Blog, Tutorial

How I Write a Poem – A Step-by-Step Tutorial

Before I start this post, let me tell you a bit about myself. I am Deepti, a writer since the age of 5. That is when I wrote my first poem. Since then, I completed my Ph.D. in English, taught English, worked as a copywriter, started a website, shut it down, worked as a freelancer, started another website and opened an Etsy shop, not particularly in that order. During this time, I kept writing short stories and poems, and got them published in online magazines, literary journals, websites, and several other platforms (yes, I love the Oxford comma).

A few years ago, I started writing poems for special occasions like milestone birthdays, anniversaries and more, and making posters out of them. Everyone I gave them to, loved the gift as it was unique, as gifting words hasn’t really picked up as a trend for some reason. When the pandemic started, I realized that it became even more important to change that, because when we don’t get to see each other, when we are living life between lockdowns, the soothing effect of words begins to seem more comforting than any thing we may buy or get. If you think that words matter, and that now is the time to declare our feelings for each other, visit my Etsy shop.

Now, even though I have been writing across forms and styles, writing poems continues to be my favourite. I like writing free verse better as I find that I have more freedom that way, but rhyme is equally my cup of (Poe)t(r)ea! Did you see what I did there? With my cup of poetry? Okay, I agree it wasn’t as funny as it seemed when I came up with it. So, moving on. Here’s how I write a poem.

The Process

Step 1 – Choose a topic

These days, I have been seeing a lot of people without a home. I see them on the streets, in the lobby of office buildings, and any place they can find to protect themselves from the harshness of the cold weather here. That has made me feel even more grateful that I have a roof over my head, a place to keep me warm and safe from the sometimes cruel weather. So, I decided I want to express this gratitude by writing a poem about my home.

So, I choose home as the topic of my poem.

Step 2 – Let the topic brew in your mind

Now, after I have the topic ready, I need to choose the direction in which I can take my poem. My idea is to express my gratitude for my home. So, I think about all the things I’m grateful for, related to my home. I let the topic brew in my head for a few days, even making up lines as I go. If I am using rhyme, I usually consult a thesaurus to have access to synonyms that either sound better or rhyme with the words I have in mind.

So, coming back to my topic. The things I am thankful for are:

  1. My house is my home.
  2. It is my safe haven.
  3. It brings me warmth.
  4. It brings me light from the moon.
  5. I make memories here with people I love.
  6. It is the vessel where I receive everything my universe has to offer.

Step 3 – Start forming lines in your mind

Now that I know what ideas I want to include, I can start writing my poem. As I said, I have a thesaurus close by, to make sure I can find rhyming words easily. I write the poem in my mind first, and sit down to write when I have at least five lines ready.

Step 4 – Read aloud and revise

After writing down my first draft, I read it aloud to check flow, to see how the poem sounds (that is the most important thing to me while writing, and especially while writing poetry). While writing the first draft, I decided I want to write it as a prayer that can be given as a housewarming present. You can find the final version on my Etsy shop.

Home Sweet Home

May your house become your home

And safe haven, too.

May it bring to you warmth from the sun

And soft glow from the moon.


May you find true happiness here,

With love, laughter and cheer.

May you make happy memories, too,

With those you hold dear.


May your house bring you all these joys

And perhaps a million more.

May it bring you all the good fortune

The universe has in store.

So, if you’re new to writing poetry and you write something following these steps, please share your work with me by email. If you have your own process, and would like to share it with others, please write your comment below, or get in touch through my contact page.

I also offer one-on-one writing workshops, as well as editing services. Contact me for details.

©️Pebble in the Ocean 2021

4 thoughts on “How I Write a Poem – A Step-by-Step Tutorial”

  1. Letting the topic brew in my mind is such a good tip. I myself don’t write poetry, but I like letting scenes formulate in my head as I live life. The catch for me though, is that I need to write them out and experiment before the actual scenes can progress.

    Great tips here, not just for poetry, but for writing in general. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. I’m glad you found them helpful. I do use this point for short stories and even essays, at times. I am planning to write a novel, too, and I have written two chapters in my head, but I’m too scared to put them on paper (laptop screen, to be precise).

      Like

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