Pinch, punch, the redux

It’s the first of the month! First of March! Mornings are becoming lighter, nights are descending later, birdsong is crocuses 2015sounding more exuberant.  The crocuses are out! It’s a good time for exclamation marks! The year is still young enough to make plans!

Taking stock.

On the first of every month, at least one person arrives at this blog because of an old blog post ‘Pinch, punch, first of the month and no return!’ Hello! if that’s you.  I wonder if you’re feeling hopeful about the month ahead and I wonder what it has in store for you?  More importantly, what do YOU have in store for IT?  Firsts of the month, I think, are another chance to set some goals.  It’s also an opportune time to take stock of how your plans are progressing so far.

First rejection of the year.

sad statueFor me, the first strike of reality has hit.  Yes, I’ve received my first rejection of the year.  The first punch in the gut, the first pinch to wake me up from my dream of poetic success.  Because no matter how much I told myself that I really didn’t stand a chance of being published in Poetry magazine, there was a tiny part of me that believed that maybe it could happen.  The thing about submitting your work for publication is that, until you are told “NO!” – and know for certain that you’ve failed – you kind of believe you’ve succeeded.  When the rejection comes, oof! it hurts!

mud on the tracks
Sympathetic husband visible!

How to build resilience into my plans and hopes?  No matter how loud the birds are singing and how colourful the crocuses are on our country walks, there’s always the possibility of finding mud on the tracks.  Living in Wiltshire, western side of southern England, we’re never removed from the threat of rain.  And no better how old I am, however many times it happens, being rejected is painful. I don’t think it will ever feel any better.

BUT, I’ve allowed myself one evening of moping, I’ve had a good moan to my sympathetic daughter (she’s lived through this with me before!). We admired the kind and understanding tone of the reject letter “Dear Josephine, Thanks so much for letting us have a chance with your work…” – how gracious!

I woke up at 5 on Saturday morning, sat in bed with a cup of tea talking it over with my sympathetic husband (he’s been through this before, too! and, thankfully, he’s an early riser and first class tea-maker), then fell back to sleep re-working my rejected poem in my head and considering where to send it next.  As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m sending poems out in twos and threes at the moment.  I’d only sent two to Poetry and was already convinced that one of them hadn’t stood a chance so I re-worked that and sent it out somewhere else a few weeks ago.

And, actually, I do already feel better – maybe because I have a plan about what to do next? a goal?  I don’t know.  Maybe having a plan about what to do next helps ease the pain of rejection and builds resilience.  Onwards!

Goals for March

Anyway, in the spirit of my original Pinch/Punch Post, I’ll end by outlining my goals for the March.

  • continue to write daily for at least one hour with the internet switched off
  • submit to at least one magazine (I’m aiming to submit at least once a month)
  • continue to read widely but renew my habit of making notes in a reading journal
  • continue to get out into the fresh air. Spring is coming!
  • be kind to myself and others

Thanks for reading this post.  Are you setting yourself any goals this month?  And you might like to visit my post listing free online poetry courses, I’ve just updated it here.

daffs in vase 2015
Happy St David’s Day 2015! 1st March



17 thoughts on “Pinch, punch, the redux”

  1. Ouch! However, I admire your attitude and you remind me how valuable family are to each other. Two of Oursons have been living at home for the past seven and two months; last week one left to spend a year working in China and today the last bird flew the nest to build his farming career and profile. So this first of the month is a quietly dramatic one for us. We are off for a walk on Dartmoor to ‘take stock.’ Thanks for your post Josie, it has buoyed me up.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely blog! Rejectees of the world unite! Down with the bastards! Up with the poems! Wouldn’t it be fun to run a magazine where every poem printed had to have been rejected by at least two worthy magazines before it could be sent in (with photocopies of the rejections slips as proof)? It would be called, of course, ‘Rejection’, and then people would be able to say, glumly, I’ve had six poems rejected by Rejection too.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. LOL, Nell! I’d send you my rejections any day, gladly. I think there’s room in the market also for an anthology of creative rejection notes – it takes great skill to word one imparting hope but carefully avoiding the risk of invoking delusion.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I always enjoy reading your goal-focussed blog posts, Josephine. We’re all busy being busy, but it’s so easy to lose our sense of purpose.
    I’m dealing with post-pamphlet self-doubt by working towards a better balance between activities: having the grandchildren for a two-night stay, pottering in the garden, walking in the sunshine, a day trip to London, a meal with ex-colleagues (even if that means missing my regular poetry group). And writing every day, even if it’s just a few inept lines in a notebook.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It was so close, Josephine, and I know we’ll find something of yours. Behind every poem we publish is a bit of painful rejection, but also the kind of generous persistence you describe. Best, Don

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You blog posts always lead me onto find out more about people and poems mentioned. This evening I am reading Brigflats. So thanks again for giving me all these links to help myself to. If I create nothing else this month but a reading journal….

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m having a very erratic life at the moment. But have written a couple of pieces I like. But I have got to stop posting on my blog so I can send them out. I need more discipline in that respect, except it does mean I keep writing.


    Liked by 1 person

  7. The last couple of things I’ve submitted have been rejected too so I feel your pain. But also like you I’ve experienced this before and know I always bounce back. I love spring, it’s such a lovely season and I’m sure it’ll keep us both inspired and energised to keep writing and keep the faith. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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