Monday, June 4, 2012

Birthday: Writing Recap

Sunrise over the lake in Madison, Wisconsin (winter, 2011)

I like an excuse for a fresh start. (Here’s a related writing prompt.)  I similarly find self-evaluations useful. Do you?

Since Wednesday is my 36th birthday, this week is time to take stock of the past writing year. Wait, how am I turning 36? Forget it. Let’s try to ignore that and focus on writing:

Drum roll, please! My poetry chapbook, Unrest, was accepted to be published by Finishing Line Press (more details to come when I have them). Some of the poems are older; there are even a few from my creative thesis at Sarah Lawrence College. The manuscript’s theme is health and illness.

January 2011, I decided to start a new poetry manuscript. While some older poems snuck into the collection, I succeeded in molding a new collection entitled Elsewhere. I’ve started to submit it to first book publishing contests and book publishers’ open  reading periods. Of course, I’m sure I won’t stop tweaking the poems and the order of poems.

The potential good news is that I’ve received some nibbles on my book-in-progress about how to be an online student from academic publishers. Hopefully, there will be more to come about that in the
near future.

Being a writer takes a strong stomach, even when the year has been peppered with good news. I submit individual poems and manuscripts regularly, which means that I receive rejections regularly. Just the other day, while D.C. was under a tornado watch, the mail was delivered (really?), and I received two rejections from literary journals and one acceptance. Even though I’ve been seriously submitting poetry since I started graduate school in 2003, it is hard to get used to the regular rejections.

Here’s to a good year of taking the necessary time to write. That is to say, quiet time to think, time to draft and revise, time to read, time to submit, and time to do other things that feed my writing. And of course, time to celebrate the good news (and forget the bad news.) 

When do you step back and evaluate your writing progress? 

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