For me, it's really quite simple: open my heart and let the words/feelings/beliefs pour out. Although, to be totally honest (which I strive to be), there is a certain level the feelings need to be at before they will pour out in a coherent, someone may want to read this way.
Once in a while I plug away at a couple pieces of fiction I'm working on. And I kinda like what I've written. The problem is I get bored easily; thus, the "couple pieces" of fiction. If I keep working at my current pace, I'll be ready to look for a publisher in, oh, 10 years or so.
I don't get the same heart feelings writing fiction. When I start writing a poem, my heart gives a sigh, knowing something is being released. Whatever emotion it is (I'm trying very hard not to say good or bad emotion 'cause I've been taught that emotions just are.). It took a while for me to accept that not all poems have happy endings; but, they don't. If I try to force a happy ending, the poem objects quite vehemently.
So, I'm a poet. I figure this is one of the gifts God has given me. I totally get there's no money, little fame and maybe a self-published book in my future in regards to my poetry. But, it's ok. A corner of my brain keeps reminding me that some poets are like some painters - fame comes after they're gone.
C.A. Van Til
A poet heart smiles and answers in rhyme
Juxtapositioning moments in time
Creating new meaning with a twist of a word
Knowing that someday the voice will be heard.