Tag Archive | writing poetry

Life Update the 2nd

I just realized I haven’t done a life update since March, and now it’s nearly August. This year is beating me up.

  • Hubby and I bought a new lawn mower, because the one we got when we initially bought the house has needed major repair every year. It was time to bite the bullet and we could handle a small loan for a new one, so we took on the expense.
  • With the new mower came the need for a new shed, having torn down last year the very old, very large mess of a shed originally on our property. We opted for one with just a little bit extra room for other tools, and took on that expense too.
  • In May I was driving to work when suddenly my car start shuddering horribly and would barely accelerate. I called my boss, told him I was driving straight to the mechanic while my car was still sort of working, flipped on my hazards, and hoped I’d make it the 3ish miles to the mechanic. About 2 miles in, a lovely police officer pulled me over. The first time I’ve EVER been pulled over. Did he pull me over to check on me since my car was shaking like crazy, I couldn’t get up to speed, and was obviously distressed? Nope. Pulled me over to tell me it was illegal to drive with my hazards. Even after telling him the trouble I was having he just told me not to do it again and didn’t offer to follow me the last mile to the mechanic’s or anything. Our police department here is pretty awesome, so I’m just hoping this guy was having a bad day. At least I didn’t get a ticket.
  • Back to the car… once I made it to the mechanic’s it didn’t turn back on again. One of the caps somehow came off while I was driving and flooded oil through much of the engine. It would have been thousands to fix it.
  • Much as I absolutely hated giving up my car (the only one I’ve ever had, it was only a 2002 and under 130,000 miles), it was time to buy a new car. I am fond of my new car, but still missing the old one. And certainly missing the days when I didn’t have a car payment.
  • Not long after this, my health finally gave out on me. (I know I’ve said it before, but autoimmune diseases suck, ya’ll.) I’d been having more trouble since last fall, but figured it was just a flare I couldn’t kick. I’ve spent most of this month only working half days because that’s all I could manage. Went to see my doctor and she took one look at me before asking what on earth had happened, she’d never seen me this bad. The first round of new meds didn’t work. The second round of new meds seem to be helping at least some, for which I’m grateful. But new meds and several appointments are an expense I was not prepared for, especially after taking on so many new expenses already!

Guys… I’m wiped out. I apologize for not blogging, but if I’ve learned anything from hosting three different personal blogs (trial and error) it’s that sticking to a schedule when I don’t feel up to it just makes me worse.

I’m wiped out, but my brain has taken a lot of time to reset (when it can think straight anyway). I’ve done a lot of thinking about the type of poet I want to be while I’ve been doing a lot of reading other poets. I’ve also done a lot of reflection on how my views of myself as a poet have evolved over the last few years. (And I’m sure will always evolve.)

I don’t have the words to spell it out yet, so I’ll just keep writing poems and see how it goes.

Maybe I’ll have something interesting and coherent for all of you soon. Assuming I can stay awake for more than the bare necessities and use brain power for creativity any time soon!

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Accepted!!

How I feel right now:
Now where’s my ocean and pretty sunset?

While also being the name of one of my favorite comedy films, today I can announce that after three years of submitting my work I have been accepted in a journal! I want to say a MASSIVE thank you to Chantwood Magazine for accepting my poem “To Inari” for their 12th issue, just published today. You can go here to find this issue (and past issues) on their website.

I received the acceptance offer from the magazine just before the year rolled over to 2018. That was an awesome way to tie up an otherwise rather stressful year.

It also feels really special for this to be the poem accepted out of everything I sent out last year. It’s one of the ones dearest to my heart and has a whole lot of me mixed into the batter. In fact it’s the first poem I wrote when I sat down to begin the collection I have in mind. It’s a poem in which I definitely tried to sound like no one else but myself. So it feels really, really good to see someone else believe in it too.

I first started submitting my work toward the end of college (2009-10), but it was rather sparsely done and kind of half-heartedly. I still had my mind on being a great fantasy novelist so poetry was just a side thing I did only when the urge really gripped me. I tried submitting again in 2012-13, but again only a few things here and there. I still wasn’t very focused on writing poetry just yet.

