Poetry Action Plan 2012

It's the last day of the year! Time for merriment and a little reflection. In other words, it's time to list my poetry goals for the upcoming year. I call this my Poetry Action Plan (PAP).

A PAP is simple way to structure your writing goals so that they goals become habit. Your plan should be flexible enough to morph and change as your life changes. Here are a few tips on how to do just that.

  • 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.
  • Be realistic about what can you achieve. Having a focus is essential. Pick four or five goals and stick to them.
  • 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.).
  • Prepare for setbacks BUT be open to opportunities wherever they appear. Small acts, such as jotting down a word or phrase or mailing one submission to one publication, will keep you moving forward through times of uncertainty.

In 2011, my goals were to:

Write a Poem a Week
Not so much. I’m finishing the year at 38 poems.

Support the Massachusetts Poetry Festival
Achieved! This should count for two goals.

Support Manuscript #2
Achieved! Misery Islands will be published by CavanKerry Press in 2014. Woo hoo!

Start Manuscript #3
Not so much. This project requires research and time—two items in short supply in 2011.

Attend a Weeklong Workshop
Not so much.

Continue to Support Underlife
Achieved! It’s taken two years but I think I’m nearing second print run status. Maybe.

In 2012, my goals are to:

Write a Poem a Week
The writing comes first, no matter what.

Read a Book a Month
Poetry books I read all the time, but not reading other genres is embarrassing.

Support the Massachusetts Poetry Festival
I know I can do this. The challenge becomes how can I do it better and smarter? How can I help produce a top-notch event more efficiently? How am I contributing to the event’s success, and how can I help make connections that will benefit the festival in the future?

Start Manuscript #3
This project I will start now but not flesh out until the summer. The topic is race relations and busing in 1960s Boston. I’ve decided not to push it through but really use this time as an opportunity to learn about myself, my surroundings, and my history.

Attend a Weeklong Workshop
C’mon, FAWC. Don’t let me down again.

This is the roadmap. I encourage you to modify your writing goals throughout the year. Good luck, and Happy New Year!!


Maureen said…
Wishing you much continued success in the coming new year, January. I admire all that you do to raise two children and still find time for your writing life. Congratulations again on ms#2. To be published by CavanKerry must be such an honor.
January said…
Thanks Maureen. Continued success to you, too! Thanks for reading the blog. Wishing you all the best in 2012.
Susan Rich said…
You are an inspiration my dear! I am not great at goal setting but I am going to try. And if you can't find a good week long workshop you could combine Poets on the Coast with a week or less or more at Whiteley Center in the San Juans....Much love and many positive things for you in 2012!
January said…
Susan, if I can afford it, I'll make every effort to come out there. Sounds like a terrific event.

Happy New Year!

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