Poet do’nit?

To get an agent, sell your book to a publishing house… leading to success is often the main dream of most writers. I know it is mine and I don’t even call myself a writer at this point. I consider myself to be someone who is attempting to become a writer. Mainly because I am unable to make writing a priority in my life due to attempting to gain my bachelors (hoping for Spring 2015!) and being a wife-n-mom. Sleep is necessary as well. In truth, I have only had the minimum amount of time to work on my novel because of my work load over the past few months.

I have been playing with the idea of going the self-publish route with publishing some of my poetry as I work on my novel. In my office is a box full of old journals, loose sheets of paper, old works that have piled up over the years. I have published a few in small contests while in school over the years. I believe in that pile, somewhere, is the first poem I ever had selected for an anthology when I was in 6th grade. Maybe it is time to sit down and rework those poem with the mind of a more mature me?

When I think about the idea of publishing my poetry, it is scary. I rarely let anyone hear or read my poems. They are extremely personal and the few times I attempted to gain entry into the poetic culture I was often met with scathing looks before I even had a chance to share my work. But now, I am to the age I am not sure I care about the reaction. I have wanted to publish something since I was a child. I wanted to create work that would be enjoyed by others. The idea of putting something out there for others to read is one of the scariest things I will probably ever do with my life.

But do it I must. Yes, one day I may finish my science fiction series and get to publish it. But why not grab the bull by the horns to finally put my words to print with my poetry. Now I can stop playing with the idea and instead actually do it. Focus and get it done.

While I do that, I am working on revising my draft so far on my book in between writing my papers for school.

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Yes, I know!

I should be doing homework…

Instead, I am sitting in the library playing Pottermore and chatting with people on Twitter. I know that sounds horrible but that isn’t all I did in the past hour and fifteen minutes. I also wrote over 400 words on my story. OOOOOOHHHHH, goes the crowd.

Yeah, I know it doesn’t sound like much but it works. It is something. I wish it was more and at this rate, at about 1000-1800 words a week, I will have a very badly written novel done in another 67 weeks… or by next Christmas. Not really a prime goal for me especially since I had been hoping to be done by the end of the year. But this weekend, instead of working on my novel in the evenings like I sometimes do I spent it finishing up writing a fictional account of someone who was awakened by the writings of Thomas Paine in journal style for a late paper for my History class. Does that count as writing? It was 2,799 words which is about the length of a paperback chapter. It was just as bad but it has given me an idea of a possible story down the road.

That’s part of the problem with wanting to write… you find so many stories out there in the world. It would be easy to jump from one story to another but I got advice from a pop culture icon (I won’t say who but I was excited as peas in soup when he responded to a comment I made) about a month back when discussing multiple projects. He said “It’s important to finish something” and that is when I realized that as I stared at the 13 files I had sitting in my special section of docs for my writings, none of them were finished. Some were barely a page or two, some a couple of chapters or scenes in but none of them were finished. It was one thing to get inspired by an idea and write it down. It was another to completely stop your work then start another one that is once again left unfinished when another idea pops into your head.

Now, at the time I was given this advice through Facebook comments, I was working on four different things at once and this was BEFORE school had even started. I decided then I needed to buckle down and just finish something. Yes, it may not ever get published but who cares. I can say… “I wrote a novel. It isn’t published but look! I wrote 100,000+ words and it is a completed story! Take that doubts in my head! I did something in my life I have always wanted to do!” (I can only hope that then maybe they will go on vacation to Russia and not come back.) Then I can move onto something else. It of course helps a bit that outside my writing I am raising a very rambunctious toddler who drives me bonkers, taking classes that, oh my gosh, are requiring me to write as well. I am using my personal writing as a way to focus and give me some personal creativity time.

Do I see myself as a professional writer? I don’t know, maybe not but after talking to my professor this morning I did find that if I ever wanted to be a professor – yeah, I know crazy write (haha!) – I had to get published with something. I really didn’t know this, that to be a professor of English you have to know what you are talking about. Weird, I know! One of the best things though, is she offered to help me on another dream project I have… publishing my poetry. She said, whenever I am ready. Which to me has been the coolest thing I have heard since my mom told me submitted her Masters application and before that the sound of my son yelling Mama as I cooked dinner a few weeks back. Alright, I hear a lot of good and cool things in my life but it made me feel really good that a teacher of mine offered a hand to help me. I like my poetry better than my prose and I have always wanted to see it in print, in a collection. I don’t see myself as a Maya Angelou but just a poet who wrote some things when she was a younger… I just wish I still wrote like I used to and every once in a while be printed (my first poem in print was when I was 10 in a school collection, so cool!).

As I have grown up over the years, mostly in the past six since I turned 30, I have learned a lot that I wish I had known when I was younger. I think we all go thru that but I am finding that if you reach out and ask a question you can get so much guidance in unexpected ways. How was I to know that some off-hand comment that I made on a Facebook page would lead to a couple of words that would make me open my eyes in an unexpected way. I am 36 years old, still in college because it took me 18 years to finish my Associates Degree; something I didn’t think I would ever get. I am aiming to finish college with a Bachelor’s but it took a long time for me to realize because someone else smacked my virtual head, that it’s important to finish something. This is important not just with my writing but in a lot of other ways. If you do not finish things… its hard to grow because you never completely leave the path you were on before. You can only stretch yourself so thin, right, how many things have to go unfinished; so finish something and move on with your life. What you finish will be a step to the next level in your life. I wonder if my lack of finishing things so often in my life is one of the reasons I like the which leaves your sentences open-ended, never-ending, never completed. Which is so much of my life…