It seems that every writer goes through productivity phases, and phases of greater urgency. I remember being very frantic about particular guideposts in my life (like: I must have published three books of poetry and two novels by the time I turn 30, or else I'll be a miserable failure. A miserable failure!). That's a silly example, but there are obvious urgencies involved in launching a fruitful job search, getting tenure, publishing, and sheesh, getting into grad programs these days.
With the new year around the corner (Next week. Next week!) it's a good time to assess our respective urgency levels, and to fine-tune them if necessary. Perhaps that will mean drinking three glasses of red wine and then reading the back section of Poets & Writers to see who has won what, and who has not won what (you, perhaps), and then weeping yourself into a productivity lather after eating 3/4 of a package of Nilla Wafers. Or whatever.
Because I care about you and your writing, I have devised the following heuristic for dealing with urgency levels at the edge of 2009.
1. What's your current urgency level, on a scale from 1-5? 1 = Frightfully apathetic and 5 = writing/sending out/applying for things like there's no tomorrow.
2. What pressures (or lack thereof) are you experiencing as a writer?
3. Do you need an urgency adjustment? In what direction, and why?
Thank you for your participation. As much as I would like to take you for a ride in the vehicle featured above, I must confess that it is not mine, and I am not welcome to drive it. Perhaps it will be awarded to some worthy poet who tries harder than all the rest.