The best training is to read and write, no matter what. Don’t live with a lover or roommate who doesn’t respect your work. Don’t lie, buy time, borrow to buy time. Write what will stop your breath if you don’t write. —Grace PaleyEnd of year writing stats: this blog helps me keep track of my writing. It's often the only tangible evidence that I am still a writer, though most of the time I don't feel like a writer or a poet or a thinker. I suffer from the illusion of falling into the void of nihilism. I don't do many readings and almost no publishing. I don't even write every day (except on Facebook).
My generic goal is to average 52 poems (a poem a week) and I strive for a similar quantity of prose pieces. Some years I exceed my goals, other years I fail miserably. When I began this electronic writing process in August of 2007, I filed everything thematically. Well, that didn't work out so well. This year, I've tried to restore some semblance of chronological order. I've got a long ways to go, so my numbers are always in flux.
When I began this process, I also had misplaced ambitions of writing a blog piece a day. What was I thinking? I had read Guy Kawasaki's evangelical blog post, How to Change the World in 120 Days, in the Art of Blogging, April of 2006, and I founded this blog soon after, then let it lay fallow until mid-August of 2007. It's always a struggle to be productive. I was once more prolific a writer, but these days I take what I can get, wherever I can get it. Facecbook? so be it.
I probably have the poetry quota well met for this year as I have many haiku strings that I file as one item, though there may be as many as six or eight linked haiku in a file. But I tend to count them as one entry. And, I didn't even attempt to do NaPoWriMo, nor did I participate in April Poetry Month PAD, these two are where I usually stack up the writing bits. (Do I count the prose poems as poems too? I waffle, I waffle.)
I'm up to 85 pieces (not counting this one, I'm not sure I should count it as it's an open letter). Don't know if I'll make my self-imposed quota but I've still got several orphan bits and pieces to whip into shape. Much of my writing these days comes from interacting with friends and with strangers in Facebook groups—especially my prose and essays.
I guess if I were to include my 50 Amazon book reviews, I'll have met my prose quota as well, but though a lot of thought and analysis goes into the process, I don't consider it to be new writing—nor does it take one's breath away, as Grace Paley put it.
In general, my prose writing begins as a small nugget, then as I research and expand an idea, a day has slipped by, and I'm stuck wrestling long cephalopodic pieces into coherent shapes. Not always succeeding, I might add. Prose, where I seem to spend most of my time working on, is always difficult, but it also won't let me alone. I do read and write very day, no matter what. But rendering finished pieces is not always so easy. This dark craft.
The blog format forces me to go back and wrest fragments into being. Maybe it's the fear and the tyranny of the printed page. Or maybe it's the thought that someone might actually read the pieces that motivates me.
I am especially grateful to those of you who visit this blog from time to time and leave comments. So I thank you all for your interactions. For keeping the home fires burning. Something I hold especially dear, as the process of writing is often akin to falling into the void.