I didn’t really start submitting my work until 2015, and only got truly serious about it in 2017, when I finally gave in with my whole brain and said to myself, “Okay, you’re a poet, let’s do this.”

My only real goal for 2018 is to write more, submit more, and dedicate myself to poetry more; that includes my own, reading the work of others, and trying to be a bit more a part of the ‘community’, either online or otherwise. I’m not entirely sure where poetry is taking me, that’s what this blog is around to document, but I think I’ve committed myself to the ride.

I’m starting 2018 with a publication. I’m thrilled and ever so grateful. My hopeful goal is to see at least one more publication credit happen this year, but that is out of my hands, so instead I’m going to do my best to write, write some more, and submit, submit, submit…

*Photo by user jill111 at Pixabay, creative commons usage

2017 in Review

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! 

Before charging into the next year (which better be awesome for the world in general or I might cry), I want to take a quick look back…

Books Read: 78 (goal was 87)
— for reference: I read 40 books in 2016

I read some really awesome books this year. I read poetry, picture books, fiction, and memoir mostly. I’ve especially been enjoying reading fiction novels and non-fiction comics about or set in Japan, both written by Japanese authors and authors who have visited the country. I’ve been working my way through reading fairy and folk tales from various countries as well.

I would LOVE to hear some recommendations from my readers for picture books or poetry books especially!! (My stack of to-read fiction is massive and takes longer to get through.) I am mostly restricted by what I can get through my local library for now, but please, recommend away!

Some of my favorites I read this year: Continue reading

Here Comes NaNoWriMo…

… and all the panic that comes with it.

Don’t get me wrong, I love NaNo-season, but this year it feels even more out-of-control. I’m still looking forward to giving it a try though!

I’m hoping for 50 hours of butt-in-chair time, just like last year. I fell woefully short of that last year (but was still happy with the progress I made) so hopefully I can do better!

I had a list of all the things I was going to finish before NaNo this year: my Christmas cards were going to be ready for mailing on December 1st, my house was going to be relatively cleaned/picked up, the photobook (a Christmas gift) I’m working on was going to be done and ready for printing, and hubby and I were going to have finished watching Stranger Things 2… at the minimum. (He hooked me on Stranger Things about a week before the second season released.)

I was also hoping to be caught up on letters to all of my pen pals, some of whom have been waiting for months now because, you know, life exploded. And I was hoping to have a few other side projects caught up too.

I finished absolutely none of those things as October turned in to a rough patch with me feeling frequently run down and then right about the time I started to feel better, I began nursing my best friend at the hospital. At least she is out of ICU now! Autoimmune disorders are a bitch, ya’ll. Then again if you have one or know someone who has one… you already know that.

So I’m going into this NaNoWriMo season with the goal I’d already set for myself, plus a long list of other goals to juggle in addition to a full-time day job and my own likes-to-run-down-this-time-of-year health. But is that going to stop me? NEVERRRR!!! So nothing should stop you from trying your best either.

Want to see what the rest of my writing group is up to for this November? 5 of the 6 of us are being rebels! Check us out at this post.

*Photo by user TesaPhotography at Pixabay, creative commons usage

Submissions and a Collection: A Poetry Headache

I last mentioned where I was at in writing my first poetry collection about five months ago with this post. I’m still very much in the early stages. Where do the early stages end, anyway? I figure there will just come a point when I look around me and go, “Yeah, I’m in this one deep.” I’m not quite there yet.

(I’m laughing at the me that once said “I’ll make sure to spend at least a year on this so as not to rush it.” Oh you sweet, summer child.)

I’ve been doing a lot of reading this summer, which means not as much writing. After trying to juggle both for several years and failing at getting much read OR written I finally figured out that the best possible thing I can do is work hard on writing for a month or two, then switch to spending all that time on reading for a month or two. It keeps me from getting burned out on the blank page, it helps refill my brain when I’m starting to feel emptied of ideas, and it means that I get to more thoroughly enjoy reading and writing when not doing them together at the same rate. This is, at least, the system that works best for me. (For now.)

The time I have given to writing this summer has been productive… technically. Meaning I know it has been productive. I have the notes and pages that tell me this. But when it comes to finished content? Very, very little.

