Friday, November 04, 2011

November—the month of writing craziness

It's November, National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo links thousands of writers around the world, who are even now pounding their keyboards in an attempt to accumulate at least 50,000 words and realize the goal of writing an entire novel in one month.

I was part of NaNoWriMo in 2009. And I churned out a novel—Destiny's Hands. After more work on it, I entered it into the Word Alive Press contest this spring and was ever so thrilled when it made the list of finalists. It may someday even see the light of publication.

I have not joined NaNo this year in the novel-writing sense. But in that spirit I have set my own November goal. For me November would be called NaPoWriMo - National Poetry Writing Month because I have promised myself to write one poem a day.

Robert Brewer at Poetic Asides planted the idea a couple of years ago with his November Poem-A-Day Chapbook Contest. He posts a new prompt every day of November and invites participating poets to send in a chapbook collection of their best poems (inspired by the prompts) at the end of December.

I am not planning to be part of this, but I do check his prompt every day to give me poem-writing ideas. If it doesn't inspire, I have a pocketful of other prompt sources: Adele Kenny's blog, Poets and Writers, and Writers Digest prompts to name a few.

I find such poem-a-day challenges good to get me to just write instead of wait for that extra-special inspiration that will end up in the GREAT POEM. Sure, I end up with a lot of mediocre poems, but Diane Lockward, in her November newsletter says that's okay. Talking about her recommended book for the month—Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking—she says:
"I underlined this: 'The function of the overwhelming majority of your artwork is simply to teach you how to make the small fraction of your artwork that soars.' A good reminder that it's okay to do some bad work.

On risk-taking: 'And tolerance for uncertainty is the prerequisite to succeeding.' And 'to require perfection is to invite paralysis.'" - (Quotes by David Bayles and Ted Orland).

So there you have it—permission to write lots of poems with the hope that one or two will soar.

Throughout the month I'll be posting some of these on my poetry blog along with the prompt that inspired them. Maybe we'll see you over there?

Whatever you're writing through November, may it be a satisfying, productive month!