poetry / poetry action plan / Uncategorized / writing

2014 Poetry Action Plan

Montpelier, VT Window

Last year, poet Jennifer Saunders has introduced me to January Gill O’Neils Poetry Action Plan. To create a plan, you must really ask yourself what’s important to you as a writer and then set realistic goals you’ll track throughout the year. Today, I’ll review my progress with last year’s goals as well as implement the following new ones for 2014:


1. I know I posted this in my last blog post, but I have to post it again. I’m starting a new notebook where I’ll write three lines per day. Thank you, Naomi. I did this for the most part. This was a great habit to get into. I missed a couple of days here and there, but overall, I’m happy with my journaling progress.

2. Write a poem a week. Yep, I should have 52 poems at the end of this year. 46 total. I’m happy with this too. Really happy. And I know there are some poems in my journal that I’m still thinking about–they’re marinating.

3. Read 2 poetry collections and one fiction/nonfiction book per month. Subscribe to a new literary magazine. I’m already subscribed to Poetry, Rattle, Weave, Ploughshares, and The Southwest Review. 3 books per month = 36 books. I read 60: 7 nonfiction, 2 fiction, and the rest poetry. At AWP, I added 2 new literary magazine subscriptions: Puerto del Sol and Iron Horse Literary Review. There are so many fantastic online publications, too! 

4. Volunteer at the library or a local organization that supports literacy in my community. This is a big goal for me in 2014. I did participate in World Book Night and gave away Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street.

5. Brush up on my Spanish. Rosetta Stone isn’t going to feel lonely anymore. I need to read more translations and want to be able to read them in both of my languages. Rosetta Stone is still lonely.

6. Begin a low-residency MFA program. The applications are in, and I pray that I’m chosen to attend and begin a program this summer. Did you see how many poetry books I read in 2013? This was the greatest thing to happen in 2013!

For 2014:

1. Don’t stop journaling! 3 lines per day.

2. Write a poem a week. I will make that total of 52 this year. I will revise at least one poem per week. I have plenty of work to revise.

3. Read 1 book per week. I don’t think this will be hard to do. 52 is going to be my number for 2104.

4. Volunteer at the library or a local organization that supports literacy in my community. I know this will happen. I’m already working on it. More to come.

5. Reconnecting with Spanish is a priority. I’m going to work on some translations in the coming months. I may give Rosetta another spin. A friend told me about the Duolingo app just this morning. I’m thinking about the CoffeeBreak podcast, too.

6. Dedicate one Saturday every month to submitting new work. My submission work really dropped off after last summer. Even if I’m not submitting a lot of work, I want to stay consistent with sending poems out and work to narrow my focus.

7. Get over my fear and do more readings. This is easier said than done, but I’ve already signed up for a reading on February 8th.

8. My word for the year: ATTEND. In Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry, Jane Hirshfield writes: “Violinists practicing scales and dancers repeating the same movements over decades are not simply warming up or mechanically training their muscles. They are learning how to attend unswervingly, moment by moment, to themselves and their art; learning to come into steady presence, free from the distractions of the internet or boredom.” I will ATTEND to myself and my art.

What are your goals for the coming year? What are you looking forward to?

Be well in 2014, Andrea

10 thoughts on “2014 Poetry Action Plan

  1. Sounds like a plan! I think working on a translation from the Spanish is a great way to get back into that language. I’m tempted to try the same thing with a language i’m not even familiar with, just to get a better appreciation of the translations I’m reading (translations by David Hinton, Red Pine, and J. P. Seaton of T’ang and Sung Dynasty Chinese poets).

  2. I love what Nye says about writing things down and the flexibility of words. I’m ready to take on writing three lines, in one place, once a day. Hopefully a few poems will come out of those words.
    Like you, I’d love to enter a low residency but I’m putting my son through university. Thanks for the action plan, it did get me thinking 🙂

  3. Wow. You are accomplishing so much. I’ve only set two writing goals for myself. Participating in a writing workshop is one and applying to a writer’s retreat is the other. I should also add submitting my work as a number three goal.

    • Go, Evelyn! These are big goals. To which retreat(s) will you be applying? And yes, I want to read more of your work–it should be read by many! Positive thoughts to you…

  4. Hi Andrea and Happy New Year! I’ve missed stopping by your blog of late. This post is a wonderful way to kick off creative work for 2014. I have the gift of mentoring my niece as she works through The Artist’s Way to start this year and that’s been a really good kick in my own behind to remind myself of some of the basics behind why I do what I do. You’ve inspired me to draw up my own plan this year. I usually have goals in my head, but what gets lost, for me, is the reading. Thank you for a lovely reminder.

    • Happy New Year, Kathleen! I miss yours, too, so I’m heading over right after I write this comment. Enjoy your time with your niece–this sounds like a rewarding experience and wonderful memory.

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