National Poetry Month!

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April is officially National Poetry Month, which means I can geek out on poetry with some good company. While every month is poetry month to me, it is really exciting to see a large community of poets come together to encourage the writing and reading of poetry.

Poets approach this event in a number of different ways. Some write a poem a day, while others interact on social media. Educators emphasize poetry in their classrooms and writers promote their work at National Poetry Month events. No matter the activity, April is all about ensuring poetry continues to prosper as an art form.

I’m celebrating National Poetry Month by participating in two poetry challenges:

2015 April Poem A Day (PAD) Challenge on Poetic Asides (via Writer’s Digest)

This challenge is also a competition. Each day a prompt is posted and poets are invited to post their poems in the comments. A judge then selects one poem, which will be published in an anthology at the end of the competition. I participated in this challenge last year and really enjoyed the process. The community is so encouraging and inspiring.

My goal for this challenge is to continue my practice of haiku. I’m focusing on contemporary haiku which breaks the 5-7-5 syllable rule. The simplicity of contemporary haiku is very appealing to me, so I’m looking forward to experimenting with line and syllable counts.

NaHaiWriMo’s April 2015 Daily Writing Prompts

NaHaiWriMo (National Haiku Writing Month) is officially in February, but the organization offers daily prompts for every month. I had so much fun in February, I continued through March. The thought of missing a day was so sad, I decided to keep going through April.

My goal for this challenge is the same as the April PAD challenge, but I’m leaving the door open for the traditional 5-7-5 haiku and senryu. Seeing as there is no requirement to post, my journal will be full of little experiments.

Whether you are a writer or a reader, I hope you join the fun and celebrate National Poetry Month!

 

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c.b.w. 2015

2015 Goals: February Status Report

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1. Work towards getting The Muse published.

After spending a few weeks researching prospective agents, I finally got brave enough to send out two query packages. This is the first round of queries I’ve sent out since hiring an editor for my manuscript. It’s also the first run of a revised query letter.

I wish I could say all the revisions paid off instantly, but nothing involved with writing is instant! I’ve already received a rejection letter, which was actually very polite and even nice! While rejection sucks, receiving any sort of response is a win. This one in particular didn’t leave me feeling like a failure because it told me to keep trying, (this agent just didn’t feel like the right fit for my work).

While I wait for the second agency to respond, I’m busy working on the next round of queries I’ll be sending out in March.

2. Start writing Lineage.

On the shelf at the moment, as per my plan!

3. Submit poetry.

February turned out to be a pretty great month for poetry!

Back in January I submitted three haikus to local haiku competition and they ended up getting ranked as Outstanding (a status given to only 45 out of more than 600 entries). My haikus were put on display at a cultural festival and were also published in an ebook. All the details can be found in my recent post, A Haiku Victory!

In other haiku news, I quietly completed National Haiku Writing Month via NaHaiWriMo’s Facebook Page. The daily prompts were incredibly challenging (for example, the word “nuclear” was a prompt), but I loved every minute of it. I ended up writing more than 50 haikus by month’s end. Stay tuned as I’ll be posting selections soon.

In addition to NaHaiWriMo, I continued my involvement in the Poetic Asides community via Writer’s Digest. I didn’t miss a single Wednesday Poetry Prompt.

As for my black out poetry submission, I’m still waiting on the results to this challenge: WD Poetic Forms Challenge: Erasure Poetry. Regardless of how this one turns out, I’m still very inspired by this form. A new collection is already in the works!

4. Don’t give up or get distracted.

When it came to poetry and queries, I’d say I was pretty darn focused this month!

5. Be flexible.

As always, I’m staying open to opportunities and inspiration wherever they may be hiding.

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And let’s not forget the word of the year:

Persistence

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How are you doing with your 2015 goals?

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c.b.w. 2015

Rejection Isn’t All That Bad

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The results for the 2014 November PAD Chapbook Challenge are in and I can honestly say the best poets were selected. The winner wrote some great poems all month long as did the four runners-up. In fact, two of the top five were among my favorite throughout the challenge. I am so happy to see them get the recognition they deserve!

My name was not among the winners list, but I’m still really proud of what I accomplished. Not only did I complete the challenge, but I discovered a true passion for the haiku form. For me, finding this passion is better than winning a competition.

Despite ending up in the slush pile, I am proudly adding this experience to my rejection file. While it’s instinctive to wallow (rejection is not exactly a pleasant feeling), the ninja writer in me is just motivated to push even harder and try again. In this case, my word of the year – persistence – is definitely flexing it’s muscle!

To celebrate both my newfound passion and another rejection, I’ll be constructing a chapbook for the haiku collection I created for the challenge. My muse and I are busing working on design and layout elements, so stay tuned!

The haikus continue to flow, along with senryu (haiku-ish poems dealing with human nature). The Wednesday Poetry Prompt on Poetic Asides keeps me inspired and my journal full. To close things out, here’s my most recent attempt at senryu:

scuffed with age
her wedding band sits beside
a cold cup of tea

 

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c.b.w. 2015

2015 Goals: January Status Report

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1. Work towards getting The Muse published.

