Kinda Sorta Goals For 2016

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I’m trying something a little different this year when it comes to setting goals. I’ve been very specific in the past and that has served me well as a planner, but my muse has been less than cooperative. For example, one of my 2015 goals was to start writing the sequel to The Muse. My muse disagreed with that goal and remained stubbornly silent on that project. We’re still not on speaking terms when it comes to this sticky subject.

I’m as driven as ever to get my novel published (somehow, some way). I have a million ideas for the The Muse’s sequel and truly do want to start writing the continuing saga of Amanda and Ian. As far as poetry goes, I’m writing haiku for multiple competitions and forums. There’s also this blog and a shelf full of craft projects!

Clearly, I have a lot of projects burning a hole in my muse pocket.

Instead of setting incredibly specific goals my muse ignores anyway, perhaps big picture goals are the way to go.

Kinda Sorta Goals:

Write, write, and write some more.

At the core of everything is my fierce desire to write. Whether it’s poetry, novels, or funky articles about knitting, my central goal will always be writing in any form.

My muse takes me a in all different directions and frequently changes her mind! I’m just going to go with the flow and keep my pen moving.

Stay optimistic and keep trying.

My go with flow mentality doesn’t mean I’m losing my determined edge! The Muse is a still a huge priority and I’ll be doing everything I can to get it published. Whether its through the traditional channels or self-publishing, it’s about time this thing saw the light of day!

The same goes for poetry. I’m going to grab onto any opportunity I can to submit to competitions, journals, etc.

Join the community.

My participation in the Poetic Asides community has inspired me to seek out other groups of writers. I’ve joined a few new groups, but have yet to fully participate (sometimes I just like to sit under the radar and get a sense of how the community functions). As 2016 unfolds, I’m hoping to find my groove in new poetry communities, but also among Young Adult writers.

This might mean searching for communities in the blogosphere and/or social media. Either way, I’m looking to connect with more people who like to write what I like to write. Maybe they can offer some advice on publication or some good old fashioned encouragement? We’ll see!

Experiment.

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. Writing the same thing in the same way all the time. I want to see my writing continue to grow into something fresh and engaging. That means playing with fictional techniques and haiku formats. In addition, I want to see myself write something totally different.  The possibilities are endless if I consider a different genre or poetic form.

This same sense of experimentation also applies to my craft table. I want to try new crafts (like painting and beading) and expand my knitting and photography skills.

Trust the muse.

My muse always knows best. I have to remember to get out her way and let her speak.

Word of the Year: Enthusiasm

Weird goals aside, I want this year to be about hopeless enthusiasm that can’t be cured. No matter where this crazy journey takes me, I’m jumping in with everything I’ve got.

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What are your kinda sorta goals for 2016?

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c.b.w. 2016

2015 Goals: October & November Status Report

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Somehow October got away from me, so it’s going to hang out with November for this round of goal assessment. It’s been two months of ups and downs, but for the most part my muse is on a roll.

1. Work towards getting The Muse published.

It’s been a rough couple of months on this front! I sent out four query packages (just shy of my goal of five) in October. Out of those four, I received one written rejection and three assumed rejections. The assumed rejections are due to the fact that I got the silent treatment. Oooo, that’s painful! All part of process, I suppose!

During November, I put all my focus on the Poem A Day Challenge on Poetic Asides (see #3 below), so I didn’t send out any additional query packages.

I intend on starting a new round of queries after the holiday craziness calms down a bit.:-)

2. Start writing Lineage.

One the shelf for the time being thanks to poetry pursuits.

3. Submit poetry.

Once again, I participated in the Poetic Asides community via Writer’s Digest for Wednesday prompts and the 2015 November Poem A Day Challenge.

For the challenge I wrote between three and four haikus per day. The end goal of the challenge is to construct a chapbook of poems from the challenge and submit the manuscript. The winning chapbook is published!

I’m in the process of experimenting with a possible concept for my chapbook. There was a reason why I wrote a minimum of three haiku for each prompt. Now it’s time to see if my idea is going to work. Stay tuned!

