Tag Archives: Billy Collins

Can Billy Collin’s poem, “Advice to Writers,” build better bloggers?


I’m an uber-fan of Billy Collins poetry. While reading this poem for the umpteenth time, I couldn’t help but apply it to us bloggers.

Advice to Writers by Billy Collins

Even if it keeps you up all night,
wash down the walls and scrub the floor
of your study before composing a syllable.

Clean the place as if the Pope were on his way.
Spotlessness is the niece of inspiration.

The more you clean, the more brilliant
your writing will be, so do not hesitate to take
to the open fields to scour the undersides
of rocks or swab in the dark forest
upper branches, nests full of eggs.

When you find your way back home
and stow the sponges and brushes under the sink,
you will behold in the light of dawn
the immaculate altar of your desk,
a clean surface in the middle of a clean world.

From a small vase, sparkling blue, lift
a yellow pencil, the sharpest of the bouquet,
and cover pages with tiny sentences
like long rows of devoted ants
that followed you in from the woods.

Every blog post starts as an idea, a creation keeping us up at night. Do we wash down the walls and scrub our literary floor before we turn in our cleanest prose or post?

We want brilliant writing, and to get it we need to scour the underside’s of rocks.

Applying the poem  to the late night or all night writer,  as well as the light of dawn blogger, either way we come to the immaculate desk ready to start fresh on our newest post.

Whenever we blog–night, day or dawn–we should write sharp, succinct prose, while covering our pages with tiny sentences that have followed us through the night, like devoted ants.

The line that grabs me, shakes me and pushes me to examine blogging is, “Spotlessness is the niece of inspiration.”

A blogger with clean, spotless writing will continue to inspire and be inspired.

For more remarkable poetry check out Billy Collins book, Sailing Alone Around the Room.

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Filed under poetry, reading, writing