Friday, January 01, 2016

2016 - The Year of The Poet.

Dear reader:

Honestly this past year seems to have flown by. They do that as we get older.  I remember as a child, as soon as Christmas was over I was thinking futuristically ahead to the following Christmas and it seemed like light-years away. I would consider what it would be like that morning. Would it be a white Christmas?  What presents would I get? What would I even be wishing for a year down the road.

New Year's is often a mixture of emotions and I is hard to quantify if the year ending was all that bad. Do I wish to shake it's dust from my feet or will I shed a tear of sadness for it passing? More often than not it will be some combination of these two.

Perhaps the highest point in 2015 for me was attending AWP 15 in Minneapolis. And yet I wish I could do it over. There were people I missed that I did not realize were there until I was back home. I think I would not have been quite the wall flower I was. It's not that I did not interact with people, but I could have done better. But then no matter what we are doing, isn't it true that we could always do a little better at something?

The big change for me in 2015 over the previous years is that I did not have near the success with publishing work. I would blame it on these three things:

  1. I did not submit nearly as much as in 2014
  2. I raised my bar on who I submitted to. I didn't just want acceptances in easy venues. I told myself to submit to places that I would like to see my work along side the normal material in a give journal. 
  3. I was running out of submittable work. The material I had available to select from was poems that had been around for some time and had failed to be snatched up after numerous submissions. This of course put pressure on me to produce more work, better work, and to do so quickly (not the best way to write) and therefor I put more emphasis on writing and less on the weekly submissions that I was in the habit of doing. 
But the year 2015 had other positive aspects. I felt a little bolder about creativity. I still have not moved the needle quite far enough, but I realize that until I face my fears and get over some hangups I am not going to write that poem that people want to read. I've got to take the risks.

I was discouraged in 2015 that I did not make it into a mentoring program I had applied for though I was told it was a tough choice between myself and another individual. I was also told they would try and match me up again this year. Hope can be a thing to hold on to, but it can lead to more disappointments. No matter what happens this year I have to trudge ahead making my own way.

Some thoughts on 2016:

  • Expect right now it is going to seem like in the end it went fast. Don't waste time.
  • I am experimenting with a bullet journal for planning. Having used a Franklin Planner for years at work the concept is not going to be too difficult to grasp.
  • I want to look for more opportunities to engage with others. Stop trying to write in a vacuum. 
  • I plan to take more walks this year. I hear it's good for creativity.
  • Read more.... I  have a goal of reading 40 books in 2016.
  • I have several projects I am working on but I have in the past week visualized yet another. A themed chapbook that will be in the range of 20 poems and I believe it is an attainable goal to complete this project during 2016 (while continuing to work on others)
  • I've already mentioned reading - I need to write more as well. Daily journaling as well as creative writing (as in poems) Free-writes, poem drafts, and finally nailing down the completed poem. 
  • I plan to get back into the routine habit of submitting work regularly - though still keeping the bar high. 
I won't close this post without acknowledging that I have the greatest family. My wife and four children are very supportive, They may not be big poetry fans but they recognize the importance it plays in my life. 

I'd like to believe that 2016 is the year of the Poet. That said my tag line for the year will be Peace & Poetry!  From my vantage point the world could use both!
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