Charly Cox is the bestselling author of the poetry collections She Must Be Mad and Validate Me. Here, she shares her advice on how to develop your craft, find your voice and make good writing habits as an aspiring poet. 

Many people assume that poetry is the most difficult form of writing to master. Rules of verse, rhyme and form often deter people from putting pen to paper, as they assume that poetry writing either comes naturally or does not come at all.

But contemporary poets are moving away from the rules of poetry that had previously been held up by the English Literature canon and there’s never been a better time to experiment with words. What’s more, poetry can act as a form of therapy, much like journaling.

Ahead, Charly Cox, the bestselling author of two poetry collections, She Must Be Mad and Validate Me is on hand to teach you how to start writing poetry, whatever your age or experience.

She has been writing poetry since she was a teenager but only began to share it publicly in 2017 when she committed to posting a new poem to Instagram every day for one month. Charly writes poetry both for herself and for her work and she explains that the two go hand in hand, as, often, a poem that started out as personal for her ends up being published.

If you’ve been meaning to put pen to paper to see what poetry prose may come out, don’t put it off any longer. Here is Charly’s advice for every aspiring poet – covering where, when and what you should be writing – whether you want to start writing poetry as a hobby or professionally.

Charly says that the perception that only certain people are able to write good poetry is nonsense. “You are a poet if you write poetry. It doesn’t mean you have to have been born with amazing wordsmithery or a dark, dark soul that needs excavating,” she explains.

Poetry is an incredible way to make sense of your feelings, Charly says, explaining that the best stuff always comes from the writer making themselves vulnerable, rather than ticking boxes pertaining to form and structure. “The beauty of poetry is that there isn’t a guidebook to follow.”

She suggests starting with personal experience when it comes to finding subject matter for your poems, “Regardless of talent or skill or any poetry knowledge, that you have a unique perspective on the world already means you have the capacity to write an excellent poem.”

Don’t be afraid to dive into scary thoughts if you feel you are in a place where you can do that, says Charly, and don’t shrug ideas off because you think they’re embarrassing either. “Even if you don’t end up with a poem that you love, you have taught yourself a new tool – how to really understand what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling it,” she says.

“Whenever I have a feeling that feels too much, I will try and explain it in a poem,” offers Charly. “And what’s great about that is that they’re essentially little postcards of the past. You can either choose to revisit it and pin it up on your fridge or you can return to sender and never see it again, but you have to realise your voice is worthy and valuable enough to be unedited and unfiltered.”

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