10 steps to a new poetry book

1. Compile a rough draft of a draft of a draft manuscript.
2. Slash and burn – round 1/n. Doubt spelling, suspect grammar, hate most lines.
3. Cold acceptance that this is crap but maybe it is marginally better than other crap. No? Probably not.
4. Idea! Write new poems. Abandon idea.
5. Existential question: To book or not to book?
6. Practical question: What to do with all these poems then? Panic.
7. Let’s try one more time – Deep dive edit 1/n: add an em dash and change a line break. Or two.
8. Five stages of grief – Edit, Edit again, Edit yet again, Delete the manuscript. Edit one more time.
9. OK WTF. That’s it. Can never ever read the stuff again.
10. Regret. Panic. Release into poor unsuspecting world. Remember that apostrophe you didn’t change?

That kind of year! Which step are you at? And how’s it going? 

10 thoughts on “10 steps to a new poetry book

  1. Yes, I, too, have been through arduous, panful and befuddled steps trying to do a decent piece of creative writing. My current realization is that perhaps I’m taking all this too seriously, an attitude that is keeping me from hearing butterflies sing and roses dream. Seek ye first to be as children.

    I wish you wellness and joy on your journey.


  2. You capture the experience brilliantly. For me there was one more step: waiting for people to buy, and of the few who did, only a couple of feedbacks. All that fear and work for nothing? Or is it soul developing?


    1. Oh yes! The post publishing blues are another difficult story! I hope there is massive soul development because otherwise, poetry being poetry, one can’t really look for any other returns!


  3. Cackling. Yes, this is the process for skilled poets such as yourself. I just copy mine and slam them into a book every year and add it to the shelf. I know your way produces much better poetry. I am too tired. I so enjoyed this poem and know a bunch of other poets who would relate to it too.


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