Sometimes, you are the problem.
No really, before you go off on one, and I ignore the whole ‘don’t inflame your audience’ rule of blogging, there’s merit to grasping that how we as individuals deal with learning new things. It’s particularly tough if, after years of just doing the same old same old it becomes apparent that to get better, stuff has to change. This has been the harshest lesson learnt via exercise, by some way. Just repeating the same stuff, over and again, will work to a point. If you want to really improve? Time to step out of the comfort zones.
I am slowly bringing drafting to the table as a means of planning work before writing begins: in most cases this might only be a four or five line synopsis (so there’s an idea of beginning, middle and end) but in the case of my current poetry project? Well, we’ve gone a wee bit further. I did a thread in the week to flesh this out, as this is another means by which I can get a message across in Social media far more readily than is the case with the blog:
The key however to making all of this work best is the process of redefinition, and understanding that what once was good enough is no longer the case. Doing enough will not get work recognised on a wider stage. This is now highly personal subject matter that is being dealt with, but to maximise impact there must be a fluency to language and imagery which won’t happen straight away. The word polish is thrown around a lot as if a quick look-over will be enough, but the level of shine on your work should not be superficial. How you know it’s enough is also a matter of much debate.
What’s comfortable for Michael is as subjective a response as your reaction to the .GIF. How you feel is enough is not judged by the failure of your work either, you could pour heart and soul into output and it simply never touches the soul of those particular judges. So, how do you ever make progress? In my case it is knowing I’ve done my best and then walked the extra mile. That means drafting more pieces, spending time doing things sensibly, making space to edit. Essentially, I respect my work.
By doing so, it then automatically develops a depth that simply would not be the case otherwise. It also means that when I fail, it is simply the first step in the journey to further improvement. That whole ‘why do we fall?’ metaphor in the Batman films is the mantra that plays out in the back of my head: each time I am rejected, it is a learning process, and up I get, ready to move on. Sure, it is both demoralising and often upsetting, but so is life. If it matters enough? You move on.
Therefore, the days of being a big old cry baby at not winning stuff is behind me. My success stems from the personal satisfaction gained no only in writing, but producing work to what I consider is a consistently high standard and, if this keeps happening, eventually something will give. Add to that some shameless self promotion and, it’s all good.
It is time to start learning, and move everything forward.