Results for the 2015 April Poem A Day Challenge (via Poetic Asides onWriter’s Digest) were finally updated again. I am excited to announce that I’ve scored another Top 10 finish!! You’ll see me listed just below the halfway point. YAY!

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National Haiku Writing Month’s daily prompts via NaHaiWriMo’s Facebook Page offered up some interesting prompts. I completed both October and November prompts.

4. Don’t give up or get distracted.

After the epic failure of October’s query packages, it was tough to stay focused. However, the PAD Challenge helped keep me grounded and motivated me to stay in the game. I’m still going strong and I’m not about to give up!

5. Be flexible.

See #3.

My experiment for my PAD Chapbook entry is definitely challenging me to look at haiku from a different perspective. The concept didn’t occur to me until a week into the challenge, so I’m going to have to go back and reconfigure a few things. I have no idea if my idea is going to work, but I’m excited to give it a try. Details will be forthcoming!

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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

Delayed Sharing

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Every Wednesday I wait for two things: 1. the new episode of Arrow (I LOVE this show). 2. The new poetry prompt on Poetic Asides (via Writer’s Digest).

As soon as Arrow is over, I sit down with my poetry journal and consider the day’s poetry prompt. Sometimes I’m able to punch out a trio of haikus in fifteen minutes, but then there’s those weeks where it’ll take me a few days to figure out just one haiku. I love the challenge no matter how long it takes my muse to find the words.

Recently, I wrote about completing A Year of Haiku. Aside from sheer love of the craft and prompts from National Haiku Writing Month, I credit the prompts on Poetic Asides with helping me complete my haiku project. After all, my initial inspiration for a year of haiku came from prepping for last year’s November Poem A Day Challenge. At the conclusion of the challenge, I opted to continue visiting the site for weekly prompts as another source of inspiration. From there the goal of writing and submitting poetry for each week’s prompt was born.

I’ve kept up with the weekly goal without fail. However, I realized I’ve rarely shared the poetry I write for Poetic Asides outside of the comment section on the site. I’m not really sure why that is, but I think its time for that to change!

Here’s a sampling of the haikus I’ve written for recent prompts.

September 16, 2015
Prompt: hesitation

I.
fear of frost
stalls the garden
far too long

II.
our last words
at best unkind
I almost called

September 23, 2015
Prompt: spectacular

I.
yellow birch
gleaming gold
fall’s first day

II.
stones sparkle
a million
white moons

October 7, 2015
Prompt: spooky

I.
crows spike
midnight branches
full moon

II.
loons call nonstop
and then suddenly
— silence

III.

spiders crawl
where moonlight
does not shine

October 14, 2015
Prompt: watching the world go by

I.
sparrows fly
branch to feeder
seeds scatter

II.
passing cars
clip a pothole
birds scatter

III.
blue sky
turns to gold
clouds scatter

In the coming weeks, I’m hoping to make it habit of posting what I write for Wednesday Poetry Prompts as it occurs rather than in one big clump. Hope you’re in the mood for poetry!

What would you write for these prompts?

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c.b.w. 2015

A Year of Haiku

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It all started with a journal and a goal. The journal had been sitting on my shelf for quite some time – I was saving it for something special as it had a gorgeous suede cover embossed with maple leaves. The goal came from a newfound love of haiku that started with haikubes and grew to an all out obsession after participating in a poem-a-day challenge.

When I realized writing haiku was a full-blown passion, I decided to fully immerse myself in the practice. That meant writing at least one haiku every single day. Suddenly my beautiful suede journal had a purpose!

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A beautiful journal for a haiku challenge!

While it sounds easy enough to write three lines (or less) of poetry each day, the comes with its fair share of challenges. In September 2014, I started the process by using haikubes, but quickly found it was very time consuming and didn’t always lend itself to what I wanted to express.

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My first attempts were quite overwritten with metaphors and superfluous language. Haiku should instead be clean and simple.

