In January I sent some of my poetry to a fellow writer and friend, he got back to me with his critiques and thoughts last week.
His point of view was refreshing for a few reasons. For one, I respect him as a writer so having him read my work was just flat out nice. Second, since most of my writing is of a personal nature having someone who wasn’t in the thick of things, so to speak read my work helped me because it allowed me to get someone’s opinion who doesn’t know the details of everything I’ve written about. He was able to tell me if something didn’t make sense, or if something was vague, unrelatable.
As I’ve said before I found I have a tendency to write within my own head, making things less accesible to readers. His critiques pinpointed my problem. With a lot of things, particularly poetry I write about my childhood and teenage years and my home tend to be on the surface. I don’t like to go deeper because it is painful, I rely on the fact that so many of the people who read my word also know what went on, I don’t have to go any deeper.
This makes my poetry weaker. I don’t have this problem with prose, only with poetry and I think that’s because a lot of my poetry is imagery driven and metaphor driven. When I am thinking about ways to create imagery and metaphor I have to spend a lot of time thinking about whatever it is I want to describe, if that something is painful I would prefer to spend as little time thinking about it as possible. I suppose in some ways it’s a defense mechanism, but it also makes for weaker writing.
So what am I going to do about this? Write as if whoever is reading it has no idea what the hell I’m talking about it. Sure, it’ll be harder on me but it’ll make me a better writer, which is my goal.