Nothing wants to wrap up for me. There’s a particular piece I’ve been working at rather hard that I finished back in July. Sort of. It reads in finished style, but the rhyme and meter is all wrong for not only what is in my head but also how the collection has begun to develop. It doesn’t fit. So I put it away for 2 months, let my mind clear some, and have been at it again this last week only to find Continue reading

Still Around, Still Writing, Still Figuring This Whole Thing Out

This photo has nothing to do with this post other than it makes me happy and I’m trying to stay positive in life and with goals!

Personally, politically, and being-kind-culturally this just isn’t the nicest of years. All of the insanity (both that which I’m involved in and that which the news keeps telling me about) has slowed me down, not just in writing but in keeping up with all the aspects of this crazy thing we call life. I’m learning that keeping the end goal in sight is more important than hard-and-fast deadlines (at least the self-imposed ones) and that self-forgiveness is a pretty important thing.

* No more blog schedules around here. I’ll aim to post at least once a month whenever possible, and that will usually be possible, but if I disappear for a month or two I probably won’t be posting apologies. It’s just me feeling super guilty that I’ve ‘messed up’ another self-imposed goal and those begin to eat me up more than help me when I do that.

I hope I have regular readers of this blog, but I’m the first to say I don’t really know how to market this blog to readers, especially while I don’t feel like I have much to offer yet. But here I am, floundering at the blogging thing all the same! I feel like many of my posts are probably uninteresting and I want to improve on that front. I will always keep trying to do better here so we’ll see how it all works out on the long plan, right? Continue reading

The Early Stages of Writing a Poetry Collection

If you’re following this blog, amidst the random posts on letter writing, kid lit, and other assorted things, you’ve seen a few posts about me working on a poetry collection. This is my first. I’ve written single poems for prompts, competitions, and personal ideas off and on for many years now, always thinking that one day I’d like to create a collection but never really sure what that would look like.

More than a year and a half ago I had an idea for a poem that slowly morphed into an idea for a themed collection based on the instrumental music of a single artist. I sat on the idea for quite a long time, thinking over possible ways I could approach a larger project like this, before I picked up the pen and began writing November of last year. (I also realized that a poem finished earlier in 2016 fit the collection, so wooo head start!)

But here’s the thing… while there are lots of wonderful blogs and vlogs walking writers through the process of novels, there isn’t so much material out there for poets writing a collection. I have articles saved with suggestions for submitting your work, organizing a collection (once the work is done), and promoting your book. Noooot so much the ‘here’s a blank page, now start your collection’ sort of references. Continue reading

A Few Days of Crippling Self-Doubt

Writers (and other creative people) have this thing where we usually doubt ourselves. A lot. I can’t even quite explain to someone who doesn’t fight with this just how much we doubt.

This is me. Except, you know, without the book deal to soften the feelings.

I love Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s work. SO MUCH. Everyone should be reading her stuff. (Click on the comic and it will take you over to her site.)

My confidence in being a writer and in trying to become a well-published writer has its hills and valleys. There’s pretty much always a quiet voice in the back of my mind that asks me what I think I’m doing. Couldn’t my time be spent on something with a more guaranteed outcome? Like theoretical physics?

About a week ago that voice got really, really loud. Continue reading

Tracking Creative Progress and Becoming a Writer

2017… the year I’m trying to get serious about being a poet. And about allowing myself more creative time in general.

I’ve been using the awesome (and incredibly simple) app Timesheet to track how much time I’m giving to writing and how much time is going to a given project. In January I tallied an impressive 35 minutes. Total. But in January I also gave most of my creative time to a photo book project. Many, many hours in fact. It was something I was passionate about creating and have been putting off because I’ve been terrible about allowing myself time to work on creative projects at all. I’m thrilled with the end result. And I’m learning how to give myself time for the creative projects I really want to work on, not just writing… and how to gently let go of the projects begun that became a burden instead of a joy.

