Includes book reviews and bits from writer's journal. For the professional stuff, see website link below left.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Is This the End of Year Doldrums?

I'm engaged in a month of writing about joy — supposedly. It's a course I'm doing, and so far the daily emails seem to be all about an absence of joy and how to compensate for that. Which is right on target really, as although I still take pleasure in life, true joy is hard to find nowadays.

I'm circling back through the stages of grief, and the depressed stage is here again. I know I'm lucky it's only mild, but even that sucks.

It seems to me the writing suffers for it. I do my 'small stone' dutifully each day, mindfully looking outside myself. It works up to a point, to take me out of myself, but I think the writing lacks verve. 

I even share my blog posts on facebook each day, because I set up a writer's page. Seemed like a good idea at the time. I may have lost rather than gained readers by it, as not everyone on my friends list has subscribed to the page. (On the other hand, maybe the ones who didn't weren't reading my literary endeavours anyway.) In any case, I think the writing this month is pretty banal. I also think my 'poem a day' last month was fairly ordinary to boot. Why would anyone want to keep reading this stuff, I ask myself. I'm grateful that people do, but I wonder how long they can be bothered.

I think it must be time to stop with the prompts and things, and do some serious revision instead. I always promise myself this and then fail to tackle it. I have a chapbook that's been languishing for a year! And so many more possibilities.

I just gave some opinions on a friend's poems for a potential book. She writes wonderfully — but I thought some of this lot weren't up to standard. Maybe it's just my general lack of enthusiasm for anything at the moment. But I was reminded of something Mal Morgan said to me years ago about one of my poems: 'It's not telling me anything new.' Does it matter how well written something is if it doesn't strike the reader as new and fresh? Opinions we can comfortably agree with are for Facebook status updates, not poems. 

Well, it's not wrong to inspire a reader to agreement, but hopefully as an 'Ah!' of delighted recognition, not as something they might easily have said themselves.

Hard to know, perhaps, what readers might consider 'ho-hum'. I guess one way is to keep posting and see what comments I get. 

I think I'm due for a holiday, and luckily I'm getting one fairly soon. Then — new year resolution — no more daily writing for a while, and no more subject prompts either. I might do some form prompts. I like playing around with form. But mostly, time to really revise at last.

I am also wondering about the wisdom of having transferred my writer's journal here to my personal blog. Seemed sensible to reduce the ridiculous number of blogs I keep. But now I am thinking, here is more blah that people won't really care to read, so why am I inflicting it on them? A lot of the time — like now — it's really just me talking to me about what's going on with my writing. Ah well, they can always stop reading, I guess. They're free to choose.

Meanwhile, yes, I think I'm in some kind of doldrums all right.


  1. doldrums time of the year, yep. here too. I think part of the unrelenting cheer that seems mandated. it's an unrealistic standard for the daily. there's no naturally ebb and flow so the normal seems not as permissable with xmas and new years being a month instead of a day.

    1. Ha! yes, good point about the 'month instead of a day'.