Thursday, October 28, 2010

I Am Jealous of Your Deadlines

A recent entry at the 32 Poems blog has a long list of poetry contests with deadlines in October and November.

Seeing lists of poetry contests makes me feel anxious. I feel like I'm a complete slacker, like I should be capable of juggling the thousand things that everyone else seems to be doing.

Maybe deadlines make me feel anxious.

I have to remind myself that priorities that I decide on are mine, and I don't need to feel guilty or feel like I'm missing out on something just because I choose to prioritize other things. It lists 14 prizes, and according to the fees listed, it would cost $305 to enter them all. Surely most people submitting would not enter them all either. They make their choices and prioritize where their time, money, and effort will go.

National Novel Writing Month is in November. The challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days is something I enjoy, and I have said that I want to do it again this year. I have seen some people are doing a 20 page poetry challenge in November. Also, a fun idea, though I think I like better the weekly "Poetry Postcard" challenge I did last year. It takes a longer period of dedication, but at the end of it you get 52 drafts.

I do not have a full book manuscript I am satisfied with enough to send out. I have a chapbook manuscript, but not a full length book. It is certainly possible for me to edit one, and I should absolutely take the time to do so, but that is a longer project than an afternoon's work.

Also, my husband and I are newlyweds. I need to concentrate on settling into a normal household routine that will be good for our relationship, after things got all crazy from planning a wedding for the last 10 months. Not to mention, I have a list of half a hundred things that I wanted to do but kept putting off because I couldn't take on a new project. Most of these, like setting up a small office in our guest bedroom (formerly "the wedding room") and brewing some beer, require a certain outlay of money and also the time, energy, and concentration to actually get it done. We moved into our house last September, and I feel like we barely got settled before the wedding stuff happened. Let's have some nice, normal "nesting."

I need a creative project. My brain needs it, my soul needs it. And I don't need a dozen creative projects--I just finished doing that with all the wedding foo. Let me just be selfish and self-absorbed for 30 days and write a fun, ridiculous novel. In December, I can do things like reorder my manuscript and replace all of the ancient faucets in the house.

So, I know I am probably missing a hundred deadlines by not submitting a single thing in November. The editors will have to pick a wonderful manuscript that's not mine. I need to set my own priorities for my projects, and as aware as I am of the "opportunity cost" of my choices, I can't feel guilty about them.

What is your project or projects for November? Are you giving up anything to do them?

No comments: