Self-improvement (of the writerly kind).
For years I felt almost as if my poems (and stories, for that matter) were mainly a reaction. Sometimes it was to appease readers who didn't understand what the hell I was saying. Sometimes it was to annoy readers who didn't understand what the hell I was saying. But there was always the sense of responding to a request, which appealed to my inner people-pleaser. You want me to connect this handful of electrical wires to the controlling metaphor? Yeah? Well, how's this for a connection? Ha!
Outside of the workshop setting, it's harder to write according to feedback. Sometimes feedback from friends or peers isn't useful, even if it's well intentioned. So at some point we have to start kicking our own asses. Setting goals. Making checklists. Revising our own poems. Giving ourselves assignments. Thinking about what we could do better.
For a long time I've wanted to write a poem that completely changes course (on purpose) in the middle. I did that on Sunday. I'm not sure it's "done," but I did it.
Other things on my checklist:
Write a long poem. If I ever get the time, I would like to do a word count on individual poems and set myself a goal. I'd like to read some of the long poems suggested here.
Sometimes I write poems that are not imitations, but rather homages. I'd like to write an homage to a poem that I don't like, or that just isn't my cup of tea, but that I nonetheless respect.
I want to start thinking about art again. I don't want to write a thousand ekphrastics. But I want to go to a museum, like I used to do all of the time, before I had kids and a job, and let a painting take me somewhere I couldn't go otherwise.What's on your to-do list? How do you kick your own ass, and set your own goals? Do you ever let yourself down? What do you need to work on?