The Socially Awkward Poet


Last week I got the lovely surprise of being tagged in a Poetry Chain by one of my favorite poets, Hannah Gosselin. The challenge was simple: 1) Write five poems in five days. 2) Nominate five new poets to join the chain.

Writing five poems was the easy part. Nominating five poets proved to be the bigger challenge. The chain took place on Facebook and therefore all tagged poets had to be on Facebook and my friend.  Ironically, I tend to be very anti-social when it comes to social networking. My circle is quite small with a few select friends. Some are people I’ve know all my life, some are from work, and others are extended family.

Most of connections I have with other writers are through my blog and my Facebook page, (very different from a profile). In addition, I attend a small writer’s group. Like many writers, I’m a textbook introvert. Talking to people is hard for me and being around other people incites awkward behavior. Can’t help it – I am uncomfortable and no amount of “immersion therapy” solves that issue. Truth be told, I don’t want to change who I am anyway!

Despite my social ineptitude, I still decided to jump in on the challenge. This year in particular, I’ve been working on expanding my involvement in poetry communities online. One place where I’ve found a strong sense of comraderie is on Poetic Asides via Writer’s Digest.

When I checked out the Poetry Chain group page, I saw a list of names that were largely familiar to me and that instantly put me at ease. Even if I couldn’t find five people to nominate, I knew this group wouldn’t give me the evil eye for failing to complete that aspect of the chain challenge.

Just as I expected, this group of poets showed me amazing acceptance and encouragement. I can’t begin to say how lucky I am to have stumbled into this amazing community. As a poet who is working on refining her voice in haiku, I can count on this community to keep me motivated and inspired.

Despite my initial introvert fears, I actually did find five people to nominate. I hit up a friend from the Poetic Asides community, family, and friends from my writer’s group. It turns out, I’m not as isolated as I thought. My circle is surprisingly big and full of incredibly kind and talented people.

While I find comfort in solitude, I’m also finding a different kind of comfort from interacting with a group of poets.  The creative energy keeps those words flowing and provides a safe place to experiment with poetic forms and style.

The last year has shown me that while I may be a socially awkward poet, I am definitely not alone.

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p.s. I will post the poems I wrote for the chain later this week.

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c.b.w. 2015

2013 Writing Goals


After much contemplation, I’ve finally arrived at a list of writing goals for 2013.  The goals I’ve set are designed to push me out of my comfort zone, while also challenging me to go a little further than I did last year. Within each goal, I’ve set smaller sub-goals to help me stay on track.

1) Complete final draft of Novel #2.

Novel #2 turned into my passion project in 2012 and my muse is showing no signs of changing that focus. As a result, this project will have priority status in 2013.


  • Complete revisions/editing
  • Track progress via word count bar graph
  • Send second draft to two beta readers
  • Polish final draft

2) Work on converting Novel #1 into first person.

This project has had its fair share ups and downs, but I’m not giving up on it just yet. I’ve decided to go forward with the first person conversion process with the added long-term goal of considering the possibility of e-publishing.


  • Convert at least half of the manuscript.
  • Track progress via word count bar graph
  • Research e-publishing possibilities.

3) Submit 5 pieces of writing.

Another year means another challenge of submitting my work to journals, magazines, and contests. However, this year, I’m going to try and add a bonus challenge of submitting specific kinds of work to give my writing muscle a good stretch.

Submission sub-goals:

  • One series or piece of poetry
  • One short story
  • One non-fiction piece
  • One item that is out of my element (something I normally wouldn’t write)

4) Submit three query letters for Novel #2

After last year’s learning curve, I’m bringing this goal back on a more limited scale. Hopefully, the creation of sub-goals will help keep me on track so I can have a little more success with the query letter process. Of course, all of this depends on staying true to Goal #1.


  • Finish revising current letter
  • Send final query draft to two beta readers
  • Polish final draft
  • Research agents and submit

5) Continue building author platform

Once again, I’ll be working hard to maintain and continue building my author platform. 2012 was a fantastic year of establishing a social media presence and finding a voice in the blogosphere. I’m looking to create more growth on Facebook and Twitter, while also expanding my presence on World Literary Cafe and Goodreads.


  • Increase followers on Facebook and Twitter, while also interacting with other people.
  • Increase participation on World Literary Cafe
  • Create Goodreads author page
  • Join at least one new network (for writers or readers)
  • Keep up with blog and upgrade by purchasing my own domain

6)  Read three books on the writing/publishing process.

This is an area where I definitely need to improve. I tend to get lost in fiction more than I should, so its time to pull a non-fiction book or two off my shelf. If I’m going to jump into the query letter/agent game, I should probably know a little more about what I’m up against.


  • One book about the writing process
  • One book about editing/revising
  • One book about the publishing process

7) Inspire others to keep writing.

I made the same goal last year and I enjoyed it so much, I’m bringing it back for 2013. Hopefully, through my blog and life in general, I will continue to be a positive presence to those around me.


  • Share my experiences whether a success or epic failure. Either way there is something positive to consider
  • Write posts that showcase and inspire creativity
  • Write posts that that share little pieces of wisdom as I come across them

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What are your goals this year?

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c.b.w. 2013