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  • cherrymaydoyle

Standard New Year Post

I hope you're not sick of New Year blog posts yet! Well, even if you are, I'm not going to do a 2020 roundup, a best-of list, or a reflection on how much the world has changed. Not that there's anything wrong with these, of course.

I hope you all had a restful Christmas and New Year, even if it wasn't the one you wanted, and I hope you're all going into our newest lockdown safe and well. I had a very hectic Christmas, despite not really being able to go anywhere! I admit that after struggling to write much poetry at all for most of the year, I let Christmas and various other things I was up to (house renovation, for example) get in the way of my writing towards the end of the year. My MFA module gently suggested I should write pastiches of the poets we were reading. I actually created a poem I was really proud of, but couldn't keep up with the weekly writing! Over Christmas, once I'd actually unwound (which happened at some point after Boxing Day!) I definitely thought about writing but didn't get around to doing any.

So, just like Frank Cross by the end of Scrooged, I'm going into this year with resolve. I really want to add more to my body of work this year, so although I'll be submitting for publication as normal (when I remember to), my focus will be on writing as much as possible. Every year I say "I'm going to write more!" and every year I struggle to write more. Luckily I have another Poetry Workshop module this term which requires a poem a week. I have loosely given myself a target of one poem per month this year, which to be honest, will be nothing short of a miracle - and probably the most poems I've ever completed in one year!

I do have many drafts which I began last year and never completed. I'd like to start picking these up and getting them to a point that I'm happy with. I have also invested in the book '52' from Nine Arches Press, by Jo Bell plus guests. It has a poetry prompt for each week of the year! Definitely optimistic, but I'm hoping it will provide loads of inspiration for whenever I need it.

The book '52' by Jo Bell is held up against a wall
The open door to 52 new poems!

I think one of the benefits of opening a book and just writing SOMETHING reacting to a prompt, is that is removes that difficult first action of getting words down on paper. I'm definitely terrible for editing as I go along instead of editing a first draft into some semblance of a poem. I'm pretty sure this is why I'm not a very productive writer. Always second-guessing myself before I've even written anything down! I've already done draft 1 of the week 1 prompt in 52 though!

I also find it quite difficult to stick to time I put aside for writing. In theory I have much more time now because I'm still working from home, which frees up between 2 and 4 hours of commuting time from my day. But why is it always that when time opens up, there's something to be done to fill it (painting something or removing wallpaper or general chores)? I'm hoping that by setting myself the goal of one poem a month, it will make me put time aside. I also received this excellent Nathan W Pyle planner for Christmas, and if there's one thing I love more than actually finishing a poem, it's making extensive to-do lists and crossing out the completed actions. So far I've carried 'write blog' over four times - but look, I'm doing it! Writing things down makes me accountable - and helps me remember them, so this is how I'm planning to organise my time better.

A planner titled 'Strange Planner' with a figure saying 'I must organise my existence'
Organising my existence since 2021

I'll keep you updated on how things are going through the year! Surely I'm not alone - have you made any resolutions about their writing? Do you usually come up against any pitfalls, and how are you planning to manage them this year? Let me know in the comments :)


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