I decided the easiest way to take stock of what I had written and determine where I needed to focus my energies in the weeks to come was to catalog my drafts systematically. I created a simple spreadsheet with the names of all my poems in one column and a kind of status rating in another. Then I spent about an hour and a half on Monday briefly reviewing each poem and assigning it a rating of 1-5 (1 being, "this poem is technically finished but deeply, embarrassingly flawed;" 5 being, "ready for publication and possibly fame and fortune"). I expected that most poems would earn 3's and that very few would earn 1's or 5's.
It was unscientific, to say the least, but if nothing else it gave me a sense of how the collection was shaping up. Curious about the results? Here you go.
Out of 74 total drafts:
- 9 got 5's -- all have been submitted to journals at one point or another
- 23 got 4's -- I consider these solid poems that just need a little more work
- 23 got 3's -- these strike me as good starts that require reshaping
- 15 got 2's -- wow, I really wrote a poem about shopping for housewares?
- 4 got 1's -- let's not talk about these anymore