Thursday, 5 January 2012

Looking back - looking forward

My writing 'stuff', files and reference books mixed up with other books - a tidy needed, I think!
I've been looking back over my writing year, seeing what I achieved, any progress made and where I am going this year.

Last year I sort of set myself a target of sending out at least two items a month for either possible publication or competition entries.  It is always a good idea to set low targets because if you aim too high you are more likely to fail and then feel despondent.

In January I submitted to four different places, two competitions, one with two poems, one to another and two hopeful publications.  One, Poetry on the Move, halted its publication and has never yet got back to publishing and I wonder if it will so those poems are still 'hanging there'. (Just checked them out and they seem to have disappeared!)

February came and I submitted three poems to two different competitions - no luck there either.

Not sure what happened in March but I have a feeling I wasn't very well and nothing got sent out but I kept on blogging!  In April I submitted a short story to a competition - no luck.

In May I went mad and entered five pieces, one was to a webzine and I got close to publication but they said the last two lines of my poem were weak!  One was a postcard comp with the Arvon Foundation (no luck), another to Poetry London (no luck) and two to Areopagus, both published and one was awarded first prize in their summer competition.

June and July I entered three competitions in each month (one was a mini saga) and a couple had three poems entered (no luck).

August I took off from writing much - I needed a break!

In September I entered a short Story to Best magazine (no joy there).  In October I had two poems published in the Workbook of OU Poets and they are out for voting on by members to see if I get published in their Anthology later in this year.

In November I entered three poems into a competition and three to Areopagus and Areopagus printed all three (where would I be without them?!)

Last month (December) I entered one poem to Holland Park Press - too early for any result on that.

Last year I decided to really give writing a go after reading and working through a particular book on writing (the name escapes me but it was mentioned here at the beginning of last year).  Although I didn't follow the book completely and detested the free writing every day, I did get something from it as some of the free writing tuned into poems and potential short stories.  So I booked up some courses for later in the year and I sent for some free samples of magazines on writing and subscribed to some new publications.  I read a lot more poetry and began writing more. I went to a poetry reading and an open mic session.  So although I haven't achieved a great deal in publication I do feel I have  moved on.  My writing had become a bit stuck earlier last year, but now I feel I've moved forward slightly.

It is easy to get depressed as a writer, knock-back after knock-back but I take comfort and encouragement from the feedback I have had from the courses I've done this year, both from fellow writers and the tutors.  It means I am not completely wasting my time, that others do like what I write and that I should keep going (in fact I can't imagine life without writing something!).  I am always blown away when someone says something good about my writing because as a writer you always wonder if you are fooling yourself!

So what about 2012?  Well, I am still doing my course at Morley College in London and I will keep writing and reading and submitting to publications/competitions.  I will try and stick to the same targets as last year (I don't think there is much chance of me doing more yet!).  More than that I cannot say at present.  I did hear about a poetry course run by the Arvon Foundation (the elite for writing courses) but I heard too late because already it's fully booked. I must try to find out when there will be another course.  So many people have praised their courses (they do courses in short story writing etc. as well) and my class tutor has done a course with them.

Whatever this year brings I will be here to write about it - the good, the bad, the ugly!  I hope you will be here too and that you will find something worth reading, an exercise inspiring or the whole thing funny!  Whatever your thoughts, do comment now and then, it makes all the difference.

Happy writing!

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