If you have children of a certain age, January 1 is far less meaningful than that certain day in late August when the kids go back to school and you're suddenly in a regular routine again.
So I decided that I would set some new monthly goals to keep me moving forward with intention as poet (it's pretty easy to let freelancing and part-time gig work fill up every scrap of available time) and that I would check in here at the start of each new month to help myself be accountable to myself.
Here are the goals I set out with:
- read one craft book
- read two poetry collections or one anthology
- read one nonfiction book on a topic of interest
- draft four new poems
- take three outings
- attend two readings or classes
- make three regular submissions and two contest submissions
For September, I wasn't perfect, but I got a start.
- read one craft book: I started, but have not yet finished, Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within by Kim Addonizio.
- read two poetry collections or one anthology: I read Let's Not Live on Earth by Sarah Blake and started re-reading Ariel: The Restored Edition by Sylvia Plath. I also spent soem time reading early W.S. Merwin from his selected works.
- read one nonfiction book on a topic of interest: I completed Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb, a book about therapy.
- draft four new poems: I had this part completed by mid-month! I've begun spending time each morning to read the newspaper and cut out particularly interesting items and pasting them in a spiral notebook, which helps me engage with the world and often prompts new work. I also had a big outpouring of related poems that might be part of a long piece at the end of the month.
- take three outings: I overdid things in this department. I went to the Freer|Sackler Gallery to hear Malekeh Nayiny speak about her photographs, a part of the My Iran exhibit; I saw the Jones Benally Family Dancers perform at the Library of Congress; I saw Margaret Atwood speak with Rebecca Traister on her new book at the Lincoln Theater; and I went to the launch of Civic Power by K. Sabeel Rahman and Hollie Russon Gilman at New America.
- attend two readings or classes: again, I overachieved. I took two classes--Art Wellness with Liz Montague at the Lemon Collective, and Telling It Slant: Queer(ing) Form, a MoonLit workshop with Malik K. Thompson, at Loyalty Books. I also went to The Inner Loop's September reading.
- make three regular submissions and two contest submissions: I fell a bit short here, with two regular submissions and one contest submission.
As I said before--not a perfect month, but I met or exceeded four goals and progressed on the rest. On to October--another chance to balance family, work, and art!