Summer is almost here, and I know a lot of people who have hopes and dreams and plans for the season.
Get out a piece of paper, write “Summer” at the top, and draw a line down the middle, heading one side: “dreams,” and the other side: “plans.”
Set a timer for three or more minutes. (Minimum!) As soon as you start the timer jot down every idea you can come up with for the dreams and plans columns of your brainstorm sheet. Remember, when brainstorming, there is no idea too wacky or unusual to include in the list—after all, in the end you don’t have to use every idea you came up with. Start brainstorming under one heading—dreams or plans. Switch to the other heading every time you run out of ideas for the column you working on. Press yourself to keep coming up with ideas until the timer goes off.
Read over your work and highlight the things you would like to use in crafting your summer dreams and plans poem. Consider numbering each highlight in the order you want to use it.
Draft your poem. You can make it free verse or formal. Get your ideas down on paper in the order you want to use them.
Read your poem out loud. How does it sound to you? Make some changes in word choices to play up the sounds of the poem so that they accentuate themes and feelings you wish to bring out.
Check your word choice. Are you using the word “car” in place of “Prius?” Are you using the word “friend” in place of your friend’s actual name? Did you use the term “city” to refer to Salem or Portland? Try to incorporate the most specific forms of word choice that you can. And that goes for more than just nouns. Do you look forward to “going through the sprinklers” versus “sprinting through the sprinklers” (Ooh! See how the second example not only incorporates a more specific verb but plays with the repetition of the sound “sp”?)
When you’ve polished your poem into it’s sun-bright best, read what you’ve written with your writing partners or share it on the blog as a comment. (Here in Oregon, we still have gray skies and rain showers, I would so enjoy reading a sunlit summer poem!) Compliment one another on the strengths of the writing, including the way the sound of the poem matches its mood and ideas, and the marvelously specific word choices used.
Enjoy looking forward to summer. I know I am.