Obviously what I've been needing to get my poetry writing going again is daily prompts and rough deadlines. One week into Wendy Pratt's online poetry course and I've written five poems. Almost a poem a day which is unhead of for me. They're coming together quickly and solidly. The prompts aren't earth-shatteringly complicated or different from ones I've done in the past. They're all focused around nature and our place within it and relationship to it. Some ask for a specific structure or form, others don't. There's no problem if you go off topic or don't follow the form. The main goal is to get us writing.
We can if we choose, post our poems on a secret Facebook page and the feedback is mostly positive with a bit of critical suggestions. The writers are all of varying level, so we're mostly trying to encourage. I'm missing more critical feedback, but that's what I thrive on. There's over 40 people on the course and you're lucky to get 5-7 comments, including Wendy's. I'd maybe like the opportunity to submit one poem for finer feedback from Wendy, but in reality she'd have to charge more than a tenner for that, just for the time it takes, time forty students. So for what it is, the course is good value for money. Some of these poems I wouldn't have written without the course, others I had in the back of my mind and I found a prompt to fit. All new writing is good.
Can I keep this up after this course finishes or should I sign up for Wendy's next course, which she's hinted will be on age/aging? I'm not sure. In theory, she's not offering anything I couldn't do myself. A daily prompt and some basic feedback. I can find a prompt from my books or my head, I can use my writing group more for poetry which I did do last week. But there's something different about someone else taking the lead, coming up with the prompts, setting a deadline, a group atmosphere even if it's unlikely that anyone would notice if I didn't post a poem.
And it's obviously working for me. I'm enjoying the pressure and challenge and I even like some of my poems, others I will continue to work on.
The University of Iowa fiction course continues to flail. This week's section again has issues with the discussion questions. One question is pasted in 3 times. But I have enjoyed the most recent podcast I watched, the author actually had a bit of a screen presence and was discussing problems similar to what I'm having in my book. I've written that difficult scene and am now moving on to editing the following one, so that's a good thing. I'll keep pushing on.
My youngest went back to nursery on Monday so I've had a bit more time to work in the mornings, almost interruption free as the older kids either go out or disappear in the house with their books or toys. I'm trying to write my poem, do a chunk of the fiction course in the morning and then proof my and post my poem online in the evening and hope for feedback.