Ami Mattison's Blog (38)

Why You Are Not Your Writing

Perhaps, you disagree with me. Perhaps, you envision your writing as some small (or large) piece of who you are. You wouldn’t be alone in that belief.



Many writers see their writing as an extension of themselves. And there have been times when I felt precisely the same way.



Writing can be gut-wrenching work. Sometimes, when we write, we feel we've put a piece of ourselves onto the page.



Plus, consider some popular metaphors for writing, such as… Continue

Added by Ami Mattison on June 14, 2010 at 12:08pm — 2 Comments

Transform Your Writing and Your Life: How to Open Yourself to Creative Possibilities

In order to create, we must be open to a full-range of creative possibilities and artistic choices. We must come to believe that the seemingly impossible is potentially doable.



Without creative possibilities, our poetry and our writing practice suffer. We become stuck within our preconceived notions about what makes for “good” writing and ideas, and we limit not only our creative endeavors, but our artistic selves.



What is Possible



The word… Continue

Added by Ami Mattison on June 8, 2010 at 1:02pm — No Comments

Inner Solitude, Or What Your Absolutely Need In Order to Write

"The necessary thing is after all but this: solitude, great inner solitude." --Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet



Solitude is the state or quality of being solitary, secluded, or remote from others. There is physical solitude--seclusion, or social isolation. And there is inner solitude, which is a state of mind, or an attitude, as well as a practice.



In this noisy world and in our busy lives as writers, it’s challenging to create a situation in which… Continue

Added by Ami Mattison on June 2, 2010 at 7:08am — No Comments

10 Ways to Stay Inspired and Passionate about Writing

Staying creatively inspired and passionate about your writing can be challenging, especially if you write every day. Some days, I have no clue what I want to write about, and I end up writing dribble or half-completed poems.



While bad, uninteresting, and uninspired writing is a significant part of the creative process, it can feel defeating to go several days or even weeks without writing something that truly sparks my passion. As a result, I’ve learned to turn to tricks… Continue

Added by Ami Mattison on May 30, 2010 at 7:20am — No Comments

A Poet’s Guide to Critique: How to Give and Get Helpful Feedback

Critical feedback is an important part of a poet's creative process.



Getting helpful critical feedback that you can use to improve your poetry is essential to honing your writing skills, and giving useful feedback helps you to learn what makes for well-written poetry and to discover solutions to problems in your own writing.



It's a lot like dancing in pairs. With a partner, you can perform many more dance moves than you could otherwise do by yourself. Through… Continue

Added by Ami Mattison on May 27, 2010 at 4:56am — 2 Comments

What a Subway Singer, a Buddhist Monk, and Sylvia Plath Taught Me about Poetry

“The gift turned inward, unable to be given, becomes a heavy burden, even sometimes a kind of poison. It is as though the flow of life were backed up.”May Sarton



Last night, I began reading The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath. It was strange… Continue

Added by Ami Mattison on May 26, 2010 at 6:12am — No Comments

No Open Mic? No Problem: How to Organize Your Own Poetry Reading

In my previous article, “4 Reasons You Should Perform Your Poetry,” I discussed how performing or reading your poetry to others could strengthen and enhance your creative experience and could provide the artistic and social connections you need as a poet. Also, I suggested that you find an open mic… Continue

Added by Ami Mattison on May 21, 2010 at 1:42pm — No Comments

Zen Mind, Writer's Mind: Some Tips for a Zen Writing Practice

I’m not an expert in Zen Buddhism. My knowledge and experience comprise a layperson’s perspective. But what I’ve come to understand in my practices of Zen and writing is that they are interdependent, strengthening and playing off one another.



Spirituality and Creativity



Natalie Goldberg, author of several best-selling books including her classic Writing Down the Bones, draws a connection between Zen practice and writing. In an interview, she… Continue

Added by Ami Mattison on May 17, 2010 at 11:11am — No Comments

Professional Development for Poets: Cheap Ways to Hone Your Skills

As a poet and performer, I don’t have a lot of money to spend on expensive conferences or writing courses, and I’m betting you don’t either. But financial limitations needn’t get in the way of your professional development. There are several free or inexpensive ways to develop your writing skills and knowledge of poetry. Here are some I’ve tried:

Read the rest of the article at poetryNprogress.