So, I started looking out my window, where I found loads of inspiration from the birds, changing sunlight, and weather. From there, I simply focused my lens of observation anywhere I happened to be.  I have haikus scribbled on napkins, typed on my cell phone, and written on the back of receipts. There are little moments happening all the time and the practice of haiku has helped me open my eyes to see them.

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The last page of my journal puts the first page in perspective. These last entries are little closer to the true spirit of haiku.

Hungry for more, I sought more inspiration and found it on National Haiku Writing Month’s Facebook page. While February is technically the official Haiku Writing Month, the organization offers daily prompts during every month. While challenging, the prompts allowed me to dig even deeper into my haiku writing practice. So deep in fact, I started writing well outside the traditional 5-7-5 format.

The jump from 5-7-5 to contemporary haiku was a big one, but I don’t regret it. While the rules are a bit more relaxed, the challenge remains in place. Instead of 17 total syllables, I aim to keep my haiku at 12 syllables or less. This decision in itself made me realize how far my evolution has gone – instead of adhering to strict guidelines, I am finding my own voice and rules within the established form. I’m not afraid to be myself and experiment.

My most recent shift in haiku occurred recently. Reading contemporary English-language haiku opened up a new format called monoku or single line haiku. One line captures all the essential elements of haiku and is usually under 10 syllables. While simple, it is also incredibly difficult. That said, I am fascinated by this form and will continue to play with it.

On October 9, 2015, my haiku journal project was completed. I filled every page (front and back) with haikus I felt were the best I could make them (so many more remain in draft form in my “brainstorming” journals). All told, my journal holds 880 haikus. Upon reflection it is quite astounding to see where I started and where I ended up in terms of form, style, and technique.

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Page after page of haiku!

Even after 880 haikus, I feel like I’m just getting started. Hence, the start of a new project – another journal is prepped and ready to go. Between the personal satisfaction and inklings of publication (local and online journals) my haiku practice has brought me, all I want to do is write more. Whether it’s the traditional  5-7-5 or ultra-modern monoku, I am anxious to see what another year of haiku will bring.

 

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c.b.w. 2015

2015 Goals: September Status Report

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1. Work towards getting The Muse published.

It was a relatively good month on this front. I sent out four query packages, including one with a (finally!) completed one-page synopsis. This is my first time sending a synopsis with a pitch, so I’m interested to see what sort of response it elicits (if any).

Within days of sending this round, I received a rejection. It was actually personalized and very nice. While disappointing, it’s also  a testament to the fact that I’m trying. I’m not afraid of being rejected or failing. I’m more afraid of falling into the trap of not trying at all!

Next month, I plan on sending out at least five more query packages. Here’s hoping something good happens!

2. Start writing Lineage.

My muse has been oddly silent on this project (especially since it was so chatty in August). I did however, jot down more dialogue notes and have started to consider creating a general outline.

3. Submit poetry.

Once again, I participated in the Poetic Asides community via Writer’s Digest. As always, I find the prompts challenging and the community inspiring.

Results for the 2015 April Poem A Day Challenge (via Poetic Asides onWriter’s Digest) have not been updated in a while, so I’m still waiting to see how the rest of that competition plays out – 19 days are still up for grabs.

National Haiku Writing Month’s daily prompts via NaHaiWriMo’s Facebook Page were incredibly challenging this month. I am currently seven days behind and have learned the letter “u” is not my friend when it comes to haiku! Still, I intend on catching up before October prompts begin.

4. Don’t give up or get distracted.

The letter “u” was a serious thorn in my side, but other than that I managed to stay relatively on track. I intended to send out five query packages, but I settled for four because I finally completed a synopsis (something I’ve been trying to do for more than a year). Sometimes focus has a mind of its own and forces you to adjust your goals. And that’s okay! Hence, #5 below …

5. Be flexible.

See #4.

I’ve also continued experimenting with monoku. The more I play with it, the more I love it. I’m seriously toying with the idea of writing nothing but monokus for NaHaiWriMo’s October prompts. Full immersion in a practice always yields the most interesting results!

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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