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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Poetic Productivity

This has been a hard week. One son and I have run fevers for (slightly overlapping) portions of the week, necessitating staying home and either administering care or resting, and not getting stuff done in each case. One son went off to a 5-day nature camp with his grade at school, requiring much preparation. I finished up a series of job interviews and performed some tasks to show I was qualified for the job (and got the job, yay). Did six interviews in ten days for a company I sometimes do some work for. Attended a memorial service for a relative who died seven years ago (as is tradition in Japan). So basically I am worn out. Just plain tired.

And then I got an offer. A writing offer. Which required that I have a certain number of unpublished poems available by a certain time. And guess what? I don't have anywhere near that number of poems ready. There's still time before the deadline, but to meet it I would have to be more productive poetically than I've ever been. But it's an interesting offer and it would be a shame to miss it. So do I try, even if it feels unrealistic, particularly in my exhausted state?

So naturally, I've been thinking about productivity in writing. I've been very fortunate in the last year to have had work solicited from a number of journals, and every time, it wipes out my stockpile of finished work. Not that I'm complaining. It's a wonderful thing to have work solicited, extremely gratifying. But it leaves me in a position in which I don't have much finished work lying around at any moment, making me feel that I've been unproductive. But actually, my productivity this year has been about average, which isn't all that great. It takes me a long time to write each poem (thank goodness I don't do them one at a time, but still....)

So what can I do to increase my productivity, other than spending more hours sitting in my chair attempting to write? Maybe experiment with writing at different times of the day to see if there is a more productive time than the one I usually use as writing time? Are you more productive at certain times of the day?

The periods when I've written more poems than my normal rate have been  when  I committed to myself to write a poem a week, or something such as that. Do commitments like that encourage creativity in you?

Also, writing around a theme helps me. Lines or images I come up with that don't belong in the poem I'm currently working on can often be used in another poem if I'm working on a series. Any similar experiences? Or better yet, any good themes come to mind, as I'm not working on a series right now....

But what else can I do? I'm in need of some ideas here, poets, if you've got any.

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