April is finished, thank goodness, it's been a tough month for a variety of reasons. Now I can do a review of my efforts over GloPoWriMo, the Global Poetry Writing Month - my attempts to write at least one, sometimes two poems a day for my two online courses.
I wrote 22 poems that I consider done or almost done and 12 poems that still need a lot of work or will probably never make it past draft stage. There are also some drafts that I couldn't see going anywhere, so I haven't counted them. That's just over 30, so I'm very pleased with that. Some days I wrote nothing, some I wrote two, but I sat down regularly enough to have a poem a day for the month.
Forcing myself to write a rough draft of a poem a day has pushed me to not avoid difficult subjects, to delve deeper into moments that have weight for me, but might not necessarily be an interesting telling on the face of it at first. I have pushed myself to write even when I'm not in the mood or don't like where my writing is going. Sometimes just ranting on the page or exploring those emotionally charged subjects helps me to deal with them in a healthier way than bottling them up and letting them fizz inside me until I explode over nothing.
The online courses have also allowed me to join in a wider virtual community of writers, in the UK and Ireland. We support each other in the rough draft stages, but we also celebrate when we have poems published and do a bit of networking when opportunities come up. It's nice to see familiar names in journals and know that you will also be remembered when they scroll or flip past your work. Being so far away from my writing groups and publishing work in Scotland, from the collectives I spent so long finding my space in, it's reassuring to have that sense of community again but also to not just be a lone voice in the writing darkness.
I've gone back to one of the online pages that the tutor has left open for former participants and will continue to try and write a daily poem draft there to keep up my momentum and to keep my mind focused. Writing daily has also meant I have more poems to submit, so am getting more work published and have a better chance of being seen by publishers. Just need to find one to take one of my collections.
It reminds me a lot of my friend who decided to try running to lose weight. She didn't necessarily enjoy it, but after a few days she liked the idea of keeping track of how many days she had done in a row. It became an obsession with her, not to miss a day, even if that meant mostly walking or going on a treadmill, she did her run every day. Last I heard the number was in years rather than days. She's run a few marathons, lost tons of weight and now really enjoys it. Sometimes it's something as simple as watching the numbers that keep you going. I don't track every day I write, but I do track how many poems I write each year, how many I submit and how many get rejected or published. I enjoy seeing those numbers tick upwards as well as finishing a poem and knowing it works.
I hope you find whatever works for you, to keep you writing. Keep on trucking.