Thursday, April 01, 2010

Natural Pottery Mints

NatPoMo snuck up on me this year, and it's just as well. I had no time to cajole myself into promising that I'll make time to write a poem a day and two sestinas on Sundays. No time to cultivate the urge to reorganize the manic mess that is my bookcase and lie about how I'll reread a book therefrom every 30 minutes until May. No time to shop for discount hardback notebooks in a new color scheme to celebrate the start of new projects that will run out of gas 4 pages hence in the middle of June.

I've been working some of the tips from Marty and Joshua Seldman's sneakily impactful Executive Stamina into my routine; one of the really useful tips in that book is the practice of "minimums", setting simple and small goals for yourself in an effort to get you to change habits and gain momentum in areas in which you're eager to improve. It's been working for me in other areas, so for NatPoMo this year, I'm going to apply some minimums to my writing habit. Here is my minimum for this April:

I will put away one book a day. This will require me to put my hands on one book of poems. Just one. And if I flip through it for a minute, maybe something will catch my attention. Maybe I'll go write it down and play with a response, or email it to someone, or mention it here, call a writer friend to chat about it. But if I don't, that's OK. I will put one book a day away. I commit that to myself.

Now, if you are more into the immerse and overwhelm strategy, you can go for NaPoWriMo, or Robert Lee Brewer's Poem-a-Day challenge, you can sign up for the year-round The Writer's Almanac and Your Daily Poem (which you should already be signed up for anyway) and the seasonal daily list, or the weekly Poetry Daily list (to get its poets-selecting-poems emails; always a treat!).

But me? I'm just going to put one book away. One book like Coleman Barks' Tentmaking. The book with the poem "Seagull at the Newark Airport" in it:

Going low less than a foot off the asphalt, then up over
a tanker and around
the freestanding staircase, a poem with its

two black beads watches how government manages to fly.

What book will I pick up tomorrow?

1 comment:

Jayne Jaudon Ferrer said...

Manageable goals are SO much more sensible than lofty ones--though not nearly as appealing! I like your idea of aiming for the small and doable instead of the lofty and unlikely!