So. Yeah. 2016. Way to really suck. That’s the general consensus, right? This story easily represents its trajectory: I PR’d in March when I ran a 5K at a sub-10:00 pace, but by year’s end I was barely running at all and gaining weight. By other measures — including the infamous election results and my mood (which is definitely related) — the downward spiral was the same. Sure, there were times in 2016 in which I couldn’t have been happier, but I ended the year (and started the new one) crying on the floor of a hotel bathroom, “All is lost, and nothing good is coming. And why did I have so much to drink?”
That’s why I was totally surprised when I started evaluating progress on my official 2016 writing /poetry goals (which I recently had to repost after realizing I’d somehow managed to delete them). According to my mood related to writing in 2016, I believed I’d failed every goal I’d set. Turns out, I totally nailed it.
I have hardly anything to show for it in terms of publication credits, however, and maybe that’s where I was going wrong emotionally. It’s a false measure, and I know it. In fact, nowhere in my goals does it say PUBLISH OR PERISH (or any such nonsense). Instead, it says PUT IN THE WORK. And I did (which I didn’t realize until I took this look back).
Goal #1 / Finish revisions on poetry manuscript & send it out.
SUCCESS! –> I completed the revisions, and I sent it out to 13 calls-for-submission & contests. I also received 13 rejections. While I was discouraged (overall), I did feel good that 1/4-1/3 of them were returned with notes indicating the manuscript was a strong contender.
Goal #2 / Write 6 new drafts each month (including 3 poems)
SUCCESS! –> I wrote 27 blog posts, 2 essays and (at least) 38 poems.
Goal #3 / Submit work regularly (specifically: submit to 25 publications over the course of the year)
SUCCESS! –> In 2016, I submitted poems to 24 publications. I received 20 rejections. I had 2 poems published & 1 forthcoming. One is still under review.
Goal #4 / (Re)establish community (specifically: attend 1 poetry event or write review each month & start a new online prompt community)
- Albany Poets Presents Dan Wilcox (February)
- The last Live from the Living Room (March)
- Arthur’s Market (May & September)
- Albany Poets Presents Mary Panza (June)
- Second Sunday (September)
- Poets Speak Loud (October)
- Breathing Lights (November)
I started an online poetry prompt community (Not A Literary Journal). I also deactivated that community after it failed to get off the ground.
Goal #5 / Go on 3 poetry “adventures”
SUCCESS! –> I completed 5 plus a surprise one from my man:
- Saratoga (solo, January)
- Saratoga (with jillypoet, April)
- boudoir photo shoot (May)
- Rochester road trip (to see Sarah Freligh & have a mini “boot camp,” July)
- day trip to The Clark (with jillypoet, September)
- hike to the Overlook Hotel (the surprise poetry adventure, October)
Soon, I’ll set my 2017 writing/poetry goals. Spoiler alert: they’ll probably look a lot like these. (BTW, I know this is really only interesting to me, but the blog helps me document things like this. So suck it up, Buttercup.)