It has been a while since I held to my daily writing routine and I could say it was because I haven’t needed it but the truth is that I’m just using my time in other ways.
What’s new? Plenty. What is blog worthy? Not sure.
I’ve got a new elliptical machine and it’s smooth like butter and I love it. I haven’t loved it today yet because I woke up with the worst cramps (I usually don’t get bad cramps, so when I do, it’s always “the worst”). I’m currently treating myself to some couch time, but it’s hard to sit with my laptop and write because I’m so used to working on other things when I have my laptop out.
I haven’t written any new poetry in ages and have been nurturing my creative side by organizing and compiling a few different manuscript collections that I could submit to publishers. It’s satisfying a need I have to be creative, but in truth the larger part of that exercise is logic and figuring out what works together and tells a bigger story. Why do I feel like a manuscript must tell a story or that all the poems need to be bound together by some overarching theme? Probably because that’s how things are nowadays. Especially for a random girl from the Midwest with nothing much more to offer.
The other part of wanting to feel productive with something (anything) ACC has resulted in my submitting individual poems to publishers like crazy. I suppose it is not a bad thing that it has gotten out of hand a little bit and I now have 87 open submissions in Submittable. I’ve stopped setting a goal. My goal was 30 then 40 then 50 and …. You get the point.
I did promise myself near the end of summer that I would start submitting to some more reputable places. Some fives and sixes and sevens instead of twos and fours. I even created an algorithm to score a place to see how they rate. It had weighted criteria and the heaviest variable was the longevity of the publisher. The other criteria was their method and regularity of publishing and if they pay or not, plus a few other stats in Duo Trope about their acceptance rate. The harder it is to get in, the higher their score was in that category.
I paid money to use Duo Trope for a year but I think it is on it’s way out as a user tool. It’s only as good as the data that people put in it and if folks are not reporting their submissions there, then the stats will not reflect what is accurately going on. It’s a lot of work to keep track of submissions even without the extra work to report it all to another agency. Therefore it is understandable why it’s probably not going to last too much longer with the current business model. I probably wont pay for it again.
Anyway, I let my own algorithm go too as it was too much extra work and I feel like I can just as easily eyeball a few things and decide if it’s a place that would be a good fit for my poems. For some of that, it’s turned into a matter of reading other people’s bios and seeing what places they have placed their work. In this way, I’m sort of gauging from the caliber of the writer more than the journal or publisher. This goes back to my original theory that poems that are 4 out of 10 come from poets that are 4 out of 10 which typically get published by places that are 4 out of 10.
All of this is just a lot of left brain nonsense and I’m fooling myself into thinking I’m satisfying my creative side by spending so much time on it. Like I said, I haven’t written a poem in a long time and now to make matters worse, I haven’t even blogged in a long time either. Part of me wonders if I am going back in statis and just don’t need it like I did before.
Yesterday I reworked my thesis manuscript as I still feel the strong desire to get some validation by having that book published. I mean, I am having a book published, but it is not the full manuscript and I dove deep to figure out how to change it in a way to both keep the essence of what it was originally and add some newer poems. I also wanted to re-do it so that I have all the current versions and update the acknowledgements page. Again, all this satisfies my left brain and after I finally got it to a place I was happy with yesterday, I felt good about it.
What all of it does NOT do is alleviate the angst I’m currently experiencing about how much rejection I’ve gotten lately. It stands to reason that the more you submit, the more you get rejected, but with each hit it’s like a little stab at my confidence. Both my confidence in myself and my confidence in my poems. I just don’t think I have what it takes to keep doing this. And then I question myself, “what part of THIS am I talking about?”
The submitting, the writing, the revising, the lit mag, the blog, the pursuit of that elusive dream of publishing my thesis manuscript. I’m sure I will finish out what I started with regard to these books. I say books because in the last two weeks I’ve not only reworked the full manuscript (about 77 pages) but also two other chapbook size books (30 pages each). Once I have them where I want them, I could engage an editor– someone who reviews and critiques work like this for money, and see what they think. But again, I ask myself if that’s all just a waste of time and money because my writing is not good enough.
I originally went after my MFA for two specific reasons. The first was to satisfy a desire to learn more about something I had interest in. I’ve always written poetry, but I wanted to learn how to make it better. The second was to change my life. To do something different and get a sense of fulfillment by accomplishing something other than doing a job and collecting a paycheck. I didn’t do it for the credentials and I sure as hell did not do it because I wanted to publish a book. Those things never entered my mind until I was actually IN the program.
In fact, there’s such a heavy emphasis on publishing during residency, I think that is part of the reason I developed such a strong desire to have that kind of validation. I won’t say I never thought about it. I entertained the idea of having a few poems published and how neat that would be, but a book??!!
Now here I am three years later, unable to write a poem, yet working on taking the 100 (or so) I’ve written since 2018 and getting them out into the world. Part of me wonders if I shouldn’t just let it all go.
My husband questions whether I should let GLR go too, as it takes up so much time and there is not a lot of fulfillment from it.
And now, after having written about 1200 words here so far today, I am getting down to the heart of the matter. Which is me questioning whether or not I should let this blog go too.
I’ve barely blogged in the last month. I went on vacation for a week and saw some great things, and had several really good cheeseburgers. None of that made it into the blog when normally it would. In years past, I would absolutely make writing about my vacation a priority. Not this time.
I’ve also had mood swings, a gym remodel at the house, and my daughter got her brand new bike stolen off campus. Those incidents and adventures didn’t make it into the blog either. I’ve had developments happen with regard to my health and my chronic fatigue and my insomnia but just have not felt like writing about any of it. I’m in need of lamenting about my parents too, but writing about it seems either like too much of a broken record or just not worth the effort.
I’ve started and stopped several days in the last few weeks and just have not felt motivated. I start and get a few sentences in and then stop, feeling like it is a waste of time. I find myself more enthusiastic about watching a stupid TV show over writing. I wake up on Wednesday mornings happy because there will be a new episode of The Bachelorette on Hulu. Legit. Why would THAT bring me joy when this… THIS… doesn’t seem to??!
THIS blog has, for nearly five years, been my go-to place to sort out what I am thinking and feeling. A few times in the past month instead of writing it, I’ve opted to read it instead. While it is cool, to look back on a day, a week, a month, a year in the life and how far I’ve come, it doesn’t necessarily inspire me to keep doing it.
I dunno. Perhaps I’m just feeling down and lost and not needed or wanted lately and that has contributed to my lack of motivation. I think there are a few more unexplored corners relating to the overarching theme of this particular post, and I’m finding myself passing to think about other things. This is me saying, in a roundabout way, that I could keep going and going but I’m not sure where it is going next and am frankly out of time and (not surprising) lacking motivation to continue.
Not sure what this weekend will bring or next week or this month. I guess as always, time will tell.