Revamping Poetry

cxyhfbkc0vs-calum-macaulayI was a little undecided about entering into the Writer’s Digest Chapbook Challenge from all of November’s poetry. I just didn’t feel like anything gelled and I was at a loss for how I could put the poetry together into a collection.  Well, then I finally started looking at some of the work and reworking it for readability and I came to the decision, almost a month after November, that I am going to enter. I have been busily typing up the poetry and making it look pretty. That is where the challenge has been.

People always say that reworking a story is hard. And while that may be true, reworking poetry is really hard, trimming the fat and getting rid of excess words. Trying to make it flow and sound nice. You have only so much you can work with without it being prose or heck, a story itself. Not to mention that sometimes what you started with is not that great. I sat there with several of the prompts from November bothering me and not really liking the thrown out poetry that hit the page. I sort of just threw out crap, in a lot of instances. Some was good, some had potential, but most was just fiddle farting around with words. Some, well some are so good that I want to actually submit them to something else. I just haven’t gotten around to doing that.

I have been rushing around trying to write new poetry, fix old, and compile it into a chapbook file. It’s been fun and exhausting. I found a theme; a lot of my poetry centered around my mind and a guy I was interested in this summer. Seeing his life go to shambles as he tries to pick himself up, while still being semi interested in a weird sort of way. There are a lot of things he does that drive me nuts, but oh, I would love a good long kiss from him.  Such is life.

The poetry will be compiled into a chapbook titled She and Him: Poems of Them. Yes, the pronouns are not correct, but that’s part of the play on words and the fact that there is discord throughout the poetry collection. I also sort of stole it from the band She and Him with Zooey Deschanel.  Sorry Zooey, but it’s a great title.  There are sadness and melancholy in the poetry. There is sweetness as well. It’s supposed to be an up and down kind of thing that plays on your heart and mind.  I’m excited about submitting the chapbook. I would like more than ten to twelve poems, but I’m starting to run on empty and I only have until the 15th to get it to Robert Brewer at Writer’s Digest.

I’d love to know if others decided to enter the Chapbook Challenge.  Did you find November inspiring? I felt it was a mental cleanout. A wash for my brain. Needless to say, I have felt a little drained. Okay, a lot of drained and I’m still draining my reserves rewriting poetry. It is good and I will be glad to get it over with.

But I conclude; revamping poetry is gosh darn hard at times.

Kate

November Starts With Writing

Today is the start of PAD (poem a day) through Writer’s Digest. This is the Chapbook challenge.  I did it last year, writing as many sonnets as I could. This year I’m starting off the same way, writing a sonnet. Granted, I’m only one stanza in, but I have the vibe going. I guess playing around with iambic pentameter for some blank verse I did for an open reading my writing group did, has put me in the same mood to play with that form. I can think in that form easier than I did last year, and I hope that I will be able to write some sonnets.

However, I don’t have plans to stick with just that form. Thirty days of sonnets gets to be a bit much, so I hope to be able to share open verse or free verse or whatever as the month proceeds. I have two people in my writing group that have just now decided to do NaNoWriMo, to which I say, wow, late start… Sorry Dona and CP, I just don’t see how you are going  do that, but I applaud anyone who attempts such a feat. I have never really had the desire to do so, though I suppose there is a tiny part of me that would like to actually be able to write a novel that fast.

But I’m actually quite happy with my poetry. Honestly, I never thought I would be writing more poetry than fiction. I have been reading Ada Limon‘s “Bright Dead Things” and Billy Collins‘s “The Rain in Portugal”  and I am inspired to send out poetry to magazines, things I have never done.  A part of me wonders if I could send off something to The Sun magazine, which would be cool. Or others. I have great hope to be published with something. And if I start with poetry, that’s cool. So, I need to start sending it out!

Does anyone have some places they would recommend sending to first?

So, November is starting off with all kinds of things going on. And what a gorgeous day it was here in the mountains. Such a perfect fall day that I mean, you could just revel in it. The trees are still covered in gorgeous color. I love it.

