Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Ending A Writing Year

Officially at least, today is the last day of A Writing Year. Tomorrow I return to my regular job full-time, and resume writing the way I did before -- whenever I can.

Since I know from past experience that "whenever I can" is not very often (except for some regular writing time in the mornings, which I aim to continue), I've done my best to set things up so that I can complete the manuscript of poems I'm working on by the end of January. Out of the 75 or so decent drafts that I wrote this year, I've settled on about 40 to be included in the collection and have retyped those line by line, editing them in the process. I've also started on the Afterword to the manuscript, where I hope to reflect on my experience of the year and draw whatever small conclusions I can from it.

This is not to say that the prospect of ending AWY is entirely somber. I'd say it's bittersweet. The year has gone by quickly, and I can't help but wonder if I used it as well as I could have. In many ways, AWY was my chance to try out a writing life and see if I could make poetry work for me in a more significant way, so in some respects ending AWY represents the winding-down of a certain whirring set of aspirations.

On the other hand, my regular job has grown far more engaging over the past six months, and I think I'll feel relieved not to have to balance my commitment to it and to my own writing any longer. Also, having had an opportunity to devote this time to my writing, I feel satisfied to move on. I started AWY because I felt the undertow of everyday life and knew I'd regret not giving myself a chance to be a poet before it swept me out. Now that I've had that chance, the currents feel less threatening. Writing poems may never be a full-time occupation for me, but it will continue to keep me occupied.

So what's next for this blog? Over the next month I'll continue posting updates here, if sporadically. Once the manuscript is complete, I'll post a link to the Lulu.com page where you can order a copy for your personal library. Then you will be able to judge for yourself whether this was a worthwhile endeavor or in fact a regrettable waste of time. After that, I hope to write a few more things about the process of transitioning back to work, and maybe to shop around pieces of the collection. I do hope to leave the blog up and running for a while, in keeping with my goal of providing a resource to others.

Anyway, that's about it for now. Check back for more over the next few weeks.