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