My Super Official, Super Serious Poetry Action Plan (h/t to Poet Mom!)

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moon rocket at kennedy space center

So that’s a rocket. It’s here to “launch” me on my way to reaching my writing goals for this year. Yes, that’s right: I’ve started 2016 off with a really bad pun, and I’m not even sorry.

My sons and I are fresh off an amazing Florida vacation during which we spent a day at the Kennedy Space Center. This photo, from the Apollo/Saturn V Center, is the bottom of the Saturn V, which NASA describes as “the largest rocket ever made.” It says on the website, “This monumental 363-foot rocket was America’s lunar transportation for 27 brave astronauts who traveled to the moon and back, fulfilling the dreams and imagination of people around the world.”

Certainly, then, it should be easy enough for it to also carry my poetry/writing aspirations for the year, provided I am a brave little astronaut!

And so here we go!


Finish revisions on poetry manuscript & send, send, send it out
By March 1 at the latest, I will

  • remove approximately 5 poems
  • write 2-3 new poems
  • dramatically revise 3-5 poems
  • re-order as necessary and
  • continue the search for a publisher.

Write 6 new drafts each month
These can be poems, essays or blog posts, but at least 3 must be poems. (This goal commences March 1, after this round of manuscript revisions are “done”).

Submit work regularly
While getting my MFA, I dropped the ball on this, but for 2016, I will submit work to a total of 25 publications. That’s 2/month, plus one for good luck.

(Re)establish community
I love poetry community, and aside from keeping in touch with my MFA cohorts, I’ve been absent from it. I want to fix that in 2016. Specifically,

  • I will attend at least 1 poetry event each month and/or write 1 book review (I used to go to half a dozen poetry readings and open mics each month. I used to write/publish reviews. My schedule is much more complicated now than it used to be, but that’s no excuse for my attendance and review publishing to have dropped to zero.)
  • I will develop a new online poetry community (I used to write with other poets online. It’s where I nurtured my passion. It’s time to see if it can work again.)

Go on 3 poetry “adventures”
These will probably be local. More than likely, they will also be unorganized and spontaneous (like an inspiring trip to a cool town or museum) instead of conferences/workshops, but I’m not ruling those out.

What this will require of me:**

  • track progress
  • attempt 1 writing-related task each day no matter how small
  • commit — and schedule — a set amount of time (aiming for 8-10 hours/week; will adjust as needed)
  • reclaim time/energy where possible (such as limiting social media and buckling down for 1 or 2 larger blocks of time each weekend)
  • stay flexibility and
  • have fun.

The fun, of course, cannot be underestimated. That’s what I’ve learned post-MFA… it can become “about” The Book or The Research Paper or The Defense, but when all is said and done what remains is the love of the thing.

So tell me, creative people of Earth — what kinds of goals do you set? How do you hold yourself accountable?

Rocket Garden and sunset at Kennedy Space Center

*Something stolen from modeled very closely after January O’Neil (Poet Mom), who is one of the most productive people I know.

**I drafted an earlier version of this plan with Jill Crammon (jillypoet) at Eagle Lake at the end of summer 2015.

NOTE: This is a recreation of a post I somehow deleted. I used the Wayback Machine to help me locate it! Phew!