Saturday, January 1, 2011

My Writing Resolutions

This year instead of creating a list of new resolutions for 2011, I've decided to revisit last year's list and see how I've done. What kind of progress have I made? Or failed to make? So here's last year's list with new thoughts added in italics.

1. Write on a more regular basis. Aim for three morning sessions per week. Show up at the kitchen table. Do chores later. Or not at all.

I've done very well in regards to ignoring chores. Not so hot on the regular writing. Definitely have fallen far short of the three mornings per week. I think I'll aim for a more realistic two sessions per week in 2011.

2. Remember that bad writing is better than no writing. It doesn’t all have to be your best work. It can’t be.

I've done both bad writing and no writing. I've got some new poems that I like, but am not satisfied with my productivity. Must do better in 2011.

3. Remember that the bad writing is clearing a space for the good writing that will soon follow. Believe that.

Oh, I do remember and I do believe. I really do. I have cleared a space. Must fill it.

4. Try more forms. Maybe a rondeau.

I've written one new sestina and one sonnenizio. No rondeau. Someone has challenged me to do a canzone. I will take up that challenge! Someone else has challenged me to do a double canzone. I think she's pushing things.

5. Buy as many collections by other poets as you can afford. Simply congratulating someone on his or her new book is not enough. Spread the word.

I pat myself on the back for outstanding achievement of #5. I have bought a boatload of poetry books—as you would know if you could see my kitchen table. I use my blog and my newsletter to spread the word. I am good.

6. Write at least two reviews this year. Minimum.

Done it! Yay for #6! And me!

7. Send out queries to community colleges requesting a reading and / or workshop.

Back to reality here. I tried a bunch. Most didn't even respond. I became discouraged and abandoned the effort. But if you'd like to have me at your school, just give a shout. Still happy to go. Have poems; will travel.

8. Be bolder about asking for an honorarium. What you do is worth something. If the answer is No, go anyhow as long as it doesn’t kill your budget.

Does this count: I gave up a booking when the host lost his funding (due to some violation of rules on his part) and then withdrew the agreed-upon honorarium. A two-hour drive each way. So I said sorry, no can do. I've still done a number of freebies.

9. Remember that reading for free is better than not reading at all. Hope to gain new readers at the non-paying venues. Hope to have a good time. Support series that are just getting off the ground.

I remember. I sure do. Most of the readings have been fun. When they go well, I love doing them.

10. Be on the lookout for new subject matter.

I am good for #10. Ears always perked up, eyes open.

11. If you get a good line or phrase while watching TV or nodding off in your chair, write it down. Don’t count on your memory. That good idea will be gone by morning.

I now keep a little notebook on the shelf next to my comfortable chair. I've added a bunch of ideas to it as well as to my kitchen table little notebook. Now must use them in regards to #1 above.

12. If your husband keeps interrupting while you are revising, politely ask him to stop.

Should I just give up on this one? He continues to interrupt. I ask him politely (usually) to stop. He stops. Then a few weeks later, he starts all over again. Bummer. 90% of these interruptions are to read me something from the newspaper. Each interruption is preceded by a little Hm noise of astonishment which thus constitutes a double interruption.

13. Work hard for your new book. But put the emphasis on fun. Enjoy it.

I give myself an A here. I have worked hard for the new book and have definitely enjoyed it so far. I am immensely grateful for all the support and interest, a good deal of it from friends I've acquired through this blog. Thank you! And Happy New Year and much writing success to all.


  1. Wishing you a wonderful year of wonderful writing.

    I have enjoyed your blog a lot and look forward to continued good reading.

  2. Laughing at #12. Sorry. You two will work that one out. Or not.

    Thanks for buying, reading, reviewing poetry books! I am doing that, too, as much as I possibly can, and in various ways. Yay poetry!

    Yay for you on free readings and paid readings. Perfectly right for you to back out if a promised payment was not forthcoming. Poets & Writers has a wonderful grant program for paying readers/workshop leaders, and it seems like any responsible organization could apply for that to pay you to visit and read!

  3. I wrote a comment, but then it disappeared!

    I'll write the shorter version which was to say: may you have a wonderful 2011 and thanks for all you do for the writing community (I've been enjoying your newsletter, and been inspired by your experiments with video).

    My spouse, too, can interrupt. I get up early so as to make sure I get everything done. And I remind myself that I'm likely to outlive him, and at some point, I'll miss those interruptions! It helps recalibrate my attitude--but perhaps a grim thing to say on New Year's Day.

    So, back to being festive--may all your dreams come true and may the universe send you unanticipated happiness too!

  4. Thanks! You are three of my favorite bloggers and readers. All good things for you in the New Year.


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