The first word

January 3rd, 2009

Goals, resolutions. Lists. I love them. I may break them but I can’t help but make them. I love a new calendar, an empty journal, a clean page. The first day of the year – for that matter the first minute of the day if I could only wake up every day remembering this – is like the first word of a poem. It’s just starting and there is that tingling feeling in my brain and my heart and my fingers that tells me the poem is going somewhere and there is the whole rest of the page to fill and I’m writing with a new pen. The first word…a poem could take off in any one of a dozen different directions after that first word, the lines skittering off like rabbit tracks in the snow. The first day…a year could go anywhere starting from that first day.

Here’s where I want my year to go:

  • Write (at least) fifty-two poems
  • Send out (at least) twelve submission packages. At least ten of these need to be realistic journals but once or twice I can shoot for the moon.
  • Subscribe to four new journals
  • Attend one writing workshop, retreat or class
  • Read (at least) twelve new collections

The goals are mine, the specificity comes from January’s suggestions on meeting your writing goals. Specificity is a good thing. Numbers are reassuring. I’ve written one poem already, and I’ve smiley-faced it off my list.

The first word. The first word is the best word, because anything can happen next.