I made two promises to myself this year after taking the vast majority of last year “off” from creative pursuits due to a host of reasons, including poor health and feeling totally burnt-out and lost.
The first is to finish at least one poem (all edits done, not just a complete draft) every month. So far I have not done this. But I didn’t decide on this goal until halfway through January and I did do work, but much of it was to gear myself and my life up again to being more conducive to having the time and mindspace to write. I know this doesn’t sound like an impressive goal compared to so many poets out there, but its purpose is to create consistency in my creative life. I would like to finish 30-40 things this year, but realistically I am aiming for just one a month.
The second promise was to stop shelling out money to contests and start answering open submissions instead. (There are a small handful of contests I do still enter, but we’ll save that for another post.)
First problem? Finding the open calls in the first place. I realized that I knew a handful of very noteworthy journals, but hardly knew any of the smaller or less loudly-advertised journals that are just as respected. So I started reading the tiny bios in poetry books and journals I own. I jotted down the name of every journal listed next to a poet’s name and started researching. I’m still researching. But this is good! My list is at 134 journals and growing. I think my mind is just a little bit boggled at the sheer number I never knew were out there.
I have found some amazing publications. Some are on my list to submit to, some have inspired me to create new work that may be a fit, and some are just dang good reading even though I have no plans to send my own work.
I had no idea the world of poetry is so big.
Current culture does a really good job of hiding it behind Hollywood and sexy bestsellers and dystopian/paranormal YA novels. Not that I have a particular issue with any of those things, but it can be difficult to find the authors and publications overrun by them unless you are already “in the know”.
I feel like after several years of half-hearted trying, I may actually be applying what I’ve learned into a real and reasonable game plan at last. And that feels amazing.
Time to bookmark this rabbit hole for later explorations and head back to the rabbit hole that is my writing mind.
What is your weekend bringing you?