Oh, the subject. It is the bane of some authors and the art of others. Pinning down the perfect subject for a poem, or any piece of writing, can be a flat out pain. More often than not you’ll find yourself hitting on a subject you absolutely love and then, just as quickly, find yourself with a washed out shell of the subject you once loves. You’ll pick at it, find ways to liven it up, debate and dwell on it until you’re left with something that barely resembles what you started with. Subjects can be tricky things to manage. Poets can get lost when it comes to their subject and putting it perfectly down onto paper or a screen. So how do you avoid the tricky situation of losing your subject because of the surroundings?
The key is to ultimately be focused on nothing more than your subject. Staying true to your subject takes discipline, as does writing in general. It’s temptingly easy to see your subject and let your mind drift off to find 10 other things which may resemble your subject. I’ve done it and so has any professional writer you ask. “My subject was soup…but somehow I’ve managed to find a link between Martha Stewart’s tips for fertilizing your garden with organic compound.” That’s just how the mind works. It shifts and moves and before long your subject has unraveled. That’s where the focus comes in.
Sit down and write out your subject in a clear sentence or a few words. Write it on everything if you need to. Your poem should make the subject clear or, if you’re writing free verse, should somehow relate to what you had in mind. The easiest way to remain subject-bound is to keep it close at hand. Keep looking back at your notes, your sticky sheet, or whatever it is you wrote the subject down on in the first place.
It’s extremely to get lost in writing if you’re a beginner. But it’s easier to get back on the right path if you have some breadcrumbs to look back on.