I want to write a book, in real time, about the creative process of writing, and the journey of having a first poetry collection published.
I suppose what I’m really saying is that I want to write two books: a book of poems (which I think I am already writing) and book about what it takes to write that book of poems.
It’s scary to share this dream, because sharing it is a step towards accountability. It’s scary because in writing about the process of trying to get a poetry collection published, there is a possibility that this collection may never be published.
I am currently undertaking Lucy Pearce’s course, Be Your Own Publisher, and it’s helped me to realise that whilst I have no problem with the idea of self-publishing a book about creativity and writing, I don’t want to self-publish a collection of poetry. I want to go the old-fashioned route of individual poems being published in literary magazines and the collection itself being published as a pamphlet with the (very) small poetry presses.
There is very little money in poetry publishing. Payment is through creative fulfillment. Payment is through knowing that your words out in the world have the possibility of connecting with the deepest, truest part of your readers But payment is also by form of a nod of recognition by your peers, for your poetry chops, recognising that there is something new and fresh and exciting that you are doing with the words of an old language. And now I recognise that I want that nod too.
What does this mean? Well, it means submitting to magazines again, like I used to a million years ago (there’s an example of the poetry I have had published here). Magazines won’t accept poems I have published on my blog, which is sad because the thrill of the immediacy makes this my absolute favourite way of sharing. Poems I have published here could be used towards my first collection as a whole though. But I’ll need to be published in the literary presses before I can have a collection considered for publication. I still want to share poetry with my blog readers, so poetry will stay here, I will just need to be more selective in what I share.
Of course, any collection I publish won’t be my actual first collection of poetry. I have put together at least two before and shared them simply printed on A4 paper and bound with ribbon to my dearest readers at that time. What a sweet time in my writing life that was.
But I know that time has passed now and I want to fight my tendency towards nostalgia. Everything in me shouts I’m ready for a new challenge. I’m ready for the changes it will bring in my writing and sharing. I’m so grateful for the time that you spend with me, reading my blog posts. Help keep me accountable, won’t you? You’ll do that just by being here. It’s already starting to sound a little less scary and a little more possible.