Sunday 13 April 2008

NaPoWriMo Day 13

It's day 13 for another forty minutes, and I'm 15 for 13, i.e. 15 poems for 13 days. I've been glad to receive poems and comments on progress via email, but I'd prefer people posted them here so everyone can benefit.

The difficulty I've struggled with lately is between I Must Write to This Standard and I Must Write in Ambition. By ambition I mean striving for originality, maintaining absolute rigor, not settling for more than a complete and accomplished poem.

Writing that, I remember what my partner's sister said when she spent Christmas with us in 2006. I don't remember how it came up, but I said something like, "I try to do everything to the best of my ability," to which Amanda responded, "No wonder you're so tired!"

Anyway, tonight I wrote an okay piece (I Must Write to This Standard) and I was a little frustrated with myself for not going for more, though I knew I hadn't the energy for it. I think the trade-off of writing more poems is that while maybe I'll write more "good" work, I'll write less "superior" work.

Am I hard on myself? Should I settle for anything less?


  1. Anonymous10:49 am

    I think those of us who are obsessively compulsive writers ARE probably, by nature, perfectionists in our own way. The trouble with demanding of ourselves that we write daily/always to the standards we set means, for me, that it takes much effort to revisit work in order to salvage the "good" and hone it to the "best". It's not a question of complacency, but mental and emotional investment, considerable amounts of which were probably present to start with. And if the ideas keep coming, it can be difficult to keep up anyway. So guess the choice of whether to keep moving at the level we're at or to stop and REALLY perfect is made on the basis of either time or revisited interest in a specific poem. And yes, we're very hard on ourselves! Always.

    But, if it weren't poetry, it would be whatever our passion happens to be. It's an inbuilt default. I doubt if you could settle for less and be content with that!

    Cheers, Carrie and your tally so far says it all! :))


  2. Hi,

    wonderful blog, well done. Great poetry.



  3. My normal speed is somewhat slower than my participation in this month demands; while I'm shooting for excellence, I'm largely proud to have gotten anything that hooks together, let alone is good, by the end of a day.

    But I've been surprised by some of them having more of a z-axis than I expected. Others - most - are as raggedy and needing of fixing as I'd normally expect from a couple of hours in a notebook.

    What I'm finding important about it is the sense of disappointment in myself at not having something worthwhile when one of the raggedy ones goes up and the comparison of that with the sense of disappointment in myself I'd have were I to give up. And I like that.

  4. I was rather shaken to see the new blood red layout of the blog. For a moment I thought you might be using a pen nib to cut directly into your blood supply. ;-)

    It will be interesting to see at the end of the month how many poems in total are written, how many are just 'good' and how many are 'superior'.

    Even if there are no 'superior' poems I bet this exercise will contribute to something incredible in the following month.

  5. I must admit I've dropped off a bit, but I think I might be ready to pick back up again. It's difficult to keep up this pace, especially when I try to sit down and write something amazing and nothing comes out at all.

    I don't think you're settling for less. I think writing a poem a day is about quantity, not quality. If you can dust off something and make it into something later, that's just a bonus. But I suppose it depends on your process...