There is no set formula for writing love poetry, but below, you can find a few tips to help you through the process. You might consider freewriting, setting the poem aside, sharing it with a loved one, and more.
6 Steps to Write a Love Poem
Find Your Muse and Your Moment
The best time to write poetry is sometimes the worst time to write poetry. You may find yourself inspired and ready to whip out your notebook at random times.
Often, poetry ideas present themselves at their best when you are feeling inspired. Sometimes that is when intense emotions are triggered, and sometimes that is by smell or even by a sunny morning that takes you back to a time when you felt intense romantic feelings.
Freewriting is simply a process of writing whatever comes into your head. Sometimes you can set a timer. Sometimes you can just run with it.
There are two sides to writers–the artist and the scientist. The artist is the person that creates something from nothing. For them to succeed, they need to distance themselves from worries over irrelevancies like rhyme or meter.
Then there is the scientist. The scientist is the person that meticulously edits and takes the mess the artist has constructed and makes it readable.
You do not want to be in scientist mode, to begin with. Clear out any doubts and just write. Virginia Woolf once talked about diamonds in the dust pile, and that is what you are looking for at this point.
Find What You Want to Keep
Once you have completed freewriting, you have the basis of a poem. Delete anything you think isn’t going to work. This is a good point to sift out any clichés and get rid of anything too sentimental.
Once you have gone through this process, take a look at the length of the poem. Has it got any kind of form? Do you make certain points that can be grouped together? For instance, you might have said several things about your lover’s eyes or their smile. Rewrite it and group these things together. This could be the start of some kind of form for your poem.
Analyze What You Have – Imagine What it Could Become
Not all poems have to have a formal structure. However, when dealing with poems about love, it is often nice to use the sonnet form as this is a form associated with romantic feelings. So if you are around the 14 line mark, you might be able to arrange the lines to start to form a sonnet. It is at this point you might start considering end rhymes too.
Choose a Rhyme
What rhyme can do is evoke the idea of beauty which is closely associated with love and romance. So use this if you can. A perfect rhyme can be great, but if you use too many, it can sometimes give a nursery rhyme-like quality to a poem.
What is even better is the use of slant rhymes. A slant rhyme (or half-rhyme) is a word that sounds very similar but isn’t quite a rhyme – for example, “water” and “laughter” do not rhyme, but they have a similar sound, so using them at the end of lines draws the lines together and gives it a pleasant sound without it sounding too childish.
Learning to use slant rhymes is a top tip for anybody considering writing poetry.
Dot the I’s and Cross the T’s
Once you have your poem and you are happy with it, it’s helpful to take a break before you go back to it. When you do go back to the poem, consider the following questions:
There is a famous quote about writing poetry, and that is “a poem is never finished just abandoned.” This part takes time. It is an essential part of the process, and it might not be as romantic as the initial writing. It may appear more methodical, but it is where you will really elevate your love poetry.
There are many different ways to start a love poem. Some of the best are to pen the first thoughts that come to mind when you think about the person you love. Listing these may get the poem off to a good start. You might also begin by describing when you first met.
Readers are going to disagree on which love poem is the most beautiful ever written. Some of the top contenders include ‘When You Are Old‘ by William Butler Yeats, ‘How Do I Love Thee?‘ by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and ‘A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning‘ by John Donne.