entirely private. To truly let your creative side out, remember that this activity is entirely for you, not anyone else. You can get started with just a pencil and paper, or go to the craft store and purchase paints and canvas. It is entirely up to you and there are no limits on what you can brainstorm and create.
If you have wanted to learn an instrument, or write songs, go for it! You can search for used instruments on places like Facebook Marketplace or Offer Up and find videos and tutorials to help you get started. If singing is your passion, do that!
Whether you love to sew like I do, or you prefer other craft projects, crafting is a fun way to relax and be creative. You can get caught up for hours at stores like Michael’s, JoAnn Fabrics, and Hobby Lobby, browsing all the different materials and things that you can create to decorate home or office or DIY gifts for others.
Woodworking, working on old cars, rebuilding motorcycles, are all ways to be creative and get your hands dirty. Maybe you find it relaxing to solve problems around the house and make things work again.
There is no shame in trying new ways to create. Nobody else has to see the results. The goal is to find what you enjoy and do it for fun. And if you find that you both love it and are good at it, then that is just an extra bonus. The important thing is that it is ok to not be good at everything. We all have our passions, our niches. The goal is for you to enjoy finding relaxation. Being creative is for you, not anyone else.
If you are interested in purchasing Weaver of Words or My Pen Sang, you can purchase them through my website.
If you would like to share some of your poems, please feel free to stop by my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/bewellandrenew and create a post. I would love to read what you are writing if you feel comfortable sharing.
Remember, my wish is always for you to ....