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?