August 15, 2016 – Car Window Poetry didn’t have national news features or people around the world being impacted by over 12,000 encouraging poems.
I had an idea. That’s it.
No sense of what it would become. Just a desire to make the world better.
“I feel like I need to start something.”
That’s what I texted my girlfriend as I proceeded to grab my journal. As I jotted down notes, I began seeing the pieces of what would soon become Car Window Poetry.
The Process: 002
At the time I got the idea for Car Window Poetry, I was also reading “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield.
In this book, Pressfield shares how one of the activities that most commonly elicits Resistance is the “undertaking of any enterprise or endeavor whose aim is to help others.”
Knowing I wanted Car Window Poetry to make a difference in people’s lives, I also knew Resistance would be looking to block my path.
Therefore, I didn’t wait. The same night I got the idea for Car Window Poetry, I created the logo, designed and purchased the first set of poetry cards, bought the website, and set up our social media accounts.
At that point, there was no turning back.
Words had to be shared.
The Process: 003
August 20, 2016 – As soon as the first set of Car Window Poetry cards arrived in the mail, I drove out to Garden of the Gods with my Moment lens and began taking photos of the cards.
Once I got home, I uploaded the photos to Car Window Poetry’s website, put the finishing touches on a blog post, and announced the project via social media.
“I don’t know what’s going to come of this project, but my hope is that, in each person who receives a Car Window Poetry poem, it awakens a smile previously suppressed, creativity previously ignored, and wonder previously forgotten.”
The Process: 004
September 2016 – After our first event, A Night to Write, folks began asking, “What’s next?”
Not necessarily knowing what was next, I just said I wanted to get Car Window Poetry into classrooms.
Doing the only thing I knew to do, I began scouring the Internet that weekend for teachers’ email addresses, sharing with them what I was up to, and asking if I could lead poetry workshops with their students.
Quick note: I had never led a poetry workshop before. I didn’t even know if I was a poet yet.
But although a lot of teachers didn’t respond, there was one who responded almost immediately and invited me to share Car Window Poetry with her 3rd graders the following week.
That still goes down as one of the best days of my life. I left the classroom that day with a box full of poems, learned so much, and it’s that workshop that gave way to Car Window Poetry being shared with millions on national TV.
The Process: 005
In preparation for our first national news spotlight, I had a desire to make Car Window Poetry more accessible to those who might want to get involved so I created kits.
As of October 2016, Car Window Poetry relied mostly on poem submissions. It was rather difficult to get access to the cards. The kits served as the first step towards us providing our poetry cards downloadable for free.
Included in these kits were Car Window Poetry cards, pens, and stickers designed by our friend Tiana Pluck from Olive + Mint Lettering.
Here’s a look at Tiana’s first sticker design sketches. The product is currently available in our online store.
The Process: 006
October 31, 2016 – A crew from NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt came to Colorado Springs and interviewed me for a story about Car Window Poetry.
We were only two months in at the time, but my friend Matt Lee, who worked for NBC, saw something in Car Window Poetry and wanted to pitch a story about the project to his bosses.
When NBC aired the story a few days after last year’s presidential election, Car Window Poetry went from being a local art project to a national (and eventually, global) poetry movement of people like you sharing encouraging poems on car windows.
Although we’ve grown, our heart beats the same: people are hurting, and words matter. The best is yet to come.