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Merry Christmas from Eastbourne Pier

End of year gratitude & resolutions

Is this the blogging equivalent of the Christmas round robin? If so, I confess I rather like receiving them. I honestly quite like reading about relatives of relatives I’ve never met, who’s had a baby and what they called him/her, where people have been on holiday. I even enjoy the cliches and the interminable ‘filler’ prose (‘as the days are getting shorter…’ etc) that people often resort to, as if not wanting to JUST talk about themselves. Unlike when you’re listening to wedding speeches, you’re not a captive audience, so reading the round robin can always wait until you’re comfy on the sofa with a cup of tea or glass of wine.

I covered submissions stats in my last post, so this one’s more of a round up  – good stuff, bad stuff. Favourite blogs. Resolutions. Gratitude. The UK political/economic & cultural climate has been well documented elsewhere, so let’s just call that a given – a backdrop to the tiny, insignificant-in-the-scheme-of-things, day-to-day life of one person.

Two steps forward

I’ve a huge amount to be thankful for this year in particular – I’m very happy in our new home and new town, I have more time with Nick and I’ve absolutely loved summer in the garden. I’ve learnt new skills, tried new things and been to some wonderful places. I’ve made new poet friends, read some excellent collections and enjoyed many poetry readings and events, I’ve had sufficient publication success to keep my spirits up, and at least one ‘dance round the room’ moment. And I was very grateful to have made Matthew Stewart’s annual ‘best of’ poetry blog roundup, despite my blogging being a bit erratic this year.

One step back

Naturally enough there have been plenty of rejections – of individual poems, pamphlets and proposals/applications. I had cancer, and all the reassessment of mortality that it brings. Other niggly health issues. Projects on hold. The misery of train travel with no reliable service, and the plans I had to postpone or cancel because of it. A sump of procrastination.

What next?

First of all, I’m planning to reduce overwhelm. This means getting off Facebook for at least a month. I mean it. More on this shortly.

Other resolutions:

  • Seek out more time with other poets. Not necessarily workshopping, but going to readings and hosting ‘salons’
  • Try another ‘start a poem a day’ exercise for a month
  • Return to reading collections front to back, no ‘dipping’ – as I did when I was doing the Reading List
  • Create (and keep updated) my blog editorial calendar, for both this blog and my home blog
  • Enjoy time in the garden and by the sea
  • Continue to try to order poems into a collection, but listen more to the new material that’s nudging me
  • Make time to read more about things that excite me, but nothing to do necessarily with poetry – possible futures, art, making. I’ve already started sampling magazines from this wonderful shop in Brighton
Thank you / gratitude

I was going to post this as a list, naming everyone, but it was flawed somehow – so many people to mention, people in different categories (eg is this person a poet friend, poet blogger, editor, or all three??) and then the fear I might have missed out a name – EEK!

So, thank you to:

  • Readers of, commenters on, and contributors to this blog
  • My fellow Telltale poets
  • My many, much valued poet friends & supporters
  • All at the Hastings Stanza, at the Poetry Society, at New Writing South, at the Needlewriters
  • Editors and selectors who in 2016 have published me, placed my poems in competitions and/or generously offered advice and feedback, yes even the negative variety!

Plus…. thank you to:

  • All those tireless & generous people who run poetry events and workshops
  • *ditto* those who edit magazines and publish poetry
  • *ditto* those who write blogs
  • And all non-poets who come to poetry events
Blogs I love

Almost too many to list but delighting me this year as ever are Abegail Morley’s Poetry ShedJohn Field’s Poor Rude Lines, Emma Lee’s blog and those by poets Hilaire,  Josephine Corcoran and Jayne Stanton.

