2011 Writing Goals

December 30th, 2010

For the past few years, inspired by January O’Neil, I’ve listed out my writing goals for the coming year. I want to push myself, but I want my goals to be manageable: I have learned at last in life – perhaps from mothering these boys, from leading them gently from one stage to the next, from three-letter words to six letter words, from standing on the ice to walking across it – that setting the bar unattainably high tends to discourage more than it inspires. It’s been a fine line with the Small Boy, for example, teaching him to read: leading him to what I know he is capable of without pushing him there so fast that he gives up in frustration. We had some false starts as I tried to move him too fast, and we had a long lull over the summer when I did not move along the ladder fast enough. Certainly the first year he was in hockey school I expected too much of him and very nearly turned him from the sport that has become his six year old passion and which has taught him so much; because of that experience we are handling Boychen’s time on the ice much differently. I try to treat myself with that same balance and gentleness – pushing but never too hard; setting goals, but never too high – that I’ve finally found with the boys.

I also believe in making specific goals, goals with numbers and dates, whenever possible – I learned that from January’s poetry action plans. It’s easier to be accountable with numbers attached: did I write 52 poems or did I not? And making my goals public, here, also pushes me to accountability.

So here are my writing goals for 2011:

  • write 52 new poems
  • send out 20 submission packages
  • attend a juried workshop, preferably this one
  • have a contest-ready chapbook manuscript by 1 September (did I really just say that out loud?)
  • write two blog posts a week
  • read 52 poetry books in 2011

And just to make sure I keep my life bigger than my notebooks, I plan on continuing with my armchair bird watching (which Marge would say could only improve my poetry) and registering for a photography class.