When it comes to writing poetry, some prefer writing haikus, others go more for villanelles. But whether you choose to write a limerick or a villanelle, there’s more than one approach to writing poetry – and not all of them will suit you.

Here are some of the most common mistakes that beginner poets make and what you can do to prevent them.

Do Not Be Foolish

One of the most common mistakes that beginners make is to be too clever, or maybe even smart, with their use of language. One of the best things that can happen to your poetry is for it to come off as simple and direct – like a bolt from the blue. If you overthink and overuse words, you will lose the magic of being able to write poetry and will probably end up just copying other people’s poems instead. Do not be clever. Just write what comes naturally to you and do not worry about the results too much.

To start with, you should familiarize yourself with the form. Learn to write limericks or villanelles and try out different structures and melodies as you go along. When you get the hang of it, it will all come together easily – like riding a bike. You might even decide to write a villanelle on a specific theme or subject matter and see how it sounds. Limericks are also a great option as they are more versatile in the way they can be used compared to villanelles. Many famous poets and writers used limericks for their first and second drafts – making it an ideal choice for you to experiment with.

Make It Sing

Another mistake that beginners make is trying to make their poems sound like songs. When you want to write a poem, you should try and make it a song in your head first – not a literal translation of what you hear. To make a poet sound like a song, the best thing you can do is simply listen to music as you write. This will help you gain a different perspective on the world around you and the people in it – making your poem sound like a breath of fresh air.

No Frills

Many famous poets and writers mastered the art of writing poetry and used it to the hilt to achieve fame and fortune. But they did not skimp out on essentials – like paper and an actual pen. When you write a poem, you need to learn to write it on good quality paper and have a nice pen to use – nothing fancy will do. You also need to have a notebook to write in so that you can come back to it at a later date. If you do not have a notebook, you can always make one. If you are fanatical about using only one pen, you can get a retractable ballpoint whose nib is perfect for mixing business with pleasure.

Follow The Rules

Following all the rules in the book will not make you a good poet. It will simply make you a copycat. The most important thing is to have faith in your own talent and be yourself. But you should also try and observe the classic forms of poetry as much as possible. As you get better, you will learn to love breaking the rules – but until then, follow them.

Tone Deficit

A last but not least important mistake that beginners make is to have a deficiency in their use of language. Many writers and poets can have an abundance of words but if their use of language is crude and unsophisticated, it will undermine their entire work. You should take it upon yourself to learn how to use words more effectively – that is, how to make your vocabulary count. When you read other people’s poems or works of literature, you should constantly be on the lookout for words that you have never encountered before but which somehow manage to make perfect sense. You might decide to take a weekly vocabulary building course or do a bit of research into obscure words and their origins – bringing them into your everyday use. Learning to use the right word at the right time and in the right way can sometimes be the key to writing poetry that will become classic pieces.

As you can see, there are many pitfalls that you could fall into if you want to write poetry but do not know how to go about it. Making the right choice at the right time is crucial as every decision you make will either make you or break you as a poet. You will either become an excellent poet or a hack who writes awful limericks. So choose carefully.