Predictable, Audacious, Unresolved

Here we are in 2011.  That low rumbling I hear in the background must be the gears of Real Life winding back up.  I must admit, I loved the long, unscheduled days of the holiday break, and now I want to hide under my bed until next Saturday -- when we have four different kid-events scheduled -- has passed.

Instead I will take a deep breath, and step into the stream of Real Life, knowing that it holds every single thing for me (and for all of us): the good, the bad, and the Holy Hell Batman!

And now, having dispensed with that throat-clearing... .

Yesterday I pulled out my writing goals journal and did some brainstorming.  I'm the type that can end up developing a 10-page spreadsheet of goals, milestones, key objectives, and individual tasks with due dates if I'm not careful.  So I kept it loose and imaginative, not too neat, not too organized.

Here are a few of my predictable writing goals:

1.  Keep working toward goal of 50 submissions for period September 2010 to September 2011.  I need to check my records and see how I'm doing on this.  Although I've submitted more this year than ever before, I'm pretty sure I have a ways to go before I hit 50.
2.  Read one collection of poetry each month.  By "read" I really mean "live with."  For me, reading poetry well requires intense attention and plenty of time.  I need to read a collection a few times before I feel I know my way around it.  I like to understand the arc of the collection, the way it's put together, the story (if any) it weaves, the theme(s) it embodies.  Then I like to dive into individual poems, learn from them, find jumping-off places into new work based on my study.  If I read the collection in this way, I find it's more likely to work its way into my life, my mind, and my writing.  It's slow, but it works for me.
3.  Continue my writing schedule (Tuesday and Thursday mornings, and Saturdays) with the goal of one solid draft each week.  Here I must give credit to Sandy Longhorn (as I have many times on this blog), who has discussed this, her long-standing goal, on her blog.  For some reason, prior to reading Sandy's approach, I felt compelled to come up with a new draft every time I sat down to write.  Easing off a bit to one solid draft a week leaves more time for careful reading and revision of ongoing work.  Now, why didn't I think of that before?
4.  Learn to write a critical essay.  I haven't written a critical essay since 1992, and it wasn't on poetry.  This is a challenge to myself to learn something new.
5.  Subscribe to 4 more journals.  Slow but steady.
6.  Attend a writing retreat/conference.  Major shyness factor and moderate logistics issues to overcome here, but I'm determined.
7.  Spread the poetry.  I need to think more about how to do this, but I'll be looking for ways to get more poetry (not just mine) out there in the world where people can see it.

On Friday, I mentioned I also have some audacious goals/hopes for myself.  Audacious as in "extremely bold or daring."  Audacious as in "recklessly brave."  I'm a little shy about sharing them, and my Inner Critic is having a field day with them.  I have ended them all with a question mark.  It makes me feel better to write them that way.  It quiets my Inner Critic just a little.  Here goes:
1.  Apply for emerging writers grant?  (Inner Critic says, "Emerging Writer!?  If an emerging writer is a baby bird, you haven't even cracked the egg open yet!")
2.  Research chapbook contests and submit? (Inner Critic says, "You've hardly published anything!  Do you really think you're ready for a chapbook?")
3.  Consider applying to MFA programs?  (Inner Critic says, "What makes you think you could get in?")

To my Inner Critic I say this:  You may be right, but if nothing else, pursuing these goals will be a learning process.  And I would not be the first person to fail the first time she tried something  So there.

I feel the need to add this to the list of things I do not resolve to do this year:  I hereby do not resolve to clean out / organize the closets, the drawers, the basement, or the boxes I haven't unpacked yet from our last move.



sarah@theunwrapping said...

hey there, just found your blog through your poem over on Literary Mama (which was beautiful, by the way). thanks for sharing these goals...you've inspired me to write some concrete ones of my own...looking forward to reading more of your posts, as I've connected to what I've seen here so far, as a writer mother myself. :)

Molly said...

Hello, sarah@theunwrapping, and welcome. I'm glad you liked the poem at Literary Mama, and that setting my goals down has sparked something for you. Thanks for stopping by, and happy writing (and mothering).

Sandy Longhorn said...

Aw, Molly. Thanks for the mention. Write on!

Molly said...

You're welcome, Sandy, as always.

drew said...

You are inspired and inspiring!

And you know how to make the new year ring with promise. Thank you.

Molly said...

You're welcome, Drew. Thanks for reading.

Gerry said...

Um, my goal for January is to clarify my goals. Sigh.

I hope you will commit to a writer's conference. The other writers there will come in all kinds, and you will like some of them very much. Don't wade along the shore until it's time to go in for supper. Get in there up to your neck. You'll like it.

Hm. Bad metaphor in January, eh? OK, metaphors are not my best thing.

Molly said...

Gerry, I like your metaphor just fine. Thanks for the encouragement.... I'll keep you posted. And happy January to you.