Some of my favourite blogs are not entirely (or even at all) poetry-focused, but they provide me with endless inspiration:

Jean Tubridy (Social Bridge) – here’s a recent example of Jean’s beautiful and thoughtful posts

Maria Popova (Brainpickings)  – hard to know where to start with this encyclopedic site.  I’ve been introduced to so many amazing writers & thinkers via her weekly emails, here’s a recent example

Dan Blank (We Grow Media) – I’ve been a huge fan of Dan’s for years. Here’s a typically inspirational piece on ‘investing in white space’ which got me deciding to avoid Facebook for a month

LitHub – more of a full-blown magazine than a blog, but its LitHub Daily is a consistently great read

And if you go in for competitions and/or are looking for new submissions opportunities, I recommend:

Angela T Carr (A Dreaming Skin) – super-generous and useful – here’s an example of her monthly competitions and submissions post

Cathy Bryant (Comps & Calls) – another extremely helpful blogger worth following – here’s an example of her monthly post featuring opportunities and deadlines

So that’s it for the round robin, folks, from a Robin who’s a bit ’rounder’ than she’d like to be right now. I feel another resolution coming on. My good wishes to you for 2017, let’s hope it’s a good one without any tears. Xx

Xmas eve on the pier at Eastbourne

14 Comments on “End of year gratitude & resolutions

  • Jayne Stanton
    December 30, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    Thanks for the kind mention, Robin. I enjoyed reading your honest year-end round-up. I’m being more lenient with myself than usual and allowing things in general to go on the back burner. At the same time, I’m growing my retirement wish list, with the start of ‘life as it suits me’ in mind (more on that when it’s official). We probably share one ‘dance around the room’ moment, eh! Hopefully there’ll be a launch event, too.

    Reply
    • Robin Houghton
      December 31, 2016 at 10:17 am

      Hi Jayne, that all sounds good to me! All the best for 2017. x

      Reply
  • Emma Lee
    December 30, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    Thank you for mentioning my blog. I enjoyed your round up. Finding a life/poetry balance is a constant balancing act and also a journey of self-discovery: finding what works for you.

    Reply
    • Robin Houghton
      December 31, 2016 at 10:23 am

      Hi Emma – yes, finding the balance (and keeping it) can be tricky. I do love your blog – lots of straightforward, excellent advice and telling it how it is. All the best to you for 2017 x

      Reply
  • Josephine Corcoran
    December 30, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    A terrific read, as usual, Robin, and very inspiring. Thank you for your blog and for all you contribute to poetry, writing and blogging. Happy New Year! Love, Josephine 🙂 x

    Reply
    • Robin Houghton
      December 31, 2016 at 10:18 am

      Thanks for your kind words Josephine, and all the very best to you for 2017. x

      Reply
  • elly
    December 30, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    Thank you, Robin for the ways you share and inspire through this blog. Love your resolution list and your thanks/ gratitude list. Wishing you a Happy 2017 🙂 x

    Reply
    • Robin Houghton
      December 31, 2016 at 10:19 am

      and the same to you, Elly – and thanks for being a stalwart supporter of this blog! Happy New Year x

      Reply
  • Pam
    December 30, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    Thank you Robin. Your posts are always appreciated even if I don’t say so. Good resolutions indeed!x

    Reply
    • Robin Houghton
      December 31, 2016 at 10:22 am

      Thanks Pam, Happy New Year! x

      Reply
  • Jean Tubridy
    December 30, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    Thanks very much for your kind words about my blog, Robin.
    I hope you have a great 2017.

    Reply
    • Robin Houghton
      December 31, 2016 at 10:20 am

      You’re very welcome Jean, sending you good wishes from sunny Eastbourne x

      Reply
  • Hilaire
    December 31, 2016 at 8:50 am

    Great round up, Robin, and thanks for the mention! I’d add thanks to non-poets who read and buy poetry books. Hope you enjoy many hours in your garden and by the sea, and wishing you much success with your writing ventures! H x

    Reply
  • Robin Houghton
    December 31, 2016 at 10:21 am

    Hi Hilaire – non-poets who read AND BUY poetry books – oh yes, where would we be without them? Thanks so much for reading/commenting and all the very best for the New Year x

    Reply
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