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Hello New Year my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again

On paper it’s been a good year. Two non-fiction books written, one published and the second out in March. One poetry pamphlet quietly out the door (even though I had to form a poets’ collective in order to get it published) to modest acclaim, which is the best I hoped for even in my dreams. Several significant new poetry friendships established. Not a lot of poems published in magazines but enough good results to keep my poet-ego going (just about!)

There are lots of positives on the horizon in the next year or so, in many different areas of my life, but one thing I know I must do is make more time to write poems. I absolutely love all the opportunities that poetry offers, whether it’s organising or facilitating events, initiating new projects and seeing them happen, going to readings or giving them, meeting new people, collaborating with others, reading blogs, discovering exciting poets or bloggers who are new to me, trying to analyse the mindsets and workings-out of poetry editors, the highs and lows of poetry submissions … and writing about it all. But I wonder if I spent too much time and energy on all that in 2014?

Social media is another area I need to manage with more discipline. A poet friend recently announced she was leaving Facebook in order to spend more time on writing and with family. She’s since amended that to say that she’ll be checking in very occasionally, but the principle remains. I can understand this entirely, and it’s very tempting. I’ve always found Facebook to be the cruellest and most suffocating of social channels. Sometimes I wonder how it would be to withdraw entirely from social media. Peace, quiet, being oblivious to other people’s lives. I know writers who pretty much stay away from the whole circus, and I envy them in a way. But online communication has been a significant part of my life now for seventeen years, since discovering the internet and joining my first online community. I can’t start to list the wonderful things it’s brought me for risk of sounding trite. It’s also my livelihood.

So, my New Year resolutions are pretty much this:

  1. allocate regular time to write poems, and don’t spend said-allocated time slot mewling over what I’ve already got out and which magazines haven’t replied, or who’s just won a competition and why it’s not me, or whatever.
  2. limit my time on social media – loads of apps and techniques to try here, for example.
  3. don’t stress about how many poetry books, pamphlets and mags are piling up unread. I’m considering ways to tackle this, for example reading books in strict order of acquisition, but I’m not sure that will work as some collections are very much ‘dip in and out’ and others you can’t stop once you start reading. Also, when a magazine comes through the door you want to eat it up there and then. Any ideas?
  4. blog posts – better editorial planning, writing & scheduling in advance as much as possible. I have three blogs I need to update regularly and 2 or 3 others that need occasional attention. I also write a lot of guest blog posts, and manage a stupid number of Facebook Pages, none of which I’m able to give the right amount of attention to. Could be time for a cull or a reorganisation.

I started this post thinking ‘I’m not going to write yet another end of year review’ and I realise it’s gone a bit that way. Sorry. Please do keep reading and commenting, I appreciate it more than you can imagine. Thank you for putting up with my rants and opinions. I wish you every joy, health and happiness in 2015.


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  1. Well done on a great year. Sounds like it may be time to drop FB. I’m delighted I deactivated my account a while back. Don’t miss it at all and suddenly lots more time.
    Happy writing in 2015.

    • Thanks Jean, and good to hear you’re not missing Facebook 🙂 All the best for the New Year.

  2. Enjoyed your post. Social media is my weakness too! I find I flick to Facebook when I’m writing for a break and get caught up but why, i don’t know. I banned myself for a whole week once and when I came back I’d missed nothing!

    Your point on reading poetry books – I was struggling too after coming home from the Poetry Book Fair with a bag load in September. What I did was switch from reading fiction at bedtime and had a poetry book by the bedside. It worked and I’m nearly through the pile.

    Good luck with the resolutions (I identify with no 1!). You’ve had a great 2014. Hope this one is even better.

    • Hi Heather, and thanks for your comment… yes, I need a strategy! I started putting new poetry books on a bookshelf in the bedroom and sometimes I look at it when I wake up and think AAGH! Where do I start?!

      • msjinnifer msjinnifer

        I have three piles on the end of my dining room table. Books, magazines (partly read) and “get a grip and decide whether to submit to these.” Urgh >.<

  3. msjinnifer msjinnifer

    Thank you for your thoughts, Robin — they echo many of mine. Getting the balance between keeping in touch and other “out there” activities, and the actual writing thing — that’s a constant challenge. Thank you for the link to the apps that help with self-discipline 🙂

    • Hi Jinny, and thanks – it’s reassuring to know I’m not the only one struggling with it all. And I intend to try some of those apps, that’s for sure!

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Robin Houghton 2021
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