I’ve been quite busy on this front! My list of prospective agents continues to grow as I peruse the 2015 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino. I now have 14 literary agents on my list and I’m currently personalizing my query letter to align with their individual interests.

Towards the end of January, I participated in a Twitter Pitch event launched by a literary agency. My twitter pitch was not favorited, which means I can add another rejection to my growing collection. I don’t view this as a bad thing as gathering rejections is just part of a writer’s life.

2. Start writing Lineage.

Poetry, work, and query packages were the priority in January, so Lineage has been hanging out in the background. This isn’t a surprise to me as I don’t really plan on sitting down to write this thing for another few months.

3. Submit poetry.

This is another area where I was busy!

I entered three haikus in a local competition. Every year the downtown area plays host to a Japanese cultural festival. For this year’s festival there will be a haiku exhibit where winning poems will be displayed. I’ll know by February 14th if I made the cut.

I’m also holding true to my goal of hanging out with the Poetic Asides community via Writer’s Digest. Every Wednesday there is a prompt and invitation to post a poetic response. I use this opportunity to practice writing haikus and to read through the work of other poets. I love everything about this community of writers and the inspiration that comes with it. I’m happy to say I posted a poem every single week during January.

Lastly, I’m still waiting to hear on two competitions I entered back in December 2014: WD Poetic Forms Challenge: Erasure Poetry and the 2014 November PAD Chapbook Challenge. Results aren’t expected to come through until February, so I guess we’ll wait and see!

4. Don’t give up or get distracted.

I stayed relatively focused. I wrote something almost every day and worked consistently towards pitching The Muse. My knitting habit and a nasty cold may have stolen a few days, but otherwise, my writing stayed front and center in my life!

5. Be flexible.

I’m finding inspiration everywhere. After a long hiatus, I’m back to walking to work in the morning. The silence of the world just before dawn has inspired a ridiculous amount of haikus.

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And let’s not forget the word of the year:

Persistence

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How are you doing with your 2015 goals?

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c.b.w. 2015

2015 Writing Goals

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A new year means setting new writing goals! Even though 2015 has barely begun, I’m riding a huge surge of energy and excitement. After a bit of a lull in 2014, my muse and I are more than ready to jump back into the writing game with a renewed sense of motivation and determination.

I’m keeping my list of goals relatively short and open-ended so I don’t find myself in a corner should life circumstances change. At the same time, I’m looking to push myself out of my comfort zone in order to reach a new level in my writing.

1. Work towards getting The Muse published.

This goal can work on two different levels. I’m looking to pitch The Muse to agents and small publishers. Maybe I’ll get a bite and maybe I won’t, but I’m going to try!

While my focus will be on the traditional route of publishing, I’m not closing the door on self-publishing. As I work my way through the query process, I’ll also be researching self-publishing options as Plan B.

The big picture goal is to get The Muse in print, one way or another! It’s a polished draft that’s been through the ringer thanks to beta readers and my fantastic editor. It’s about time this thing got out to readers!

2. Start writing Lineage.

As I wait for responses to my query packages, (rejections or maybe otherwise!), I’m planning to make some headway on the sequel to The Muse. In 2014, I laid out the basics for Lineage, but much more work needs to be done. I need to finish notes and create a more detailed outline, (I’m not pantser!)

Ultimately, I’m hoping to start the first draft sometime in the summer. Sooner would be better, but I’m smart enough to realize my day job (which involves going for National Board Certification) is going to be very busy during the first half of 2015.

3. Submit poetry.

Last year, poetry started to play a much larger role in my writing life. I’m writing a lot of it in a number of different forms. This is a medium I want to continue to explore so I’m narrowing my usual writing submission goal to poetry.

I plan to get more involved on Poetic Asides via Wednesday Poetry Prompts, Poetic Form Challenges, and Poem A Day Challenges when they are offered. It’s a great community of writers that both encourage and inspire.

In addition, I’m looking into joining haiku communities online. I fell in love with the traditional and modern haiku form during the 2014 November PAD Challenge and I want to continue to grow as a haiku poet.

4. Don’t give up or get distracted.

Sometimes I have the attention span of a gnat, so I’m setting this goal to remind myself to stay on track. Between the day job, other creative pursuits, and life in general, it’s easy to get sidetracked. If I want to see my work in print and grow as a writer I have to work at it every day.

As I set out to query agents, I have to brace myself for the inevitable onslaught of rejection. There will be days when I’ll want to give up. Rejection is tough to take, especially when it hits in large quantities. The theme of Galaxy Quest will be my mantra: Never Give Up, Never Surrender.

5. Be flexible.

I set this as a goal last year and learned quite a bit from it. I liked being reminded that creativity is a fluid process as is writing and life in general. While my goals have some wiggle room worked into them, I’m also aware that things could change. Wherever the path leads, I’ll be open to following every curve.

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In keeping with a tradition in my writer’s group, I’ve chosen a Word of the Year to guide me as I work towards my goals. I decided to go with a word that I’ve heard countless times among writers and just about anyone else going after a dream:

Persistence

The only way to get I what I want is go after it with hard work and a stubborn mindset. Thankfully, those are two things that are hardwired into my personality.

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What are your 2015 goals?

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c.b.w. 2015