Thursday, December 31, 2009

Poetry Action Plan 2010

Professionally speaking, this has been the best year of my life. As I look back on my Poetry Action Plans of the past, I can see the trajectory of measurable success in my goals as a writer. (Remember, success is relative in the world of poetry.)

First, a little history. In 2008, I created my first Poetry Action Plan (PAP) as a way to incorporate my writing goals into my daily life. Poets take pleasure in the act of doing, so your goals should inspire your creativity and spark your curiosity.

This is your starting point for creating a PAP. I encourage you to modify your goals throughout the year.


  1. Define your goals. What is most important to you as a writer? Is it practicing your craft? Do you want to read your work in public? Is this the year you finally complete your manuscript? Whatever it is, name it, claim it, and put it at the top of your list.
  2. Be realistic about what can you achieve. Having a focus is key. Pick four or five goals and stick to them.
  3. Track your progress. It’s one thing to make goals, and another to keep them. List items you can quantify so you can gain momentum as you reach your next goal (ex. submit to 25 journals, write two poems a month, etc.).
  4. Prepare for setbacks. 2009 was a year full of personal disappointments. But I forgave myself for going through the summer without writing a poem. Be open to opportunities wherever they appear. Small acts, such as jotting down a word or phrase or mailing one submission to a publication, will keep you moving forward through times of uncertainty.

Here’s how I did on 2009’s goals.


Develop a Marketing Plan for Underlife
I did a pretty good job of connecting with all sorts of local poetry communities. I reached a diverse number of poetry lovers in my region and published in several journals and online publications.

Write a Poem a Week
I did not write a weekly poem, but I finished the year with 61 poems. (Don’t think I’ll write the two year-end poems I thought I would.) The 61 poems I wrote in ’09 exceeded the number of poem written in ’08—52. So I can’t complain.

Complete a Second Manuscript
Almost there. I just need to make time to revise and reorder.

Write an article for a top-tier magazine
I was hoping for O, The Oprah Magazine, but I wound up with an article in Poets & Writers online. I can live with that.

So, here’s my 2010 PAP

Write a Poem a Week
I know I can hit this goal. Anything above and beyond is gravy.

Finish Manuscript #2
March 2010, baby!

Attend a Weeklong Workshop
I’ve always wanted to check out the weeklong sessions at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA. Now that the kids are older, being away for a week will be a good thing for all of us.

Write Articles
I’ve committed to writing articles for Bread & Circus and RWP. Must make the space to stretch myself as a writer in venues besides this blog.

Support Underlife
Have venue? Will travel. While this goal seems amorphous, it takes a lot of time and energy to get out there in service of this fine art. I need to contact colleges, universities, book stores, and reading series to try to reach as many poetry loves as possible.

Complete Two Video Projects
I’ve wanted to create innovative videos for two poems. Hope to complete both of them by June. Doesn’t take long to do—I’ll complete one now and one over the summer.


Notice I put my writing goals first. No matter what, I want to keep growing as a poet and artist. And now that I’ve made my goals public, it makes me accountable for my poetic actions. (YIKES!)

Good luck in creating your Poetry Action Plan. Feel free to share your goals here, or pop over to RWP to see what others are doing for 2010. What are your creative goals for the New Year? What’s holding you back? How do you push through when uncertainty strikes?

4 comments:

Deb said...

As always, your planning inspires me. I do believe you forgot to mention your inclusion in P&W's Jan/Feb Inspiration issue as one of the 12 poets in their 5th annual Debut Poets Roundup. (Or did you. Dunno, but that is fantastic, too.)

Best wishes for a good new year in every area of your life.

Jessie Carty said...

those were great goals and ones that, for a large part, you can control which is important with goal setting. i'm looking forward to getting my goals together for 2010 but think i'll be making them this weekend after my company is vamoozed!

one of the ones i'm thinking about pursuing more is actually submitting my amateur photography for publication, especially to online lit mags and such. not sure how to begin researching doing that but thought i might start with lit mags i have been in before.

if you decide you want to make it all the way down to NC, let me know and I'll see if I can help you locate some good venues :)

Kells said...

I agree with Deb, I always feel inspired when I read your goals. Good ones.

I also put my writing goals first. I'll take you up on that write a poem a week! Consider it my goal as well.

I am sure there will be much celebration, success, and recognition this year for you - especially with Underlife!

Happy New Year! And wishing you only the best of everything for 2010!

Jill said...

I hate to sound like a broken record, but I, too, always, always love your goals. You are SUCH an inspiration! Truly! I have decided I'm going to try a poem-a-day for the year, but, I may have to scale back to one a week...

PS: How do you feel about a video interview? :)

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