I’m doing better with writing this month, and even though I haven’t clocked a lot of hours yet I have seen definite progress on my project. I’ve also taken on a commission for the first time. A small project for a friend who needed some poetry in her story. I’ve got a good start on it and am waiting for more notes from her before I launch into finishing it up. I’ve never tried to write something that isn’t a vision in my own head before, so this is good practice, even if not something I’d normally do.  Continue reading

NaNoWriMo 2016 in Review

You may have noticed I dropped off and didn’t keep up with updates (on here OR Facebook) as intended. This November was… rough. So here’s a few thoughts on NaNoWriMo for 2016:

  1. This November was determined to not be cooperative. At least in the realm of writing. In the first place, I’ve taken a few years off NaNo and honestly forgotten just how much I have to learn to say no both to others and myself in favor of having the time to write. Also that this is not something to feel guilty over… it’s 30 days out of the whole year. But here are a few reasons this November was extra topsy-turvy:
    1. My best friend’s car met an already-dead woodland creature on the road and thus died itself. I am happy to help be a ride, offered right away and don’t regret it one bit, but it does require extra time.
    2. I also heard from friends who found a newly-orphaned baby kitty who needed a home right away… and put best friend in touch with them. Baby kitty now has a safe and happy home!! The story couldn’t have a better ending. But baby kitties, especially ‘found’ ones, require things to help get them in perfect health, and this also takes time.
    3. Hubby has been having increasing back pain for months now and this month it finally hit a peak that has kept him from working all but the absolutely-required hours at work. We’re in the process of helping him get better and may finally have some answers, but less money + his inability to help with housework has taken away writing time as well. The only thing I regret about this is that he doesn’t feel better. I want to see him pain free. Hopefully that is on the horizon.
    4. I have been dealing with a resurgence of my own health issues. Thankfully none of the severe ones, but mostly the ones that cause low-level all-over pain as well as higher levels of fatigue. The extra responsibilities at this time contribute so that there isn’t much left over at the end of the day. I’d rather sleep than write. And sometimes that’s how it has to be.
    5. ALL OF THAT BEING SAID… that’s life. I regret none of it. Feel animosity toward none of it. This year especially seems to have beat up nearly the entire world. I only list these things as examples that sometimes there are other things that need taking care of in life, and it’s okay to give over to handling those things. Just don’t forget yourself when ‘other things’ begin to calm down once more.
  2. I finished at 17 hours, 1 minute. A far cry from my 50 hours goal. I honestly had no concept of 50 hours in regards to normal daily life, let alone the messy side of life I’ve been dealing with lately. That’s a LOT of time in addition to a full time job and other responsibilities. I will likely try for it again in 2017, but I now have a better understanding and appreciation for how much time that is and what it requires me to do.
  3. I may have only hit 34% of goal, but it was a wonderfully productive month for me. I feel like I absolutely did the right thing in waiting to begin this project during NaNo.
    1. I finished 1 poem, full edits, and am nearly done with a 2nd. This is not going to sound impressive. For me, I’m pleased. I’ve never tackled a full length collection, let alone with a theme, from scratch. I have recently been going MONTHS without picking up a pen at all; I’m out of practice.
    2. I am learning to sit and work at writing even when I don’t feel incredibly inspired. This is the ‘magic’ level of being a writer I’ve never really hit before. No inspiration has always equaled no writing. I’m learning to wake inspiration up by sitting down with my pen before she shows up on her own.
    3. I’m learning my own process of creating poetry, especially from a blank page / free writing stage. Notably I’m learning to NOT give up on the poem when I go from messy free write to really, really bad rhyming verse. This seems to be a common ‘second step’ for me on my way to the end product. It’s just a sign that a poem is beginning to form, not that it will be stuck there. Don’t give up.
    4. I’ve discovered that the more I work on my own poetry, the more ‘hungry’ I get for reading the work of others. I absolutely have to refill the tank. It’s even more satisfying to read the work of amazing poets when I feel like my poetry tank is empty. The best words and lines spark that much brighter. Most recent read? “The Robot Scientist’s Daughter” by Jeannine Hall Gailey. Highly recommended.
  4. This project is going to take a year at best. Any less and I will have rushed through it. I know me and my abilities (at least as they are at this time) and know this to be true. It is likely it will take longer, and if that is what creates the best work I am capable of, then so be it. I don’t want to hurry this and mess it up. But I got enough momentum going this month that I trust myself to not give up. Even taking a week away from writing gave me the itch to sit down for at least a couple of hours one afternoon and work.

Continue reading