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Be prepared to sweat.

Success or even just being good at something does not come without work. In the case of poetry, you must have a lifelong mission to learn and improve and practice and revise and revise and revise and revise again. With practice, you might find that you can toss off a limerick off the cuff. With a lot of practice, the limerick will be a “perfect” one with proper rhythm and rhyme. Almost anyone can write a sonnet if they try. With practice and study, you might be able to write a good sonnet. With a lot of work, you might achieve a great sonnet over time. To quote from a Lou and Peter Berryman song out of context:

“Hard work and perseverance,
Grim determination of the soul.
I’d say from your appearance
You could use a little self-control!”

Okay, so their full lyrics actually were ascribing success to luck, but Peter works hard at his poetry, and he has done so for years. It can be very fun work, but the finest, most fulfilling, and fun-filled work is often difficult. If you love the exploration and the practice, it won’t seem like work.

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