Reflections of the past year, and goals for the new year

Happy Holidays everyone!  I hope you have all been enjoying the holiday season and its many celebrations.  I have been blessed with health, warmth, meals, and friends, and yes – some truly wonderful gifts, including some new poetry books.

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to catch up with a friend from Washington.  She and I are penpals, and she was asking me just when she was going to see some of my poetry again.  Since the beginning of the year, my poetry to her has trickled down to nothing, and I’ve been substituting pictures in exchange for poems along with my letters.

As we talked, we shared our experiences with creative cycling, and I bemoaned my nearly 12-month poetic dryspell.  I’ve written only a handful of poems this year with which I can feel any remote sense of satisfaction.  Despite the absence of poetry, I’ve worked in a rainbow of creative media include photography, essaying, and of course—blogging.  However, of all the many artistic media I enjoy, poetry is one of my first and truest loves.

This December concludes my first year in my new home in Pennsylvania.  It’s been a very unique, challenging, and exciting year.  Since October, I’ve been crafting my goals for 2007.  While I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions, I am dedicated to goal-setting, and it seemed appropriate this year to set some for the new year.

I’d like to put “poetry writing” at the top of my list – but I know better.  My poetry doesn’t work like that.  Some refer to it as organic writing, but for me it’s essentially my own personal relationship with poetry – she’s a fickle lover and I’ve learned to accept her philandering in exchange for the passionate times we share when she returns.

Instead, I’m setting my project goals on items I know I can act on: submit more work, experiment with new media, complete open projects, and stretch myself to embrace new ones.  I have an essay from a few years back that I intend to resurrect, several poems written before my big move that I intend to polish and send out into the world, and a new camera to play with and hopefully improve my photographic craft.  Perhaps if I get busy enough with other new and exciting work, my poetic muse will get jealous, and come back for another fling.

How about you?  Are you setting goals for the new calendar year?


8 Responses to Reflections of the past year, and goals for the new year

  1. jason evans says:

    Sounds like an exciting year Jade! I’m up here sitting over Philadelphia (32 stories up, at least) thinking about what you asked–my goals for next year. I suppose first and foremost, I want to buckle down and finish my novel. Beyond that, I’m not entirely sure.

  2. Anita Marie says:

    Hi Jade!
    I certainly have set some goals for myself; I’ve decided to continue working on my short stories at my blog and I’ve started to work on my book-so my goal is to make that draft a priority for the next three months.

    I know some writers feel you need to focus on the book and let the short stories drop to the side, but I enjoy writing so much that I’m not ready to do that.

    What do you think? Focus on the book or continue or stick to a path that I feel comfortable on?

    Anita Marie

  3. JLB says:

    Jason, Sounds like a great place to think! When I lived in Washington, I liked to think on the ferries. I like to leave plenty of open-endedness in my goals for the year… new opportunities arise and shake up my whole plan. But like you, there are one or two things that I can pin down that I want to keep at the top of my list.

    Anita Marie, I think you can have your cake, and eat it too! I find that I am often my most creative when my plate is overflowing with things to do. Further, when I’m tackling a really enormous project, it can be extremely helpful to have side projects as diversions so you can step back from the big task, and return with a fresh perspective. Every writer/artist has their own approach – I think you should embrace what feels right for you!

    Thanks as always for stopping by! I have lots of catching up to do over at your blog – I look forward to next year’s stories!

  4. Ester says:

    Wish you all the best for your creative endeavors. I know that my creative dry times feel so awful, and still I force myself to just keep going – one day at a time (or hour at a time even). The strange thing is that sometimes I’ll look back over the things I’ve made during those dry times and realize that they were some really good works. So I’d say, don’t give up even when it feels dry, just put your words on paper anyway- even write about how you’re feeling dry and turn that into poetry.

    I’ve had two long periods in my life when I did no drawing, about 3 years at a time. I had made the choice to put my energies into other avenues. But each time that I picked up a pencil again, my style had changed dramatically. It was as if my personality had stretched into something new, and an old phase was over. Perhaps this is what you are going through? Might be some great hope for you as there could be clear light at the end of this dry spell for you.

    Have a great New Year Jade! 🙂

  5. spyscribbler says:

    Good luck with your goals! I’ve been certainly thinking about my goals for the next year and beyond. I want to do some more poetry writing, too. I don’t expect it to be anything better than crap, but I just want to do it because I think it will strengthen my writing skills.

    Onward and upward!

  6. Bernita says:

    No goals – just hopes.

  7. Hi JLB & happy 2007. Good luck with breaking the dry spell in poetry, though perhaps it’s good for those of us who enjoy your nature photos that you’re able to channel your creativity elsewhere.

    I’m curious to know, what poetry books did you get over the holidays and have you read enough to recommend them yet?

  8. JLB says:

    Ester, thank you so much for your words of encouragement. I love the idea of reemerging with a refined voice!

    Spy Scribbler, good luck to you as well! I think that if you find yourself inclined to write poetry – for whatever reason – you should go for it. You may surprise yourself!

    Bernita, hopes are good!

    Caroline, happy new year to you as well! I am looking forward to all the surprises ahead. As for the poetry books – Tagore! Rabindranath Tagore has been a favorite of mine for a while now (ok, favorite is relative…). Anyways, I received a copy of Gitanjali, and The Gardener. I’ve read parts of both over the past week, but even with out finishing them, I can most DEFINITELY recommend any and all works by Tagore. His work is always a pleasure to read!

    I’m also still working my way through a two-volume collection of contemporary works. What I love most about poetry books of any kind is the ability to just throw the book open to any page, read what’s there, and enjoy… although the books that have been with me the longest have a tendency to fall open to the same poems. 😉

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