What are your plans for the summer? Are things staying the same or do you have a project in mind? Maybe it isn’t summer where you are but what are your plans, anyway? Here in the UK, I’ve been away from a regular, paid job since 1st May. This is intentional, I’m trying to use the time to write more and to be with my family. My 16 year old daughter has been on holiday since she finished her GCSE exams in mid-June. My 14 year old son finishes school next week and we’re all off (me, husband, teenagers) to north Portugal for a family holiday. I’m wondering where writing is going to fit into all of this. But I’m determined to squeeze it in, somehow!
I’m still reading through the submissions I received for And Other Poems and scheduling poems to appear in the Autumn. As soon as I’ve responded to everyone who sent poems, which if I put my mind to it and get on with it, should be by early next week, I’d really, really like to clear my desk and focus on my own writing. I keep a list of poems I’ve made some progress with but haven’t yet finished and whenever I’m given a block of time, I try to focus on completing some. A few poems have been there for several years. So I’d like to be able to devote myself to this list and will certainly be taking it with me on holiday. Although there’ll be Wi-Fi, I’m going to try to unplug which I know will free-up an hour or two a day.
Later on today, Sunday, I’m going to a workshop in Bradford-on-Avon with Philip Gross. I heard him read in Bath once and liked his work and liked him so when Dawn Gorman sent details of the workshop, I signed up. It will be a treat to be away from the house, away from my everyday life, and to have the chance to think about writing.
In terms of my writing and submissions generally, I haven’t had a huge amount of success this year but, importantly for me, this hasn’t affected my mood or my writing confidence (much!). Sure, I’ve been disappointed but I haven’t allowed my disappointment to swamp my writing energy. Time away from my poems while they’ve been out for consideration has given me much-needed distance from my work, so I’ve been able to re-assess a poem with a cool eye when it’s been returned to me, rejected. I’ve recognised flaws, re-drafted and sent out again, somewhere else. I’ve also acknowledged what’s good about a poem, what’s working and, in one instance, I hardly changed a poem at all, decided it’s a good poem, not for that particular editor, too bad, sent it out to another. This is a big change and a sign that I’m becoming much more confident about my work (this week, in any case – yes, I fluctuate madly).
I fully intend to allow myself some time off over the summer. To read more. This is crucial to my writing so I’m packing a few books in my suitcase. Although I own an e-Reader, I much prefer to read physical books, I find it more relaxing. I’m going to make a few notes about what I’m reading, start writing a reading journal again. I find it very difficult to talk about books, to say why precisely what it is about a piece of writing that moves me. It might be a confidence thing and a self-consciousness. Writing about such matters on this blog feels quite exposing but I’d like to overcome my nervousness and have a go at writing about what I’m reading. It’s on my list of things I’d like to do.
Well, I’ve shared a few of my plans for the summer, perhaps you’d like to tell me what you’ll be up to? Hope you enjoy yourself, whatever you do.