Saturday, June 28, 2008

Numbers games

I try to avoid playing them. I got a little obsessive about my novel's word count during NaNoWriMo and the month after: it's of course good to try to maintain a steady pace when working on a large project, and words per day is a decent measure. But stressing over the WPD does not lead to good writing.

Similarly, the poem-a-day discipline of NaPoWriMo can be useful, especially for people who are having a hard time producing for whatever reasons. I didn't formally observe NaPoWriMo, because frankly I don't have that problem, and the poem-a-day program can play to my obsessive nature the same way that the WPD in NaNoWriMo did, but probably with less useful results.


I've written 197 poems since the beginning of 2008. That's averaging more than one per day for the first six months.

That doesn't include prose, images, (Serif is such a great toy), poetic commentary etc. It doesn't include reposts or revisions.

If I keep the pace insh'allah, by the end of the year I'll have written about 400 poems. That's compared to probably about 300 in 2007-- of course, the last two months of 2007 were kind of a bust in terms of poetic output, because of the novel.

Quality? I don't know. I think many of the poems I've written in the last six months are technically much more skilled than anything I wrote in the first year and a half, though some of my very early poems remain personal favorites. I'm continuing to experiment with form, especially pushing the boundaries of what you can do with sonnets. I take that for a good sign of artistic growth.

What I haven't written in a while is a long narrative poem, like "Journey" or "Truthseekers" (posted here as "Visions from the Desert", I think. That poem kept changing its title).

As for content-- I'm writing more stuff that's involved with current events and day-to-day life. More grounded, perhaps-- even pieces that are actually purely imagined, like "Skye Terriers", have kind of a lived-in feel. I don't think I'm writing any less on the mystical side in absolute terms, although I probably am proportionately. But it seems to me the imagery inhabiting those poems is becoming more concrete. Hopefully that also makes it more effective.

May Allah keep me on the straight path. For now at least, the straight path seems to be paved with leaves from the Poetry Tree.

Collection available! Knocking from Inside

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