Publish date:

Productivity for Poets: Guest Post (and Book Raffle) From Sage Cohen

Sage Cohen is the author of Writing the Life Poetic and The Productive Writer. In fact, this post is part of Sage's virtual book tour promoting The Productive Writer. Anyone who asks a question and/or takes part in discussion in the Comments of this post today will be entered into a raffle for a free and signed copy of The Productive Writer.

Image placeholder title
Image placeholder title
Image placeholder title

*****

The easier it is to dive into your poetry process, the more likely you are to do it. That's why a simple system that puts your ideas, goals, submissions and poems at your fingertips is critical to staying engaged with poeming.

Over the years, I have kept both paper
and computer files that help me put everything I need to write or publish a
poem at my fingertips. Here are some of the categories I've used and approaches
I've taken. Feel free to use whatever suits you and make it your own.

Goals
for the year

How
much time do you intend to make for your poetry every week? How many poems
would you like to finish every month? How often will you send out work? How
many publications are you striving for? Do you intend to join a critique group,
take a workshop, attend a conference, or pitch a book? Whatever it is that
you're setting your sights on in the coming year, write it down. Take a risk or
two. Dream big. Then let it go and get back to writing.

Great quotes

Collect
quotes that inspire you––about writing, and any other themes that are
attractive to you or meaningful to your work. Often a quote will spark a poem.
Or I'll realize after writing a poem that a certain snippet of wisdom would
make the perfect epigraph.

Poems
I love

I save my favorite poems by my favorite
poets and refer to them often. These offer inspiration fuel whenever I need a
refresher in what's possible in poetry. They're also really useful in triggering
new work; when I'm stuck, I'll imitate some craft choice I admire, and often
I'll find a new way forward.

Acorns
When it comes to inspiration, I say
there's no offense like a great defense. Squirrels use their feasts to prepare
for the famine, and so can you. When our minds are alert to the acorns of
inspiration––and we have a good system for saving those acorns––we can build up
a surplus. This secret stash of great ideas can keep the pilot light of
inspiration going, and get us through even the harshest winters of creative
dormancy.

Whether you’re using index cards, Post-It
notes or the backs of envelopes to capture those fleeting images or words, it's
really helpful to designate one, easy-to-access place where you can compile and
easily reference your ideas, inspirations and poem snippets. Mine pile up in an "in box" and then all get input into an endlessly evolving "acorns" document in
my computer.

Poems
in the works

All draft poems that are still taking
shape live here. Most of my poems spend some time ripening in this folder. When
I sit down with my "editor" hat on, I generally have a selection of
in-the-works poems to choose from.

Finished
poems

Keep your finished work that's ready to
go public here. This will help you easily make decisions about what to send out
and how to group poems when you're ready to send in submissions to literary
journals.

Contests
and publications

Filing submissions requirements and
deadlines for contests and literary journals in one place, organized by
submission date, will help ensure that you don't miss opportunities to submit
your work for publication. It will also put the information you need to
successfully meet publications' guidelines at your fingertips.

Submission log
Use a hand-written list, Word table or
Excel spreadsheet to track when and where you submitted your work, and whether
it was accepted. Make note of any personal correspondence your receive from
editors so you can follow up effectively with the next submission.

Published
poems

Keep a list of your poems published and
the publications in which they appear, as well as the publication dates. This
will help prevent mistakes such as sending out a poem that's already been
published. And it helps you keep your bio up to date with all of your latest
accomplishments.

What systems are you using that serve
your life poetic well?

*****

Sage Cohenis the author of The
Productive Writer
(just released from Writer’s Digest Books); Writing the Life Poetic and the poetry
collection
Like the Heart, the World.
She blogs about all that is possible in the writing life at pathofpossibility.com, where you can:
Download a FREE "Productivity
Power Tools" workbook companion to
The Productive
Writer
. Get the FREE, 10-week
email series, "10 Ways to Boost Writing Productivity" when
you sign up to receive email updates. Sign up for the FREE, Writing the Life Poetic e-zine.
Plus, check out the events page for the latest free teleclasses, scholarships
and more
.

*****

For All Beginning Writers!
Beginning on January 1, the WritersDigestShop.com started offering the Getting Started in Writing Premium Collection. With a retail value of $474.95, this bundle of goods and services costs only $139.99, but interested parties should act fast, because there are only 100 available (and as of yesterday, 27 had already been claimed). This premium collection includes a writing course, webinar, planner, books, and more!

Click here to learn all the details.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Big Deception

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Big Deception

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, unveil a big deception from an unreliable narrator or character.

We Asked, You Answered: Reader Recommendations for Spooky Season

We Asked, You Answered: Reader Recommendations for Spooky Season

We asked our Instagram followers what books they suggest during spooky season. Here are the titles they recommend for a frightful night in!

What Is a Cli-FI Novel in Writing and What Are Some Examples?

What Is a Cli-Fi Novel and What Are Some Examples?

The literary landscape is as changing as our physical landscape—and one genre gaining momentum is looking to start conversations around that change. Author Marjorie B. Kellogg defines what climate fiction is, and offers some examples that suggests the cli-fi novel has been around for decades.

WD-90th-Annual-2021-WinnerGraphic

Writer's Digest 90th Annual Competition Winning Non-Rhyming Poem: "Anticipatory Grief"

Congratulations to Melissa Joplin Higley, Grand Prize winner of the 90th Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition. Here's her winning non-rhyming poem, "Anticipatory Grief."

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 587

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write an On Blank poem.

What to Say When Someone Wants to Kill You | Power of Words

What to Say When Someone Wants to Kill You

Author Gregory Galloway shares an intimate moment in his life that taught him the power of words and reveals why he became a writer.

Writing About Real People in Historical Fiction: What Is Factual and What Is Imagined

Writing About Real People in Historical Fiction: What Is Factual and What Is Imagined

When writing about real people in a real time, how do you distinguish between what is true and what is imaginary? Patti Callahan discuss how to write about real people in historical fiction.

the fisherman

The Fisherman

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, write about a fisherman.

Jenny Bayliss: On the Power of Second Chances

Jenny Bayliss: On the Power of Second Chances

Author Jenny Bayliss discusses the process of writing her new romance novel, A Season for Second Chances.