Is it time to look at goals again?
I absolutely love love love the idea of a clean slate. I love mapping out a direction, veering off course occasionally, and finding my way in the end. I love ending the year a little stronger, a little more curious than before. That's why having a plan for the year is important. How can I know where I'm going if I don't know where I've been?
Focus has been difficult for me the past few months. Stress has played a major part of my day-to-day interactions, so much so that as I approach year’s end, I’m not sure what my goals should be for 2015. In any case, here’s a quick look back on 2014. (My reflections are noted in red.)
2014 Poetry Goals:
This goal is almost too squishy to be a real goal. I want to keep pushing myself as an artist through daily (or almost daily) observations, my gratitude journal, and this blog. Again, this doesn't feel like a real goal, and yet it’s the key to everything.
***I think I was present until late October. Once the fall semester kicked in, I found it hard to stay centered.
Focus on Misery Islands
The long wait is almost over. Misery should be out in September. Time to figure out exactly what I can do for book #2 that’s different from book #1.
***Despite a few delays, Misery Islands was born! I did what I could to promote it, but I see the first few months of 2015 as my time to give it a proper launch.
Complete Manuscript #3
After I revise, I’m hoping I can cobble out a new collection. Maybe two.
***Well … I do have enough for a manuscript. But it needs more of something I just can't name yet. Love?
Complete the Juno Project
These poems are waiting on me to write them. This could be m’script #4
***I wrote a sonnet crown in November, but I haven’t looked at these poems since then. The plan is to pick it up in January …eh … next week.
For 2015, my Poetry Action Plan (PAP) is based on de-stressing:
- Laugh more
- Love more
- Save more
- Stretch more
Notice I did not say write more. I did not say write X amount of poems, win a big grant, read at a bunch of colleges and bookstores, etc. The idea of being present is always with me and helps me stay grounded. Trust me, I’m probably more interested in book sales and scoring big publications than your average poet. But I’m happier if I listen to my creative side more often than my business side (but both are important).
So without further ado, my 2015 PAP.
Risk more? What’s more stressful than risk? I don’t know. I’ll let you know how it turns out next December. In terms of writing, the real question I’m asking myself is, what am I risking every time I approach the page? What am I risking in my personal life? I think I need a new challenge. But maybe what I need is more laughter and more love, which means I need to be more vulnerable. Again, what’s more stressful than that?
I want to get Misery Islands into the hands of new readers (read: nonpoets). That takes a lot more creativity on my part. How can I find a broader audience for my work? I want to reach those people who say, “I don’t read poetry, but I like your work.” Those potential readers are open to something new.
Finish the Third Manuscript
I bet I could finish it up this week if I really set my mind to it. But it needs a little love, and I need to iron out the rough spots. At one point, I wanted to have this book finished before Misery was published. Now I don’t care as much. I just want my poems to shine.
Complete Juno Cycle/4th Manuscript
I don’t know what the Juno poems will be, so I’m giving myself a wide berth here. I’m pushing up against uncomfortable subjects—can’t back down now.
While on the surface, these goals are similar to last year's. But the first goal supersedes all others. Here's to trying and failing and failing again. I'm in it for the long haul.
Want to create your own Poetry Action Plan? Check out last year's post.