It's been a pretty fantastic year for Katie the Poet!
And before I get all excited about what next year will bring, I think it is equally important to kind of meditate on what this year meant, what I've accomplished, and what I could have done better as both a writer and as a person.
I remember at the beginning of this year, I was less than enthusiastic. I was feeling terribly nervous about my MFA thesis, and I was just worried about the general uncertainty of my future.
Anyway, let's flashback to January 2010 where I reflected on this:
What creative projects to work on this year?
Absolutely 100% focus must be directed towards finishing my thesis. All other noise must perish...
Once my thesis is completed, I plan to continue editing it and prepping it for submission to publishers. I'm really hoping to be able to do this by May. That would be nice :-)
Another goal - do more readings! I need to get more involved in the poetry community. Lately I've been letting myself create excuses. No more.
How did I do on this end?
Well, pretty damn good if I may say so myself B-)
My MFA thesis was finished by mid April, and I graduated a month later into the big fancy world of post-MFA. To celebrate my success, I took a trip to West Chester for their annual poetry conference, met a bunch of new friends and decided that my goal for the rest of the year would be to brush up on metrics. Which... I did! :)
As the summer finished, I decided to take another long look at the thesis manuscript. It had sufficently rested, and I had that necessary distance from it. After some polishing and with the addition of my summer writing, I was able to get it into tip top shape and start sending it out to publishers. As you know, it got picked up! I only submitted it to two publishers; it was snapped up remarkably quick.
And how about my "getting more involved in the poetry community"? I did that, too! I mean, going to West Chester was absolutely a step in the right direction there, as it opened up the world beyond just Texas to me. But also, I've kept my roots -- I'm still a Valle Poet and I've been active (but not too active!) in the poetry scene, maintaining about one reading per month. December I slacked, but really, there just wasn't much going on down here in December. I also began participating in Eratosphere, which I should probably do more of come to think of it.
Other than my planned projects, I had a few other creative projects, too. I've had the wonderful opportunity to work as an Assistant Poetry Editor at Fifth Wednesday Journal, to write book reviews for BOXCAR, and how can I forget my NaNoWriMo endeavor??? :) :) :) Creatively, I've been quite the busy bee.
Could I have done better?
I missed out on a few great opportunities (the first annual Beat Poetry Fest, and Flor de Nopal to name my two biggest regrets), and I think I could have focused a bit more on the actual creation of poetry. Also, I've got so much going on, I think I need to have better "focus" to make sure that nothing, nothing, falls to the wayside.
Next question, please!
What is taking time away from my writing?
Ugh, too many things. I love to blame work, in particular - my 2nd job. I spend so much mental energy preparing for my Saturday classes that it leaves just the scraps for poetry. This is on the chopping block. It might need to go - but not until I've put in a full year.
This I did end up chopping, but it was replaced with a lecturing position at STC. I'm still holding down two jobs, and finding time for my creativity somewhere in between. Somehow, I'm making it work! I don't see quitting either job in the near future. I actually love love love both my jobs :)
World of Warcraft.
Hah! This one went out the window. I'm not playing video games anymore. For relaxation, I've been working on my novel. LOL I've gotten pretty good at "cutting the fat" in this sense.
Exercise - believe it or not - gets in the way of my writing. Running is becoming a new obsession of mine.
Eh. I'm still running. I took a little break during November, but I've since started back up and run about twice per week. It feels good, and I actually think it helps me to clear my mind and refocus on my writing. So this, I plan to keep.
My sickness and the general atmosphere of saddness gets in the way of my writing big time. What to do about this? I'm really not sure :-
I've been really blessed with health this year. Phew!
Who supports you, and who doesn't?
My family supports me, Bruno supports me, my community of writers is great. BUT... sometimes, although it's not intentional, family drama, sadness, depression, ect in other people gets in the way of me writing. How selfish, when someone I love is in pain I only think about how it affects me. But it does. And I don't know what to do about that, either. Move away? Hell, this actually doesn't just get in the way of me writing, but me LIVING, GROWING as a human being. Sometimes I just wish I could run away from everyone, from everything, and just be myself - not a person in relation to others.
While this doesn't BUG me as much as it used to, it's still an issue. As perhaps unhealthy as this sounds (or maybe completely healthy) I'm learning to not be so... tied up in the emotions and lives of others. You're depressed? Ok, I'm here for you -- but I'm going to live my life, too. I think it's particularly difficult for women to do this, but... I'm learning. I have to!
What can I do differently this year?
Geez. Ok, well here goes - my new and improved Katie for 2011.
Katie will regiment her writing. She will write for at least an hour everyday - not including blogging.
I may not have kept up with this EVERYDAY, but I know I AT LEAST have been working on writer related things for an hour a day (most days, though, it's more like 3 hours of working on this type of thing, whether it's editing, musing, writing poetry, working on my novel, commenting on another's work, reading poetry, writing reviews...).
Katie will learn to block out negative feelings and influences, banish them from my thought processes. How will I do this? I don't know. I have a year to figure that out.
I think I kind of have this bit figured out. Anyway, it's a learning process, and I'm getting there :)
Katie has already given up alcohol. It's bad for my health, and I'm beginning to think maybe all of my health problems are related to alcohol.
Heh...heh... heh... no comment on this one. I have my health back!
So that was 2011. 2012? I'll outline my goals for you tomorrow!
Goodbye 2011! Thanks for all the fun. It was a wild wild wild ride.