Another Big Month

Last month was mostly about editing, and about entering two chapbook contests. Honestly, I didn’t write any new poems other than the ones I posted here and linked to for Open Link Night at dVerse. (And thank goodness for that weekly project — it really helps keep me from entirely checking out of the writing process during relatively fallow periods … or times when editing and submitting have moved to the center of the plate.)

When I made that deal with myself — that I didn’t have to push too hard and write a lot of poems in June — it was with the understanding that I would “really turn it on” again in July. This, I remembered on the night of June 30 — and immediately had a brief, silent freakout over it.

But guess what? I’m happily back to work, writing three poems a day. Not all of those have given me the feeling that is always my signal that things have clicked and that a poem bears follow-up attention, but some of them have. I have played around with different daily assignments for myself in the past during heavy writing phases, and I think it takes three poems a day to ensure that I get one really good one.

It is always so reassuring when I come back from almost a full stop and find that I do, indeed, feel like I still know how to do this. Isn’t this any artist’s greatest fear — that you’ll stop and never be able to get started again?

What about you? Does your process have wildly different phases like mine does (now, I’m editing — boom, a wall comes down — now I’m writing), or do you steadily produce new work no matter what else you’re doing? 

And what’s your greatest writing fear? Have you found ways to challenge it, or does it still keep you up at night? 

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3 thoughts on “Another Big Month

  1. Have you heard of the “imposter syndrome”? I totally feel that because I don’t write every day and I keep reading how other poets/writers write EVERY DAY. I see people online publishing poems on their blogs every day and I am just amazed and confused. I just can’t do that. I often have days, weeks that I can not write a single word then, all of a sudden, the inspiration comes and I write maybe one poem. Maybe two. Maybe two or three days in a row, if I’m lucky. But, know what? I don’t worry about it too much. I just tell myself I don’t have to keep up with anyone else or anyone else’s idea of what a writer should do. And sometimes I believe myself. 🙂

    • Yes, I’ve heard of the imposter syndrome! Apparently, it plagues women more often than men. In college, I once read a book about it because it called out to me from the stacks. I’m sure I was doing research that I felt was way beyond me, and I was sure to be found out.

      I’m glad you don’t worry too much about your process! Mine has changed a lot over the years, and I’ve been through just about every pattern. The best one is whichever one feels most satisfying and workable for you. Also, in my current pattern, I will have a month or two on, and then a month or two where I’m digging through past work and deciding what to submit. I am writing every day right now, but it’s not every day, all year long.

      You know what I’m going through as I enter midlife? “Well, I guess now I’ll never be one of the greats. X writer who is somewhat in my circle has already had Y accomplishments. There’s only so high I can rise, because of Z impediments, failings, and past deviations from the path.” This is toxic, and it doesn’t really go away with more publishing credits. What helps me is to actually talk to other poets — something I lack in real life, but have really enjoyed through this medium.

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