DPVP does NaPoWriMo – Tips

In our preparation for National Poetry Writing Months, where we’re encouraging everyone to write poetry (and share it with us, if you’re feeling brave enough!), here’s author, editor, bloggist, artist and team Web Elf, Nimue Brown, with some top tips!


Never written a poem but want to have a go? Here are some pointers that will help you avoid the mistakes new poets often make and jump straight in with something strong and engaging.

  • Read some poems. Particularly, read some poems by professional poets. Don’t worry about analysing them, just let them happen to you. Poets who read poetry are greatly advantaged in their own writing. Or, get on youtube and listen.
  • Go with that first rush of emotion and inspiration. Then leave what you’ve written alone for a bit and come back. Don’t treat those words as sacred. Take what works, ditch what doesn’t. You need inspiration and crafting to make a good poem.
  • Try reading it out loud if you can – that often reveals places where the words don’t flow well.
  • You do not have to rhyme. In fact, too much rhyming can sound naive or forced. Don’t sacrifice meaning for the sake of rhyming. If you have to stretch a line to hit the rhyme at the end, ditch it. Those never sound good.
  • Think about who you are writing for. There is nothing wrong with writing poetry as catharsis, but ask who is going to want to read it? Do the catharsis first, then come back on your second draft and think about who the poem is for, and what they will get out of it. If you are just wallowing in misery – as too many amateur poets do – it gets dull really fast for the reader. If what you’ve written is so full of personal references that no one else could hope to understand it, then it won’t work for a reader. The aim is not to write a cryptic puzzle for other people to try and figure out. The aim is to communicate something. Don’t baffle your readers, enlighten them.
  • A poem is not a collection of metaphors thrown at an idea to see what sticks. If you like metaphors, don’t throw them at each other randomly. Also, watch out for mixed metaphors that make no sense. Go and listen to this song, and then do some other thing. https://youtu.be/8vVuVn1Yb8A (unless, like Mitch Benn, you’re doing it for laughs, that’s always fine.)
  • Simple is often best. Use the language you speak in. Don’t shoehorn in Shakespearean thees and thous and cants and hasts – if that’s not how you talk it will, I promise you, sound weird. Don’t use words whose meaning you are unsure of – I’ve seen people do it and you can undermine what you meant to say so very easily. The language you use is good enough. Go listen to some Kate Tempest for a fine example of someone using her own voice. https://youtu.be/z4qGLDkK9TA
  • Be you. Be real. Be authentic. Be bold. Be brave. Say what matters. Say something you’ve never heard anyone else say but that needs to be out there. Say what you love. Say what you’re angry about. Say what needs to change. Write poetry to change the world.

Batty Nan – Here for you…

We have an entirely fictional character known as Batty Nan who acts as a figurehead for the team and appears on this website in the shape and form of an agony aunt with some knowledge and experience of Paganism and witchcraft. Questions sent to Batty Nan will be answered by the whole Disabilities Team, usually by who we feel has the most expertise in the area covered by the question.

This enables our community to get the best possible advice but please be aware that we are all volunteers with different backgrounds and none of us are doctors or health care professionals so always consult your doctor or other health professional before changing your lifestyle, health regime or medication.

To ask our Agony Aunt team a question, get advice, or to submit a spoof scenario for Batty Nan, go to our Contacts page and use the Disabled Pagans Voices Project contact form, with “Batty Nan” at the head of your message.

By doing so you are agreeing that your question and our response may appear on this website in an anonymised form.

If you are looking for a more private response then use the Contact the Disabilities Team form on the same page.

DPVP does NaPoWriMo

Do you love a good acronym?
For anyone who doesn’t know; DPVP is the Disabled Pagans Voices Project. This project, hosted by the Pagan Federation Disabilities Team, gives a space for disabled Pagans (and their carers and families) to raise their voices. We invite submissions in the way of blogs, essays, short stories, art, music, poetry and more. We welcome any creative offering that you would like to share.

Here’s Debi Gregory talking about the DPVP, two years ago at the Online Lughnasadh Festival about ways in which Disabled Voices could be heard.

One of my first interactions with the Pagan Federation Disabilities Team was to submit a poem to the DPVP.


So what about the NaPoWriMo?
It is National Poetry Writing Month, an annual poetry project where poets (and the poetically curious) are encouraged to write a poem, every day for the month of April. The project was the brain child of poet Maureen Thorson who was inspired by National Novel Writing Month. Maureen started back publishing on her own blog in 2003 and as the project grew she started an independent website where people could link their own poetry.
NaPoWriMo is an amazing way to get people committing to writing poetry. Each day there is an optional prompt that you can work with. Everything from trying out different poetic forms like a Tanka (the Haiku’s older, longer, Granddaddy) or writing a New York Style poem (which is a veritable recipe and makes for really bizarre but enjoyable poem). It’s fun, its challenging and an excellent way to flex your creative muscle.


Like any challenge it is meant to be fun, if you can’t commit to a month, do what you can. If you have never written a poem, feel free to find your muse and have a try. I’ve been participating in NaPoWriMo since 2014. What makes it special for me is having a community to share with. So this year I thought it might be nice to get DPVP poets and aspiring poets to participate in writing along with NaPoWriMo.

If you feel inspired to join in, send your poems or your blog links and we will publish them on the DPVP blog.

To get involved with the DPVP’s NaPoWriMo, email dpvp@paganfederation.co.uk and use NaPoWriMo in the title!


National Deputy Disabilities Manager
District Disabilities Liaison – South East