Coo, I can’t believe it’s nearly a month since I last posted. I’ve had a decent sized paid project for most of the month, which has been enjoyable, plus a couple of smaller ones that have been a little odd; writing umpteen business descriptions for funeral companies is a somewhat challenging. I still enjoy it though, and like the fact that I’m supporting independent businesses, and maybe doing a tiny bit to make a horrible time easier for people. Words are important, however insignificant they initially seem.
Creative work has been productive too. I adore my new poetry school course. I’ve learnt to write in trimester, spondee, trochee and everyone’s favourite, iambic pentameter. I’ve also learnt that it’s spectacularly difficult to do well, and dangerously easy to do badly. It almost feels like writing music (I imagine), which makes absolute sense given the name of the course. I am learning so much, and love the discipline of writing in structured meter.
My fortnightly feedback course is better too; I’ve revisited a selection of work that I write on my bed days, all based on the view from my window. They’re not as dull as they sound, I promise. The work has had good feedback, and I’ve had some great input for improvements too. I almost feel as though I’m gathering a themed collection, which is what I was missing last year.
Getting a bit organised and understanding how to find a home for my work has been tricky, but very much worth doing.
It’s hard to accept the limitations of my energy sometimes (all the time) but I am getting better at realising that if I stop when my body is telling me to – before my brain physically hurts- I will be more productive in the long run. Not ideal for an inherently impatient character like myself…but essential if I’m going to achieve my goals.
I have publication news too; three more pieces have been accepted for inclusion in various online and printed lit mags. This is marvellous of course, but my goodness it takes a while for them to appear. I am learning patience is an intrinsic part of this, and quite often dates will be delayed or moved. I am learning to be more chilled. Honest.
Something I’m often asked is if I get paid for the work I have published. The answer is it varies. At this stage, I’m very much an unknown, and very much finding my way in a bewildering market. Bigger presses pay a small amount, but they attract the big names too- so competition is stronger. Smaller outfits still attract what I refer to as “proper” poets, ones with books and pamphlets published by fab indie presses and sold out slots at literary festivals, but they cannot afford to pay, until they start making money themselves. The reality is that any money is made from speaking, teaching, community projects and residencies, but of course to do these, one has to have a track record of publication, and be a poet who people respect and want to hear more from.
At this early stage I am building up a reputation and gaining a presence and identity for my work. It’s especially challenging to do this within the confines of M.E. I can’t nip off to one of the countless poetry festivals or offer to work alongside poets who work in local schools and community groups. I never say never, though, and for now the online poetry community is a wonderfully supportive and inspiring place to work, even if the accolades are slightly quieter.
Rest assured, as soon (probably to the minute) as my work is available on any platform I shall be relentlessly tweeting, instagramming and facebooking the links so there’s no chance of missing them (I know you were worried).
Thanks as ever for reading. One of the best ways you can support me – until such point as I have dozens of books to make you buy – is to repost, retweet, sign up and comment on everything you see. It makes social media think I’m popular,which means it’ll show folk my posts.
Happy vibes to you all xx