Maya Angelou: 5 Tips for Poets

Life lessons

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Photo by Jian Xhin on Unsplash

№1

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
― Maya Angelou

It’s a truth that every writer knows all too well. The burden and pain of something inside you wanting to be written, wanting to come out and be born upon the page.

The challenge is growing into the writer that recognizes this pain, and pushing down perfectionism whenever it shows up to try and stop you from sharing your work.

№2

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”
― Maya Angelou

The only true constant in life is the constant of change. Life is in a perpetual state of change. That’s just a given. Survival, then, depends on our ability to adapt and respond to these constant changes.

It is my deep belief that change, adaptation, transformation, they’re all fed and sustained by creativity. We must use our imagination to look ahead at the life we want, to study the life we have and to ask how we might get to where we want to be.

It is also creativity that helps us figure out how to change course, to pivot, and to overcome in the pursuit of that desired destination.

Transformation is within your reach. Whatever else you might be after, don’t forget to study who you’re becoming along the way. That’s the power of positive change and the creativity it takes to get there.

№3

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”
― Maya Angelou

No matter what you want from life, you have to find a way to rise up and meet your challenges, to face your fears, and to persevere. Life ain’t easy, and it won’t go easy on you. It’s just a plain and simple truth.

How do you face whatever fears you have? Identify them, know them, understand them. And no matter what, keep showing up. Keep coming back. Keep pushing forward.

No matter what, don’t let the fear win. Keep showing up, and keep doing the work.

№4

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”
― Maya Angelou

And there it is. A version of success we all should get behind.

Celebrate yourself — who you are as a writer, even when you’re not writing. Take joy in the things you’ve overcome, and celebrate your victories. Remember, if you want to truly be capable of loving others, and you should, then you have to start with yourself.

The same can be said for your writing. If you want people to have confidence in your writing, then you have to have confidence in it first. That stuff shows up on the page, whether you realize it or not.

As long as you’re growing, you have plenty to be confident in. No matter how high the rejection pile gets, and no matter what others are saying or doing (or not doing, often they just flat out ignore you and that hurts maybe worst of all), you keep showing up. You keep doing the work. And the more you do this, the more you grow and build your confidence.

№5

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style”
― Maya Angelou

This is good advice to keep close to your heart. Remember, don’t just survive, thrive. And what’s more, do it with style.

How do you put this in practice? By finding things to be grateful for, seeking to understand others, listening (and I mean really listening), and taking joy in the little moments. Life is whatever you make it, and whatever you choose to see and focus on. Project positive beliefs in the world, see what you find.

This doesn’t mean that everyday is going to be rainbows and butterflies. Some days are going to suck, it’s just a universal truth we all know all too well, right? But on those bad days you can still find something to be grateful for. Find it, give it your attention and above all, keep pushing forward.

Written by

Kentucky poet & scribbler. Inspiring creatives to live a creative lifestyle. Creating with courage, passion, & purpose-fueled growth. Progress over perfection.

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