For the most part, this dividing my time between writing and work has gone smoothly. But this week the work half has been chaotic, with a major grant deadline looming and too little time to get everything done. The stress has made it hard to concentrate in the mornings and left me feeling unbalanced. I often feel that I need to achieve a kind of serenity to write well, and all the anxiety of work is making that difficult -- during the time I'm supposed to be writing, I can't help but think of the emails stacking up and my lengthening to-do list. Consequently I'm spending more time revising poems this week and practicing my focus when it comes to starting new ones.
Speaking of my mind wandering, yesterday it occurred to me that although I've written a lot about other poets' and critics' claims for poetry (and hopefully said something in the process about my own values and ideas), I haven't really enunciated my own thoughts about what makes it worthwhile or what I believe it should accomplish. So over the next week or two I hope to come up with some Most Excellent Universal Guiding Principles for Poetry. I think this will help in orienting my writing instincts at times like this, when it's hard to focus, and to establish some compass points for the kind of poems I hope to write in general. Plus, everyone else will start writing just the way I want them to. Killer plan, no? Stay tuned for all the excitement.