Added by Ami Mattison on May 14, 2010 at 6:15am — No Comments

4 Reasons You Should Perform Your Poetry

I shared my poetry with an audience for the first time at an old-fashioned “poetry reading.” It was 1991, and there were four of us. We took turns standing behind a music stand where our poems were laid out, and we proceeded to read in our best “serious poet” voices. You know the voice I’m talking about—the one where every line ends in an upward tone and sounds almost like a question?

Wow, have things changed since those days!



Now, in addition to the mainstay of the… Continue

Added by Ami Mattison on May 12, 2010 at 7:56am — No Comments

The Poet’s Journal: Uses, Benefits, and Tips for Journal Writing

"Poetry is the journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air." Carl Sandburg



As Sandburg suggests, poets are strange, dislocated creatures, longing for seeming impossibilities—to live outside physical boundaries, to take flight in language.



As “a sea animal living on land,” Sandburg understood how poetry could be a kind of journal of one’s creative life.



This notion of poetry as a journal of the poet’s life reminds me of my own journal… Continue

Added by Ami Mattison on May 9, 2010 at 6:55am — No Comments

Developing a Writing Routine: How to Write Every Day

Developing a consistent, writing routine is both challenging and rewarding. There are so many distractions in our daily lives, so many demands on our time. Yet, as writers and artists, we often grow irritable, frustrated, and sad when we aren’t able to write on a regular basis. Learning to write every day not only improves productivity, but also it can be a way to manage your moods and your stress levels.



There was a time when I was lucky to write once a week. I was so… Continue

Added by Ami Mattison on May 6, 2010 at 6:42am — No Comments

The Playful Poet: 12 Fun Ways to Enhance Your Creativity

Eventually, there comes a time in every poet’s life when you simply aren’t inspired. There’s no spark; the flame has died; and your passion has up and left you.



You may be bereft; or maybe you're too psychically drained to care.



The problem with these dry spells in a poet’s life is that they can easily turn into weeks and months without writing, which, if you’re like me, can cause moodiness and depression. Also, when you do finally force yourself to sit down and write, you… Continue

Added by Ami Mattison on May 2, 2010 at 4:56am — No Comments

For Beginner Poets: How to Know If Your Poetry Sucks

Recently, a reader found my blog by typing “how to figure out if your poetry sucks” in a Google search. People find my blog through all types of searches, but I chuckled at this one.



Poets at all levels of experience worry about whether or not our poetry sucks.Often, as we contemplate our poetry, we experience gnawing doubts about our abilities as poets and about the quality of our work. However, the question of “how to figure out if your poetry sucks” tends to be a beginner’s… Continue

Added by Ami Mattison on April 25, 2010 at 10:09am — No Comments

Ego-Aerobics for Poets: How to Flex Your Creative Self-Esteem

"You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection"--Buddha



Because art is usually seen as superfluous in culture, artists often fail to receive the kind of encouragement, support, and creative sustenance that is needed to create.



Poets, especially, face a culture that rarely sees poetry as deeply and profoundly significant. As a result of this cultural neglect, poets and other artists must work, and oftentimes struggle, to… Continue

Added by Ami Mattison on April 19, 2010 at 9:21am — No Comments

11 Tips for Spoken Word Beginners

In 2002, I began touring and performing spoken word in a serious way, and I’ve been doing so ever since, earning a modest income from my gigs. Also, I teach workshops and classes on spoken word performance. I’m still learning and growing as a performer, but now, spoken word novices ask me for advice, and I’m always willing to provide whatever help I can.



Tips for Novices



Over the years, I’ve offered different kinds of advice, but here are eleven tips that I… Continue

Added by Ami Mattison on April 15, 2010 at 7:30am — 2 Comments

The Key to Honing Your Creative Goals

Recently, I listened to an audio interview with Danielle LaPorte by Hiro Boga. In the interview, LaPorte discusses how to be THE creative force in your own life, and suggests that this process begins with knowing one’s “core desires.”



This concept of core desires in my life and in my creative career… Continue

Added by Ami Mattison on April 12, 2010 at 4:52am — No Comments

30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month. At poetryNprogress, I’ll be celebrating all month long with more practical advice and in-depth articles on poetry and spoken word performance. To kick things off, I’ve compiled a list of some great ways to celebrate poetry...Read more.

Added by Ami Mattison on April 8, 2010 at 2:49am — No Comments

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