And now to finish the Cubs game… Come on Cubs!

The Rejection Reduction

Rejection sucks. It’s the one major thing all writers are afraid of when it comes to submitting their work, or even something as simple as sharing their work with someone else. Unfortunately, it is a fact of life. When it comes to writing, that is. I find it hard to share work, at times, with other people because of that fear of criticism and rejection. I find it much easier to submit myself to you, the readers of my blog, and various other people that might read my work.

It’s actually fairly easy to share my work with agencies and literary magazines (despite the query letter which I actually dread because that one thing is sometimes the key factor… not your work) because they are an unknown entity. They are not someone I know specifically who would criticize me in person.

That being said, I am semi-depressed/bummed this week. On Tuesday, I found out I did not win the Writer’s Digest Poem a Day Chapbook Challenge. Nor did I even get an honorable mention.  Is it a big deal? No. But it’s a poopy feeling. It made me feel down and depressed on Tuesday.  I had hope to be just mentioned. Nope.

And two weeks ago I received another rejection, albeit a very encouraging nice one, from a literary magazine that I had submitted my short story to. I was expecting that, actually, but it still stings when you get the rejections. Do I expect instant success? No, but since I have been submitting for over a year to several magazines, I had been hoping for a bite.

I had been hoping my 13 sonnets for the Poem a Day thing would have been catchy enough to be noticed. Do I think I’m amazing? Well, that’s where it gets tricky. Because yes, I do think my writing is good, but I also don’t think it’s good. It’s one of those weird things where I have a vain opinion of my own work, but I’m also aware that there are other great writers out there.

I guess I just want some recognition.

I get a nice smattering of the applause by sharing my work in my writing group, but sometimes you want to world to see that you are something.

HEY, YOU WORLD! I AM SOMETHING!

Anyways. So there I was last week reading this blip of a thing on Neurolove.me (Tumblr blog on psychology facts) about how what you are craving to eat determines the state of your mind.  It’s somewhat true. I won’t put what I’m craving, except for the sugar, because it’s too revealing, but I think it’s kind of cool, and maybe it is an insight into what you are thinking/feeling. Check it out and the article to go along with it. Just click the picture to take you to the article.

So is anyone else in a rejection slump? I’d like to reduce the rejections. Hence the title. Anyone craving something on the list and it applies to your mental state?

Kate

Final Thought on Writer’s Digest PAD Chapbook Challenge

I spent November in a world of sonnets.  I loved working on the Poem a Day challenge by Writer’s Digest.  I pushed myself more than I have with poetry before. I could not keep up with writing a sonnet a day. It took me usually two days to write one, and some prompts left me going, ‘Oh boy.’  I struggled with ideas, and I ended up with a lot of sonnets that were winter inspired or sadness inspired.  Hence my manuscript title of Midwinter & Melancholy.  I ended up with 13 really good sonnets that I just submitted last night.

Right now I’m sitting here going, oh did I do enough?  Did I write enough?  I could only send in between 10-20 sonnets.  And I picked my best ones. I had a couple other silly ones that did not get into the chapbook manuscript.  I wrote one about White Christmas, the film, and then a vampire-y one. I had two about the holiday season.  I had my silly Once Upon A Time one.  I wanted to write a Once Upon a Winter’s Night sonnet, but then forgot.  Oops.  It would have worked perfectly with what I had typed up.  Oh well. It’s too late now because the file is out of my hands and now in Mr. Brewer’s.

So now comes the waiting process.  Until March.  I hate this feeling of sending in a manuscript. I hate the waiting. I hate the feeling that I forgot something. Nerves. Paranoia.  Will I ever get over sending in manuscripts?  I sent in a short story in January to three literary magazines.  Now I have to find more to send in to. I have found two.  But I’m panicking.  I panic a lot when it comes to writing. That inferiority complex. The “I’m not good enough to get published…..”  The “Dammit! I’m good enough I’m gonna send it in…..oh God, my work is crap what was I thinking?!!!”  Feeling.

