Poetry Action Plan 2018
Next year will be 10 years of the Poetry Action Plan! Even in the years when I didn’t think it would help, it did.
A Poetry Action Plan, or PAP, is a road map for how to think about your writing life. There are four steps to creating a plan. To sum it up:
- Define your goals. What is most important to you as a writer.
- Be realistic about what can you achieve.
- Track your progress.
- Prepare for setbacks BUT be open to opportunities wherever they appear.
And if I had to add a fifth step, I’d say don’t be too hard on yourself for not accomplishing a goal.
Last year, after dealing with the death of my ex-husband at the end of 2016, I was just trying to stay above water. We were used to our little system of pick ups and drop offs. And while I never thought I had enough time, I really missed (and still miss), the balance of another parent, for everything from child care to having another voice in the room. But I managed, somehow, to get a few things done.
Some tasks could have done better. Even though I veered off my list (see Stress List), I still had a pretty good year (see Brag List).
My 2017 List:
- Write a poem a week: I wrote 45 poems. It happened in spurts when I wrote a poem a day. Many of them are trash, so quality does not equal quantity.
- Send out a submission once a week. I did not submit one poem in 2017. Not. One. (Here’s where being kind to myself matters.)
- Only take on writing projects that have meaning for me. This I did do, and I think the quality of the projects I took on made a difference. I don’t have to accept every offer that comes my way. Makes a real difference when deciding how best to spend my time.
- Yoga! Nope. (Y’know, yoga has been on my list for two years. I think I should take it off and op for something else.)
What works best for me are some hard and squishy goals. I do better with hard numbers and some that are more subjective.
In 2018, I will:
- Write a poem a week. Even if I write in them in batches, it’s still a good goal to have.
- Submit to eight top-tier journals. I’m swinging for the rafters. Now I thought about submitting to a new journal a week but I'm going for quality over quantity.
- Help my third book find a wider audience. Rewilding will be released in November, so I’m starting marking and promotion now. The real challenge comes from not overextending myself. I need to find new opportunities, which makes the whole process worthwhile. Otherwise, it’s not worth it to be away from my family.
Good luck with your PAP!