Letter to Eric

Dear Eric,

Why not begin a new year’s writing practice strong? Get a calendar, mark it up, make promises.

Make commitments to people.

Granted, you don’t know these people. They seem nice enough on Twitter. Considerate, considered in thought, unwilling to put up with bullshit. But you’ll commit to them to write a blog post once a week for the whole year. Maybe some weeks you’ll write two, or even three. Hopefully many will be more thought-out than this one, but hey, it is a journal, not a Journal.

More important, make a commitment to write poetry. Once a week, for an hour. In the quiet right after everyone else is in bed. Make a commitment to revise for an hour a week. Make a commitment to send at least one submission per week. Make a commitment to work on that manuscript that keeps disappearing into obligations and home projects.

Make a commitment to not be disappointed if you can’t keep your writing appointment. Reschedule it. Hell, let it go for the week if you need to. These are goals, not absolutes. Some nights, the newborn won’t sleep (notice it is past midnight writing this entry). Some nights, you’ll be so exhausted. But write if you can.

Here’s the thing: you like poetry. You like reading it and you like writing it. Poetry does not pay the bills for you, but maybe one day there’s a job teaching if you keep working that manuscript and sending it out. Just don’t end up hating it.

A year from now, if you keep with it, you’ll have between 52 and 160 new poems. You’ll have revised a bunch of those. You might even have a few new chapbooks or a full manuscript together.

You will have made 52 submissions, five times what you did in 2017. Maybe one of those will be published, who knows.

Remember to be flexible and enjoy the writing. Remember to keep the goals in mind. Look back once in a while to see how you’re doing.

Maybe plan your next blog post a little better.

With love,