Do all writers feel like this?  Do you feel like this?  Will it ever go away?  Sigh.  Le sigh.  I guess if I want to be published, this is part of the process.  Pardon me while I go curl up in a ball and rock back and forth in terror.  No, just kidding.

So….. There you have it.  I am glad I did this poetry challenge.  I love writing sonnets now and I have kept it up.  My new prompt of the week is Whispers from the guy who’s giving me word prompts. I love these prompts.  I need something to keep me focused.  This is certainly doing it.

So. There you have my PAD followup.

Kate

Let’s Have A Cup Of Coffee And Catch Up – Writing 101 Day 11

steaming cupTrying to catch up my readers seems a bit redundant. I feel like I’m forever updating on current projects, or lack of projects, but let’s see what I come up with just an overview. Or if we were sitting down to coffee, I’d tell you all this. I’m not really up for a conversation, poetry, or interesting piece. Mind fog.

First off, I’m second week into Writing 101 and it’s exhausting in it’s own way. I love it, but I wonder if it’s really helping me. Does this make my writing better? Well, maybe because it has required me to have focus. Sort of. And not really come up with my own ideas. I mean, sure, the basis is mine, but there is a general theme of writing well. And it has helped me take time to practice using social media to promote my posts. I don’t know why I didn’t know how to do that before in WordPress, but I have some of it down better. So, there is some structure. I think.

I’m week two into the Poem a Day Chapbook Challenge, and feeling further and further behind. I have written seven and a half sonnets… or three half sonnets as well. It’s kind of odd. If I could finish those three I’d be further along. I still struggle with the iambic aspect. I get pentameter. That is seriously no problem. But unstressed/stressed still makes me groan a bit. I wouldn’t be surprised if I start thinking in iambic after a while of this though.  But I am having to play catch up constantly. I’m not following the specific rules of the PAD challenge, considering I can’t seem to write a sonnet in 24 hours and move on to the next one. So it’s day 17 and I have less than half completed. Sigh.

My month has kept me busy with life changes, from it suddenly being our family business’s down time, sort of, to health problems, and family health problems and going here and there for such things. I’m so exhausted it’s not even funny. But I have finally started to recoup a bit on my anemia. I spent the summer being anemic and I’m finally into a safer zone but still not out of the water yet. The low iron made it impossible to keep running, which I wanted to do for health reason. But when your doctor says ‘stop running’, you do what he tells you. Maybe next year, because I cannot run in the winter in the mountains. It’s too cold.

I was thinking and semi talking with Caterpickles the other day about a story I sent the 8 Year Old when she was more like the 5 Year Old. Gads time flies. I wrote a picture book and turns out the 8YO still loves the story, and obviously can read it herself these days. I need to seriously sit down and consider a query letter or more to some agents and see if one might accept it. I had hoped to have the book published before Jules’s kids were out of grade school and the 8YO was still only 6. Clearly I am far behind that plan. So onwards and hopefully agent wards…

Does anyone else find that sometimes they get really annoyed with other people that are trying to publish and are telling about all their challenges?  There is one blogger I follow who is working to publish juvenile fiction and it annoys the heck out of me about his methods of submitting and working through Twitter and various other social media aspects. Does anyone else ever feel annoyed with other publishing authors? Or is it just me.

I looked into submitting a short story to Readers Digest after my grandmother read the story and said I should. Unfortunately, because of the high volume of stories RD gets, it’s like next to nearly impossible. So, I’m putting them on the back burner for now, but the short story needs submitting somewhere. I had tried Glimmer Train, Tin Roof, and The Meadows literary magazines, and all rejected my story after an 8 month wait. It’s okay though. I had three magazines read my story.

So, okay, I guess I have something to talk about, right?

For some, this is not terribly interesting, but others might find it helpful. Is there anything you, dearie would like to add?

Kate