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Small Steps

In my Homeschool MFA it all counts–daily writing practice, reading, journaling, watching movies, reading craft books, taking classes. Because I don’t have great swaths of time to devote to this project, I aim to use every bit of my life to build up my writing.

But how can I be sure that I’m not just covering the same ground? How can I be sure that I am growing as a poet? Well, in a lot of ways I can’t be sure! I’m in it for the long haul and am working on habits that will be with me through time. I don’t want to just put in the hours, but also grow horizontally–to develop my craft while putting in the time. Here’s how I’m doing that.

This poem has been through many, many revisions. And came back from a publisher with another rejection this month.

Take Classes

This doesn’t come as a surprise does it? I love the accountability and passion that a class stokes up. I love learning from someone who is a few steps further down the path than I am. I love the small serendipities that develop as my work intersects with a teacher’s offering.

Meet with Friends

Something happens when you talk to other people who are doing the work you want to do. I do this online primarily. But every once in a while I get to see people in person. In a couple of weeks my writing group will meet over bowls of soup and glasses of wine. There will be music and laughter and deep conversation. I can’t wait…though this morning on a walk I realize that I should probably bring poems to share. That made me a bit nervous! So there’s my assignment between now and the cold night’s moon.

Submit Work

Sage Cohen says that you can’t get published if you don’t send it out. This month I’ve heard back from three publishers–two said no and one said yes. Hall of Fame numbers! Regularly submitting work keeps me returning to the work in revision. It honors the first heat of creation. I don’t know what my submission goal will be for this coming year. Maybe 12 submissions over the 12 months? I do know that I want to spend more time and thought in the revision process and learn better how to move poems forward.

Click here to see all the Listening to My Life :: Homeschooling an MFA in Poetry posts.


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